All posts by Jen

How to pass the Mock 1 with VIPKID

This post is for those of you that are about to go through the Mock 1.   I did really well on my Mock 1 I passed and didn’t have to do a second Mock.   I was pretty proud of this because I didn’t have anyone to help me I simply had videos and the internet to get me through this process.   I connected really well with my mentor and I was certified for trials and levels 2&3.    I am now almost 90 days in and certified for trials and levels 1-5.   I will be certified for Pre-VIP by the end of next weekend.    So I feel like I can offer valuable insight into the Mock.

I am going to write a post that will offer tips per slide and I will have that live tomorrow.    I am not going to share the physical slides as  that is PROPERTY of VIPKID and I like my VIPKID job so you will have to read while following along with your slides.   There are certified people on YouTube that do a full walk through with the slides… I do not have that privilege so I can’t do that for you but I can offer my insight.

So what are my basic overall tips?


  1.  Wear orange.   You actually don’t have to wear orange when you are teaching just a solid color.  To be honest I tend to wear orange or black when I teach.    I always wear Orange on the weekends because I get more trials and I want new potential students to feel like I am a professional teacher that belongs with VIPKID.   So the point I am making here?  Wear Orange it looks like you want to be part of this company.
  2. Say Big X Small X…  DO not say little X.  Yes I know in North America we often learn to say Little vs Small… that is not the case with the Chinese.. say small or you will be marked off.
  3. Smile to the point your cheeks hurt.    One of the number one reasons my referrals are not getting offered a Mock 2 or being asked to do a Mock 2 is because of smiling and one other issue.
  4. That other issue?  Time.   Time was important in the interview… it is more important in the Mock.    You have to be careful in the Mock… you can’t rush the “student”  but you can’t go over time either.   I actually finished the entire level 2 class (which is why I was certified in that vs the intermediate)   If you go over significantly you will be asked to do a second mock.
  5. YOU MUST MUST MUST be positive an upbeat.    This is the case while teaching too and believe it is going to suck at first when you are teaching at 3 am or your first overnight, but not only will you not get hired you will get bad feedback and no one wants that.
  6. Make your reward system visible in someway.    I change my reward systems… but if you are giving something make it so it shows throughout the entire class.   I have heard 50% of the mentors want this.    I have heard the other 50% don’t really care… but if you get one that cares well you want to be prepared.
  7. If you can change up the reward system for level 2 and 4.   I did a guess the word for my level 4.   It just shows you care about each student as an individual.
  8. Get to know your mentor.   I really enjoyed my mentor we actually went over time a bit because it was fun talking to her.   I also asked for opinion in certain slides on how to teach because there are a couple that I still had no clue… that I know I was very awkward through.   I really think this benefited me.
  9. Have fun.   Seriously.  Have. Fun.   I know it can be stressful and it it is awkward AF teaching to a grown up who is acting like a five year old.   I would even go as far as saying it is a bit unnerving… but just make the best of it and have fun.   Believe me they will be able to tell.

So there you guys go 9 tips to help you pass!  I promise if you do these you will either pass or get asked to do the Mock 2.    Getting asked to do a mock 2 is NOT A BAD thing…  it means they see something in you and want to give you another chance to improve.   The number one reason they ask you to do a mock 2 is timing & believe me it is much easier to stay on time when you are teaching.  I rarely if ever go over time.  I really recommend practicing each slide to be taught at 40-50 seconds which will give you a 10 second grace period for students who hesitate or need correction… I often read a minute per slide… that is a great approx but honestly if you need to correct or need give the student time… you just went over.    I will have my tip per slide post coming soon!

17 months and counting…

As usual this post is late.

You know one thing I am learning about having a long time period before you go abroad long term is the planning is so much fun, especially when you want to go every where.

Anyway this month is not very different from last month.   I really am trying to focus on VIPKID by taking work shops & learning about teaching a younger audience.  I am also trying to work as much as I possibly can in June, July and August.

I also went ahead and created a LinkedIn because I read it is a great way to find teaching jobs abroad.   My profile is very basic right now, I need to take a pretty picture and all that for my profile.

As I said last month the month was about getting on a schedule and getting caught up.   I am 100% caught up and thankfully I can start saving again.    Now that I have joined the ranks of digital nomad I am not as crazy about the number I want to save so let’s just say now my goal is to save as much as I can while I am here.   I don’t really have a number anymore.  (So that is something that has changed from my first post) I am just going to save as much as I can & when my date gets closer re-evaluate.

I still have not finished my TEFL and I have decided that I am going to have a couple overnight this month and finish it.   I really must have that certificate or no one is going to hire me abroad.   I also want that on my profile with both VIPKID and Linkedin.

Rumor is July & August are crazy busy with VIPKID and I am mentally trying to prep to work every day with a full schedule to get as much money as possible.    If I can pay off my car over the course of two months I am going to do it.   (it is not that far fetched which is CRAZY to me!)  I am just not sure if I can keep up that pace we will see and I am going to try.  I will have a two week break at the end of the Summer so hopefully that means I can mentally suck it up and do it.  No rest for the wicked am I right?

I am still casually selling on Poshmark but haven’t quite been as active I am hoping to get back to doing that.    I am now just going to leave everything in the account and cash out every few months and add to my savings.   I am hoping to get back to selling on there soon.

Next month I am going to start my savings roundup posts back up so that way you can see how I am doing it and maybe be encouraged to take a travel leap someday.

All in all not a very eventful month just trying to build my base at VIPKID and organize my life which I finally accomplished (Also something I learned… when you work all night and sleep all day you really never spend money ha!)

Shows I am currently binging?   The New Girl, The Expanse, Death in Paradise and Arrow.   I rotate based on my mood.

Favorite movie last month.

The Avengers. Duh.

Favorite Book-  everything I read was pretty dull to me.    Nothing is standing out to me.  I am reading a book right now that is TRULY a rock star book that I will be sharing soon.

Still looking for books set in St. Kitts, St. Lucia and St. Thomas… send them my way if you know of any!

Until next time,

Ciao babes!


6 Movies Set in Japan YOU can stream NOW!

Working at VIPkid is probably one of the best jobs I have EVER had BUT it has a bit of downside.  Sometimes I have 3 hours between classes.  This inspires me to watch a LOT of movies so I decided I would start looking for movies set in certain locations and share with you guys! So this past week I crammed as many movies set in Japan as I could.  Some were fantastic some were eh… but all of them took me on a journey through Japan.  So without further ado… here is what I watched.


Honestly, no list about movies set in Japan can be complete without this documentary.   I have never watched it before and the whole time I was watching this I kept thinking “God I wish I loved sushi”  The dedication and LIFE committeemen that goes into his business is awe inspiring and something a lot of people can learn from.   This is an absolute must watch if you are needing your wanderlust for Japan to be filled.

This streams on Netflix


Awww this movie made me miss Brittany Murphy.   It also made me laugh so hard.   Now, I watched this movie years ago… and I do mean years ago (can you believe she has been dead almost 9 years???) but this time I found the movie very relateable whereas originally it wasn’t that memorable.   When she walks into the closed restaurant and ends up getting served…it was a very hilarious moment to me.   I have some crazy stories from the two times I have been to Asia and I don’t know why but I could relate to the lost in translation moments.   This is a warm fuzzy type of movie that I really enjoyed.

You can currently stream this one on Hulu

So I admit, this has been in my watch list for quite some time.   I have never actually watched this.   I learned about it when the whole “Did the Hunger Games rip off Battle Royale?” argument was a hot topic.   Well I am not sure if that is what happened but what I can tell you is this is seriously one deranged movie.    Seriously.  I started it after teaching all night and I thought it was so good I didn’t actually go to bed until almost 12.   This movie is very violent and not for the faint of heart.   Hell you have probably seen it already, but if you are wanting a Japan fix this might be a good one.  It is in Japanese but has English subtitles.

Streaming on Netflix.  You can also currently get it with a Showtime subscription. 

So I think Netflix quickly learned that I was on a “Japanese Movie”  kick and recommended this movie to me.  So of course I watched.  This movie is also in Japanese with English subtitles, but to be honest even if it was in English I don’t think I would understand what the hell was going on.   I think the wind was killing girls… I think (don’t worry that is SO not a spoiler, it happens in the first 30 seconds of the movie)?  This movie was a true trip.   I don’t even know if I can recommend this movie because it is so confusing but hell you might actually understand what is going on! ha!  If you are looking for movies set in Japan that take you on a crazy ride this one might be for you.

Streaming on Netflix.

I have watched this movie a million times it is one of my favorite films.   Although it makes me want to practice the one inch punch in case I get buried alive… ya know just in case.  Such a great movie and a must watch if you need a Japanese fix.

Now streaming on Netflix.

Now streaming on Hulu

Up next?  This week I am on a mission to find as many movies streaming set in Ireland that I can!  Comment below and tell me what country you would like featured! 

VIPKID: Tips on how to pass the Interview

My VIPKID journey began about 8 months before I actually jumped into what I am now calling the best job I have ever had.

Why did it take me so long to take the leap????

Because the idea of talking to an adult pretending to be a 5 a year old terrified me, which is the first thing you will have to do if you want this job.

After you pass your initial screening the next step is booking your interview.   Now that I am teaching full time with VIPKID I have learned that it really wasn’t that bad and I just let irrational fear get in the way.  Seriously it is not that bad and if I could go back I would really rock it this time and have way more fun! 

The interview is about 30 minutes with a person who works full time at VIPKID in China.   The first 6-10 minutes is just like a normal interview.  Why VIPKID?  What is your experience with Children? etc.  Then comes the dreaded are you readyReady for what you ask? Teaching their curriculum for ten minutes.

To put this simply when I did my interview I can 100% assure you I was not ready,  like at all, but before I get into all of this let me give you backstory.

I first learned about VIPKID on a very popular Travel Facebook group.   A girl posted “Is anyone interested in a true remote job?”  Considering I try out every single make money on the side hustle to determine if it is a scam for my lovely readers I decided sure I will bite.   I got her referral code, applied and in about 24 hours I received an email from VIPKID stating I had passed the initial review and I needed to schedule my demo interview.

Ok wait what?  I messaged the girl and she said “It is easy, just wear orange and pay attention to time”

Like seriously that is all she gave me.  Like what the hell does that even mean?

So I reviewed the power point provided and I messaged her again because I didn’t understand the slides. Her response?  It is fine just teach about a minute a slide, make sure you correct and wear orange.

ok… that didn’t even answer my question. Correct what?  A minute a slide? huh?

So I realized pretty quick she was just chasing the referral money without any real consideration of actually helping me understand  what the hell I was supposed to do.

So I started reading blog posts and watching videos… and 8 months would pass because simply put I WAS NOT CONFIDENT and I was not going to go through the embarrassment of teaching a class when I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.  Then I was hired at a job that paid well but honestly couldn’t have been a worst fit for me.  I had just started to look around for another job when   I got fired because long story short I didn’t have enough cups for a meeting. Being fired led to desperation because what the hell was I going to do for income?

I was scrolling Facebook late one night when a VIPKID ad popped up on my timeline and I thought “F it, what is the worst that could happen? That they say no?”  So I logged on to the VIPKID website and was shocked that they still wanted me to schedule my demo.  SO I scheduled my demo.

My demo went awful but there were some things I did right to get me through to the next round.

SO now to the point I am trying to make… how do you pass?

Here is what I did right.

  1.  I wore Orange.
  2. I had a headset
  3. I TPR’d the hell out of the slides.
  4. I smiled the entire time.
  5. I spoke slowly and corrected 2 of 3 mistakes she made.  I totally missed one because I was too worried about my camera placement.  I now just use my laptop and do not use a webcam.
  6. I had a reward system.
  7. I used my Rex from Toy Story as a prop.
  8. I had a whiteboard (if you buy only one thing for this BUY THIS you can get a basic one for $1, I think I paid $6 for mine at Fry’s!)

Here is what I could have done better.

  1. Not panicked and had way more fun, seriously it is not often you can pretend to teach an adult five year old.
  2. Set my area up like a classroom.  (I threw a map and a Mickey doll on the couch behind me and called it a day.   What was I thinking?)
  3.  Not get too focused on getting the student to get something right.  I spent 2 minutes on one slide because I couldn’t get her to make the letter sound.  You will learn that the kids are not always going to get it and that is ok so it is important to remember that this is a marathon not a sprint and the kids will take time to learn the language.

I made it about 2/3 of the way through the slides when I was asked to stop.   I felt defeated and I knew this was the end of my VIPKID road.

The lady who interviewed me asked why was I so nervous.   I told her that my camera was misplaced and it threw me off and kinda made me panic.    She smiled and said it is best to have the camera directly in front of you.  (duh! I seriously felt like a total idiot)

She then told me I did really great & that I shouldn’t be so nervous.   She then went over basic TPR tips & told me to decorate my room like a classroom.  She then explained how to teach certain slides.    She told me what my rate would be if hired and asked if I had questions.   I asked for a reference on letter sounds, she gave me one (don’t worry I will share with you in another post) and told me I had 7 days to schedule my Mock 1 and complete my pre-training.

I took everything she said to heart and wrote it down.    I went out the next day and made a back drop that can travel with me & bought a couple of things to pass the mock.

Once I get my YouTube channel up and going I will make sure to share every tip I can as I want you to pass!

So remember have fun this is a secondary education to children who live, eat and breathe education.  Seriously google Chinese education it is VASTLY different from Western education.   The goal is to have fun and make the kids want to learn English.

Want to share the fun with me and teach for VIPKID?

Here is my referral link I want to help you join in on the fun and I am literally starting to eat, breathe and live VIPKID, in fact I have been told after my trip to the Caribbean I should maybe tone it down a bit… ha!

I have started a Facebook group that is 100% dedicated to getting you hired!   I want to be there for you and I PROMISE I will help you more than just say “wear orange”  If you don’t pass don’t fret I will help you find out what went wrong and we will fix it!

I am sharing below some ideas of things  you can get… BUT 100% not necessary (except the white board ya’ll get the white board #trustme )  AS far as a reward system one of my referrals used pennies and was hired.   Just be creative, you can even use the one provided to you in the slides.  I have felt ice cream cones I bought at Target, I did buy the finger puppets and I have found them to be quite useful.   Below is just an idea what to use, you may even have it around your house!  I am no way telling you to go spend a fortune.  I spent maybe $20 bucks prepping for my mock and I have only spent about another $20 since getting hired.   The only thing I am buying this Summer is bubbles I heard bubbles are a hit in the classroom!

I am going to share a post and VIDEO of me building a new backdrop.   I am wanting to build a soft back drop that I can pack down for traveling and want to give you ideas as far as what they are looking for!