Teach English Online via VIPKID
Learn how you can easily Teach English online to Chinese students making up to $22 dollars per hour plus incentives making upwards to $3000 or more per month. Teaching English online does not require a teaching certificate. However to teach with VIPKID they do require at least a 4-year degree in any subject.
Update: I no longer teach for VIPKID, however, the process is essentially the same for obtaining work from home employment. The rate of pay and bonuses may have changed since I first published this article.
If you are looking for an honest VIPKID review then read on for VIPKID teaching review. Plus, I include details on everything you need to know about working for VIPKID, how to pass the interview, and how much money you can really make! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it is at no additional cost to you)! Read my full disclosure here.
I am not an employee of VIPKID, I am an independent/contractor, and the opinions and thoughts in this post are strictly my own not influenced by anyone or company.
Today I hit my 100th day with VIPKID! I am excited and happy about this milestone and think I have found the perfect side hustle gig for anyone wanting to work from home. You can easily transition from your corporate life to this teaching at home life working as little or as much as you need and want.
In the past 100 days with VIPKID, I have taught just over 200 classes. I know that may either seem like a lot or little depending on how you look at it, but allow me to break it down for you. Basically, by working just under 10 hours or less per week, I’ve earned over $500 per month on average teaching English in my PJ pants, y’all!
Can you do that with any other job? I think not!!!
The beauty of this gig is that it has been a great way to earn additional income for me, my family or to “Ahem” pay a bill or two while doing what I absolutely love the most… crafting! And Craft Blogging!
At this time, my blogging and crafting money is not as consistent month to month as I would like it to be, and so working with VIPKID has been a dream because it allows for the flexibility I need. Up until this point, I have been working as a substitute teacher at my kids’ school to make a supplement income. And while that has been fun and great all the same, it was like working full-time days, that full 8 hour days (outside the home) and only during the school year.
With VIPKID there is none of that – its year round and on my terms. It is super easy and seems to feel like the easiest money ever. I love teaching English online as an ESL teacher. So are you ready to teach English online with me?
What is an ESL Teacher?
An ESL teacher (English as a Second Language) is a person or teacher who teaches English to non-native English speakers. Specifically, I teach English to Chinese children. Their ages range from 4-13. And they are the sweetest kids. It’s such a joy to watch them learn and grow.
What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is the company I work for. While there are a few other companies out there that hire teachers to teach English online, I chose VIPKID. They are a fast growing company. According to an article on USA Today, VIPKID is now one of the largest China-based online English tutoring platforms, with around 70,000 teachers in the U.S. and Canada, and approximately 700,000 students.
Life As An Online Teacher
When I first started out, I had absolutely no clue how this was going to go or even work. I was nearly teaching full time as a substitute teacher Monday thru Friday at my kids’ school for a teacher who had gone out on maternity leave. The work was fun, but I sadly missed my flexible days of being home and doing all the things I previously enjoyed as a SAHM. During Spring Break, I applied on the Monday of that week and was through the entire hiring process of doing the interview, mock lessons, contract signing by Friday. My first class was on Saturday evening!
I was kind of excited because I thought, if I made a few bucks here and there it could be great, however, it turned out even better than that! As I ended the school year in that leave substitute position, my VIPKID job at home’s pay was competing with my full day long-term substitute pay.
In fact, If I only work half a day with VIPKID then I will have made at least a full days’ pay of substituting! Through the Summer I’ve been able to not only maintain the substitute pay rate, I’ve surpassed it!
I typically work a few hours every morning before my kiddos wake up, and I end my “work day” by 9:30 AM to 10 AM latest. I usually start my morning around 6:00 AM. I like to wake up about 30 minutes before my first class to prepare, grab a cup of coffee and throw on an orange t-shirt. Orange is the color of VIPKID.
I then teach my scheduled classes about 25 minutes each, leaving about 5 minutes in between each class to leave feedback to the parents, set and re-set my classroom.
And I love my classroom! It is a total DIY I made which I share below!
VIPKID Teacher Prep
The VIPKID lesson plans are completely done for you! No lesson planning meetings to attend, no copies to run off on the copy machine, or much of anything else to prep. I do prep my flash cards the night before, for the next days’ classes ahead of time, but it literally takes me all of 10-15 minutes to prep a full days classes.
I do recommend that you review the slides of each class to be familiar with the objectives and grab any props you plan to use for each class. This gives you a general idea of what you will be teaching and the concepts you need to be aware of. Each class takes me around 3 minutes or so to prep.
VIPKID’s teacher portal is amazing that it also provides tools, free downloads and printable rewards systems you can use with your students. One thing on rewards is that for each class you teach, students expect to receive an award incentive, so I like to change up my rewards almost daily. A reward is a simple visual to the student in addition to the virtual star rewards a student earns for doing a great job during class.
For those that I coach directly through the VIPKID hiring process, I have printables I can give you to make prep time to a minimum!
Scheduling And Pay
You can open time slots between 8:30 PM to 10 AM the next day via VIPKID’s teacher portal. Time slots are booked in 30-minute increments or time slots. Peak times are 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM EST. China is 12 hours ahead, so those peak times are 6 PM – 10 PM Bejing Time. Typically after 10 AM (10 PM Bejing time), they are asleep so no classes are booked. For me, this is great, because I have my day after 10 AM to do fun things with the kids, craft or work on my blog, volunteer etc. You can even do this side hustle before or after your regular day job if you can make it fit your schedule and still earn a pretty penny doing it.
Pay: On average most people are paid $6-$9 per class, meaning $14 -$18 per hour. So if you teach 2 classes in 1 hour that is approximately $18 per hour. Teaching just 1 hour per day about 6 days a week earns you respectively $450 a month!
Bonus & Incentives: But it doesn’t stop there. VIPKID offers an incentive that if you teach classes on schedule (meaning you are logged into the queue before class starts with a few minutes to go) you will earn a $1 participation bonus for each class you teach on time. And once you teach 30 classes a month, you get an additional $0.50 per class. After 45 classes in a month, you earn an additional $1 per class for finished classes. So you can easily earn $20-$22 per hour.
I always teach 45 classes per month, my first month, I squeaked by on the last day with my 45th class in my first 30 days with VIPKID, and was able to get the bonus for both participation and finished classes added in to my overall class rate. keep in mind I was doing this while also teaching full days in the substitute job, so you can totally do this working in an 8-5 full-time job as well.
In fact, I think this is a great way to transition out of a job you don’t love, to work from home, while you work on finding or building that dream job or career you do love.
VIPKID also offers additional bonuses on top of the pay rates mentioned above. For each trial class, you teach you can earn an additional $5 on that class. A trial class is for a new to VIPKID student trying out VIPKID for the first time. If the student signs up to be a regular after attending your class, you get the additional $5 bonus.
There is also a “short notice” booking bonus. Meaning that if you do not mind opening your slots to booked in less than 24 hours notice, you could earn an additional $2 per “short notice” class booked on top of your regular pay above. This is a $2 per 25-minute class bonus.
The company also offers other incentives seasonally, or throughout different times of the year for teachers when they want to them open up specific availability for students. So your pay is not limited. It is only limited to what you want to be available for and what you are willing to work.
VIPKID Teacher Bookings
It is important to know that teacher bookings can be low at first. But there are some things you can do to increase your bookings. I’ll send you the steps I use to increase my bookings when you use my referral link. Just be sure that you have at least a Bachelor’s Degree and 1 Year of teaching/tutoring experience (or something similar like tutoring, teaching Sunday School girl scouts, Awana, or even substituting like me) before applying.
Setting Up Your Classroom
I teach from my bedroom. Yes, I have a fully dedicated craft space that I create and craft in, however that space is open to the rest of my home. It is actually the dining room space that I took over as my mini craft-castle. You can see that space here!
My background set up was originally in my craft space for my mock interview. I quickly moved my setup to our bedroom at my makeup vanity, of all places, to teach that very first class just few minutes before. It was a Saturday, my kiddos were home and just felt like the quietest place to set up.
And while I have thought of moving my setup, I like having in my room where I can close the door.
You can easily use a spare room in your house, however, I didn’t have one since our floor plan is pretty much open floor plan beside all of the bedrooms. So, I have a portable set up I use almost daily.
Each morning, when I roll out of bed, I sit at the vanity and try to fix my face just a little. I don’t put on full face makeup or anything, but I do conceal or cover up any redness. Usually, I brighten my eyes with drops if need bed or put on mascara. But nothing much else. I don’t want to scare the children but do try my best to be awake! And then I add a bright lipstick to just avoid looking washed out on camera.
Having the makeup mirror vanity behind my laptop is pretty cool because I have an additional view of my facial expressions that appear on camera. I also set up two extra lights which actually come in handy when applying my everyday makeup for any regular or typical day. So it is kind of a win-win.
Mock Interview Set Up
I actually recorded a video of the items I purchased in order to set up a background that was “educational looking” for my mock interview. I maybe spent less than $20 for everything I purchased, using items mainly from the Dollar Tree.
You can watch the video below.
I recently just updated my background to a metal background that I covered in laminate paper to look like a wood background. Since the background is metal, it is also magnetic which allows me to quickly and easily display my students’ rewards! It also makes for a quick cleanup when in between classes.
Here is a view of what I see while I am teaching. Keep in mind that I teach with bright lights in my face, so the next photo will be dark since I am showing it with the lights on. You most likely do not need these lights however, they are just now apart of my set up. I may change them in the future.
And here is a view of me with my background in the actual teaching portal. This is pretty much what my students see. I also like to check my background before I begin my classes.
And that’s pretty much it as far as my classroom goes. I try to keep it simple. What I like about having a faux wall is that I can just wheel the wall away into my closet when I am done teaching for the day. Some days I am lazy and just leave it up for the next day, but for the most part, it is completely portable. I also have a rolling cart that keeps my props and flashcards on it, and I wheel that into my closet as well.
Teach English Online While Traveling on Vacation
The best part of this entire gig is that I can also teach while traveling. You don’t have to maintain a set number of hours, so if you want to take a full week off you totally can. But what I have found is that it can be addicting and I try to at least keep my few regular students booked even when I am traveling.
My husband and I took a mini vacay away and stayed at an Air BNB once and I taught a couple of classes from our room. Here’s a look of that setup below. Remember that map I purchased from the Dollar Tree? While I don’t use it in my everyday classroom, it’s perfect for a traveling background.
I can even use it in my conversation, and point to places I am traveling to. Sometimes my students realize I am not in my usual space, so its fun to point and share.
The map folds up nicely and fits into a folder along with a few of my most used everyday props. Then when traveling, I grab my to-go folder and my laptop. Setup is very minimal, but you can get the idea here.
What You Need To Start
- When first applying with VIPKID you need to have a 4-year degree ( in anything – even basketweaving counts) and some sort of teaching experience. This includes working with kids at your church, mentoring, tutoring, Awana, boy scouts, girl scouts, etc.
- A computer – I use my laptop.
- Internet Access – a good strong and reliable connection is best.
- And a headset that has a microphone – I use this one.
And some sort of Education looking background is preferred. It is not required, but I find it does help to sort of get you into “teacher mode”. Like I said you can easily spend $10 or less at the Dollar Tree and buy 3 foam boards, a border, tablecloth for background, some letters, and a map along with a few boxes of flash cards and be set for a while during your first teaching days.
- Having an orange t-shirt is also a nice touch, and not required. Orange is the color of VIPKID so it is definitely appreciated.
- Rewards – You will need a secondary reward system as I mentioned above. When you use my referral link, I will provide you with one you can download and print from home FREE.
- Props – any 2 (at least 2) props you can think that might be useful. A puppet, flashcards, whiteboard, or even a few of your kids’ small toys. I totally used my kids toys for the mock lesson. In fact, I still grab some today when I am prepping, and a toy comes to mind that one of my kids already own. I grab it and set for the next day.
If you are ready to apply now, you can use my referral link, and I will send you a personalized email from me giving you the steps I took in order to pass my mock interview and increase my bookings. Plus, I offer free downloads of printable flashcards and student rewards. In addition to that, I will invite you into a private Facebook group full of other VIPKID teachers just like me once you are invited to complete a mock lesson, where we share all of our downloadable resources with documents on how to leave feedback for each class, more flashcards and props and so much more!
That pretty much sums up my VIPKID teacher life in the last 100 days. If I think of anything else I may have left out, I will add it here. If you have any questions leave a comment below! I am always happy to help! Happy Teaching!!