One of the most common questions I get from moms (single and married!) is: “How can I make extra money from home?”
I understand why this is such a common challenge. After all, I have been a self-employed, work-at-home mom for 10 years — plus a few years before I became a mom. I list all the reasons and how-tos of finding work-at-home income in this post. The beauty of this moment in history is that while there are so many more demands on single moms, there are also more opportunities, thanks to technology, which allows us to make bank from the comfort of your beige, yogurt-stained family room sectional. I should know — this is my life.
One of the coolest new ways moms are making extra money during flexible hours is online tutoring. VIPKid is one of the leaders in this industry, and we checked them out! Here is what I learned and our VIPKID review:
Related post: 101 legit ways to make money (mostly from home!)
What is VIPKid and how does it work?
VIPKid provides teaching services to children in China between the ages of 4 and 12. The company’s headquarters are in Beijing, and they coordinate one-on-one online English classes with teachers in the United States.
The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach. A “flipped classroom” is a hands-on, student-focus model of teaching that leads to more creative student engagement through videos, interactive media, and other online learning activities. Basically, the kids get the teacher’s full attention and energy on an individual basis, which helps them learn at their own pace.
What are the requirements for VIPKid?
VIPKid is strictly interested in applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree. However, that degree can be in any discipline, not just education. Second, they require that you have at least some teaching experience. This can be interpreted several ways: experience teaching at a school, substitute teaching, coaching a team, and being an educator’s assistant all count. You’ll need to be eligible to work in the U.S. and Canada, too.
Equipment-wise, there are some basic tech requirements: You must own a desktop, laptop or tablet, as well as a webcam (which is built into 99% of laptops). You’ll also need a headset with a microphone attached, and an internet connection with speeds of at least 20 Mbps, which is pretty standard.
How to sign up as a VIPKid teacher
VIPKID teacher applicants go through five steps before being hired:
Apply to work for VIPKid
First, you’re screened for basic requirements and teaching experience through an online application, where you’ll also submit your resume. When counting experience, be sure to include anything you’ve done that involves mentoring children (or adults) in some capacity. The more experience, the higher your base pay in most instances.
Next is the interview. You’re given the option to either book a live one-on-one interview or record a demo for a recruiter to review. Many seasoned VIPKID teachers recommend actually booking your interview so you can connect with the interviewer and ask any questions.
VIPKid teacher quiz
After you pass the interview (you’ll know within 24 hours), there’s an “Initial Teacher Prep,” which involves reading information and taking a quiz. Most of the info is common sense, but don’t worry – you can take the quiz multiple times until you pass. And (you didn’t hear this from me) you can keep the info pages open in another tab while taking the quiz.
The fourth step is the one everyone stresses over — but don’t stress. You’ll be teaching a mock class. However, you’ll be given the slides ahead of time to prepare and study. Make sure to take a look at the Applicant Performance Indicators beforehand for an idea of what the evaluator will be looking for. VIPKid teachers who blog about their experiences with the program all agree that the most awkward part of the mock class is, oddly enough, that the evaluator who attends your class is expected to act like a five-year-old student for the sake of the exercise. It sounds weird, but hey – you’ll have the best story to tell over wine on your next girls’ night in!
VIPKid teaching contract
After completing these steps and passing your mock class evaluation, VIPKid will send you a contract. Before signing, be sure you agree to the terms, like your per-class pay, contract length, duties and responsibilities. Then sign and upload copies of your TESL certification and your degree, and get ready to start teaching!
Teaching VIPKID online classes
Once you’re all set and ready, you’ll record a short intro video and upload a few headshots that parents of students will use to evaluate you as their prospective teacher. Keep in mind that these parents may not understand much English themselves, so speak clearly and slowly, and remember to smile. Your schedule is totally up to you, but keeping a wide availability for the first couple of weeks is a good way to get the most interest in your classes. Once you become a child’s teacher, most parents tend to keep you around, rather than jumping from teacher to teacher. Plus, booking regular students can really help your bottom line.
How much does VIPKid pay?
VIPKID teacher salaries vary according to several factors, the most notable being prior teaching experience and performance during your mock class. The minimum base pay for teachers is between $7-$9 per 30-minute class, but incentives and bonuses can quickly boost that. Things like showing up to class on time, teaching the lesson according to schedule, and finishing a certain number of classes all affect your take-home pay for VIPKID. Let’s say you teach 20 30-minute classes each week. Your pay might look like this:
20 classes/week x $8/class = $160 base pay for 10 hours of work
After adding some of the most common incentives, you’d actually make $200 per week for 10 hours of work.
On a per-month basis, you’d make $800 per month for 40 hours of work.
That’s $20/hour – not too shabby for a side gig from home!
Pros and cons of VIPKid
Pros of teaching for VIPKid
- VIPKid is a really great option for teachers to make extra money during summer break, weekends and evenings. And don’t worry – the flexible hours, ability to work remotely, and pre-made lesson plans will still allow you to take that summer vacation with the kids!
- You don’t have to be a whiz at creating curriculum, or even have an extensive teaching resume for that matter! Just focus on being engaging, articulate, and willing to put in the hours. VIPKid provides all of the class teaching plans for you, which means the only prep work you have to do is to review the slides you’ll be teaching the next day.
- Set your own schedule. Previously, VIPKid had a 7.5-hour weekly commitment, but not anymore! Your schedule doesn’t have to be the same each week, either; it’s totally up to you.
- Unlike a lot of other yearly contracted online teaching services, the contract for VIPKid is only six months long.
- VIPKID has a lot of cash bonuses. For simply starting and finishing all of your classes on time, you’ll earn an extra $1 per class. For teaching between 30-44 classes each month, you’ll make an extra 50 cents per class; if you teach 45 classes or more a month, that’s an extra $1 per class. If a student books a class with short notice (24 hrs before class), you earn an extra $2. If you teach a “trial student” and they sign up, you’ll receive an extra $5 bonus for that class.
- If students don’t show up in the online classroom, you still get paid.
- Current and past teachers report that the kids are generally well behaved and excited to learn and talk to you. Plus, the one-on-one nature of the classes gives you a chance to really make a difference in the child’s life and watch them grow!
Cons for teaching for VIPKid
- Sometimes people with multiple years of experience and advanced degrees have the same base pay as other, less experienced teachers.
- Time zone difference. China is 12 hours ahead of the U.S. So, you may be teaching at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday in New York, but for your student in Beijing, it’s 9 a.m. on a Wednesday. Depending on your situation, this could be perfect for a single mom; you can teach for a few hours after work, while the kids are asleep.
VIPKid teacher tips and tricks
- On the day of your VIPKid interview, “enter” the online classroom an hour before the interview (that’s the earliest it’s open) to test your equipment before your recruiter arrives. In addition to your interpersonal skills and teaching abilities, the VIPKid recruiter will also be evaluating your equipment to see if your internet connection is able to maintain a 30-minute smooth connection with a server in China – so it’s key that this doesn’t go awry during the interview.
- The following times tend to be the most popular class time periods in Beijing time: Monday-Friday 6-10 p.m. (That’s 6-10 a.m. in the U.S.), and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.–10 p.m. (which is 9 p.m.-10 a.m. here).
- Students LOVE when their VIPKID teachers use educational props – plus, it enhances the learning experience for them. Things like alphabet flashcards and number flashcards, puppets, and other ESL teaching materials will work perfectly with VIPKID’s teaching material.
Some of the links in this and other posts generate a commission. I never recommend products that I don’t truly believe in. Seriously – I get asked to write about stuff all the time and turn down hard cash if I’m not feeling it.
Have you ever taught online for VIPKID or another similar service? What was your expereince? Comment below!
GUEST WRITER HOLLY
Holly Johnson is a financial expert, award-winning writer, and mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting and travel. In addition to serving as contributing editor for The Simple Dollar, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love.”