I didn't actually work for VIPkid, but I did get to see how their program works a bit. I jumped through a bunch of hoops for their application process including their demo lessons and mock lessons before deciding it was not for me.
I first heard about them back in SF many years ago before teaching English online became so popular.
Why did teaching English online become so popular?
It's because of the COVID thing and how has that affected teaching online?
Well, since you have more people unemployed then you have more people looking online for work since it's COVID proof.
Supply and demand.
What's that mean?
It means many teachers are making less money than they were.
Why is that? Because there are more of them. They are less of a novelty so companies can cut salaries, be more picky or demanding.
The power is in their hands.
It's like living in the city vs. the country.
Land in the city is expensive because lots of people want to live there, but it's cheaper in the country because fewer people want to live there.
I first heard from them 4-5 years ago by email. If I remember correctly it was one of those emails where I didn't remember signing up for. I think these companies sometimes scrap sites for emails to build their lists.
You have to jump through a whole lot of hoops
How high can you jump boy?
Here's another hoop.
Ohh, that jump wasn't as good so let's try again.
Actually, it was more like we don't like your background can you make it better?
It's quite a process so if you are not that interested then you might not complete it. I had some interest, but not that much. It's like one of those things you do with hesitation. I suppose lots of things can start with doubts and sometimes you just have to push through your doubts.
Sometimes those doubts are signs too.
Getting a job teaching English online is not like getting a job teaching in a school.
In some countries you send in your resume to a school and they give you a call for an interview and then they offer you a job or not. In some places you may have to do a teaching demo which is common in China or Taiwan.
If you didn't know VIPkid is a Chinese company.
VIPkid's application process is rathor laborous.
I can't even remember now everything I had to do as I started this months ago while I was living in Japan.
You had to do a recording for your demo. And I can't remember how many times I did it, but it was about 3 times.
And if you mess up you'll get an email saying...
Schedule Another Demo Lesson!
I get to do it again :-)))
I am being sarcastic.
They give you some feedback though which is usually good.
Yet, I couldn't really read it sometimes.
Maybe my email and theirs aren't compatible. IDK.
Can you read it?
To be honest I didn't read much of it.
I just want to jump in and learn. I feel my experience is pretty extensive and while it's not online I know I would get better once I got going, but they have their way and if you want to work for them you jump through their hoops.
You have to do mock lessons
So after you pass your demo you will have to do a mock lesson or two or three or more. You use their slides and then teach a 10 minute lesson to a teacher trainer that pretends to be a student. Then they give you feedback on it.
And if it's not suitable for them then you have to do it again.
I had to do it twice and after they said...
VIPkid salary and pay
So I started teaching in 2004. I've taught in Korea, China, Taiwan... And despite my experience (although I didn't have any teaching online) they offered me $7 a half hour.
That didn't add to my motivation.
This whole process I was not that into. I don't think I would have got as far as I did had they not kept sending me emails, but I was leaning towards quitting before I even did the mock lesson. Then they didn't pass me and lost further motivation. I decided if they don't pass me after the 2nd mock lesson I will quit for sure.
So I quit.
At that point I spent hours of my time, doing demo's, mock lessons, looking at a few of their videos and what you don't pay me for it and you offer me $7 a half hour which is your lowest rate?
It was kind of a waste of time, but I kinda knew it from the get go.
There's a lot of bait involved. Like they'll send you a lot of emails to entice you through their system.
OHHH I almost forgot...
So I went on r/vipkid and asked a question about VIPkids refer a teacher program and got totally harrassed by some b*#@! a$! troll who suddenly decided I was some MLM scammer.
If you are bored and like harassing trolls try visiting user/SexyLemurLibrarian.
I like Reddit, but...
It's loaded with trolls and insensitive people because it's an anonymous site.
It's easy to be an a$! when no one knows who you are.
VIPkid has a referral program for teachers and I don't know exactly how it works but if you refer a teacher they say you can make a $100.
I had to look up MLM and it sounds similar to affiliate markering, but many TEFL courses also have affiliate programs.
Is their reward system silly?
It's too much if you ask me. Teaching online is different from what I am used too, but they want you to give the students stars, virtual toys like a ball or doll or even pretend to give them a real toy that you are supposed to get and pretend to give them online.
So in my 1st lesson I didn't do that. Then in my second within my 10 minutes I must have gave the pretend student 3 stars and 1 or 2 virtual toys.
Then after they were like that's not enough.
Here's the deal.
Rewards most of the time lower long term motivation. Sure, you can bait kids with stickers, candy and toys, but it's not going to help them learn. Research shows that they can work if the material is boring or rote.
Other than that rewards like stickers, toys, stamps, etc, should be used only occasionally.
If you always give the kids rewards then they are going to start to ask for them and then they become more focused on the reward rather than the lesson.
It's kind of like a paycheck for kids.
How many jobs have you had that you would do if you weren't getting paid?
The trick to good teaching from my point of view is combining fun and learning and getting that balance right.
My style of teaching in classroom involves incorporating a lot of activities because they are fun and if you use them right they contribute to learning.
You can try it out if you want and don't mind jumping through all the hoops. If you are a new teacher then maybe it's better. The feedback and repetition could be good for you. For me I am just not that interested in teaching online or this position.
And maybe that lack of interest showed through, perhaps I am not pretty enough or VIPkid is paying less and less like others say.
Teaching English online is a little cold and distant.
I prefer in a classroom. It's more dynamic. I think teaching online is easier since you are only teaching 1 or 2 students, you have slides, and your classroom is 13 inch screen, so if you are a new teacher then it might be a good place to start.
- Written by Ian Leahy