Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.
While I love blogging, and I love the thought that it’s a possibility to make money with a blog, the truth is that I make absolutely no money on this thing. Notice the lack of ads? I don’t write sponsored posts for products or services. (Except for this post, of course.) Those are all signs of someone who is making some money off of this medium. That is super awesome for those who are pulling it off! I hope it’s a possibility in the future here, but at this point, this blog just doesn’t get the pageviews to make all that worthwhile.
However, during the last year, it became apparent that I do need some income of my own. Around the same time, I found out about teaching English with VIPKid.
What Is VIPKid?
VIPKid is an online school that pairs native-English speakers with Chinese children who would like to learn or improve their English. They offer one-on-one classes, and an interactive, online curriculum.
As I (and, quite likely, 99% of the other teachers) know absolutely no Mandarin, the students are forced to communicate with us completely in English. So the classes are (of course) taught in 100% English, and are therefore quite effective.
Why Teach English in China When You Live in Mexico?
I’ve been asked this question a lot, and it’s a very valid question. There are two very simple answers.
- I can teach classes from 5am to 7am, when my kids are asleep. There is no need for childcare, as I am in my house and my children are unconscious, not disturbing the lessons. It’s a pretty brilliant system. In Mexico, people generally want English classes in the afternoon and evening hours. Unfortunately, my afternoons and evenings are BOOKED.
- I make $18USD an hour with VIPKid. The going rate in my city in Mexico is about $10USD an hour. That is decent pay. I have a number of friends who make a decent living teaching English in Mexico. Honestly, if I had the time in the afternoons and evenings to dedicate to teaching English, I would. But that’s not the case at this point in my life.
Plus, VIPKid provides the curriculum. So I don’t have to plan anything–just prepare for the lessons!
What Does a VIPKid lesson look like?
VIPKid has lots of students at lots of levels, with students who range in age from 3-12. I’ve had nearly fluent four-year-olds and ten-year-olds who are barely starting out. VIPKid has 6 levels of classes, depending on a student’s age and English abilities. So there’s someone for everyone!
Unless you don’t like kids. In that case, teach for Open English, NOT VIPKid!
Basic classes involve lots of repetition, as one of the huge advantages of VIPKid is that teachers are native speakers, who expose students to native-speaker accents. Unfortunately, for thousands of native English speakers throughout the world, VIPKid only hires teachers who can legally work in the US or Canada. I believe that they’re not so concerned about teachers’ accents (as I’ve heard a variety of accents in workshops and instructional videos), but whether they can legally contract your services. (Just a sad warning for all my Australian, British, and other native-English speakers. However, there are other platforms open to you, I believe!) Anyway, I digress . . .
If you want to see a sample lesson click below for an example!
At first, when I saw this, my mouth was hanging open, goggling at the woman repeating things so slowly and intently. And the hand motions–oh, the charades! But then, the more I explored the curriculum and the way VIPKid works, I began to see that this really works!
Students often do stick with a teacher or two as their main teachers. But then they will take classes with other teachers and never see them again. At first, I thought this was a strange way to do things, but now I see a benefit to that. Having a somewhat regular teacher gives kids continuum, and the teacher knows where they are and what they need to work on. Yet, checking in periodically with unknown teachers, students can better test their comprehension, and have their pronunciation and grammar corrected by someone new (just in case there are mistakes that their regular teacher may be letting slide).
How Are The Students?
By and large, the students are absolutely amazing!
As I kid, I was pretty defensive. I always wanted to be right. (Who am I kidding? I still do.) I hated being corrected.
I have never encountered defensiveness about being corrected with VIPKid students. They are very patient about being corrected and work hard to coordinate new vocabulary, grammar, and proper pronunciation.
Sure, from time to time I do get kids who clearly do not want to take classes and are completely unresponsive. But for every 1 unresponsive kid I meet, there are 15 who blow me away with their dedication and hard work.
Then there are the goofy kids, the silly ones, who–if you can channel their energy–make teaching with VIPKid a really great way to begin your day!
(Not to overshadow the serious, dedicated, hard-working ones. They do make teaching a breeze. But it’s fun to get goofy with someone who gets goofy right back.)
This Is Cool, but Could My Kids Learn Mandarin from a Similar Program?
I’m so glad you asked! Yes, they could!
It seems that enough parents thought that this system is pretty awesome, and asked VIPKid for a Chinese version for English-speaking kids. So LingoBus was born.
For families who sign up for Lingo Bus, students receive one-on-one live instruction with a Chinese teacher. There are other online assignments and games to play to reinforce the teacher’s lessons. (Just as there are for the Chinese kids learning English.)
The cost is $20 for a lesson, and most families choose to have lessons once or twice a week. (So that’s $20-$40 per week, per student.)
Languages are a skill that can last for a lifetime, and childhood is the best time to learn a language. Where else can you find native speakers to teach your kids? I’m hoping my kids will be able to start one of these days.
If you’re interested in Chinese lessons for your kids, visit LingoBus by clicking here. (By using that referral link, both your kid and mine can get free classes!)
Wait–I Want To Teach English Online at 6am, Too!
Awesome! There is huge demand for VIPKid classes in China, so they are almost always hiring new teachers.
VIPKid does require 4-year degrees, though. Don’t have a bachelor’s degree? Don’t despair! Other online platforms exist that will be happy to hire native English speakers without a degree. Try OpenEnglish, Cambly, Lingoda, or SkimaTalk.
While VIPKid LOVES teachers who have degrees in education, you don’t need a degree in education to teach here. They do look for teaching experience, but it doesn’t have to be formal teaching. Have you taught Sunday school? Have you babysat your nephews? If you don’t have much teaching experience, hype up the experiences with kids you do have. Depending on their need for teachers, they may be very willing to take you on!
Teachers also need to be able to legally work in the US or Canada. (You don’t need to reside there, just be able to work there for tax purposes.)
Also, this is absolutely a very part-time job. Officially, teachers can teach anywhere from 5am to 9am Eastern Standard Time (4pm to 10pm Beijing time). However, the vast majority of students take classes from 6am to 8am EST. If you don’t have that hour and a half window open for you, it may not be worth your time.
At the moment, I’m only available for one of those hours, but it’s enough to make $18 USD a day, which does give me that wee little bit of financial independence I needed. Over the course of a month, it pays for after school activities for my kids, which is pretty awesome.
Sign Me Up!
If you’re interested, let VIPKid know that your interested at vipkid.com. And, please use my referral code when they ask who referred you–it’s JILL00190. If you go all the way through the hiring process and teach a class, I’ll get a nice referral bonus. (And you would get paid for teaching the class, of course!)
Once applicants pass the initial interview, they provide online classes to get new teachers certified in ESL (at no cost to the applicant), and provide multiple chances for prospective teachers to teach mock classes, to get a feel for what teaching a VIPKid class would be like. (You have to pass those to teach a real class and get paid.)
But that initial interview is the make or break part of the application process. Show them that you want the job. Be professional. This is an awesome, fairly easy job that can be done with your pajama bottoms on, but your on-screen persona needs to be professional–to both the interviewer and the students. They’re providing a valuable service to students, and parents are paying out the nose to provide their children with these one-on-one classes. Make it worth their while.
You can easily earn $100-$200 a week from the comfort of your house, while your kids sleep (unless they’re the sort that are up at 4am), in your pajama bottoms.
I had been dragging my feet about teaching English for years. It’s just about the only job I had open to me in Mexico. VIPKid is giving me more confidence about my ability to teach English, and it’s actually getting me out there, teaching English!
Except I’m not out there. I’m in my living room.
It really is pretty awesome.
Again–interested? Sign up at vipkid.com by clicking here! Thanks!
Globe photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash.
Sample VIPKid class video by Nancy Taylor on YouTube.
Surprised Kid photo by Ben White on Unsplash.
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