Category Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

My first 90 days with VIPKID

So when I first started researching VIPKID I knew a few things based on searches.

A: The interview process was tedious

B:  Even after going through all of that you have no guarantee of getting booked.

So once I was hired I was still stressed out that I would never get bookings.  I wanted needed this to be my full time job and I need the valuable experience in order to get teaching jobs abroad.

So to be honest I was expecting to wait a month or two before I even got a class but even  with that mindset I still opened up every single time slot, you know just in case someone actually wanted to book me.

The first two days I didn’t have a single class… then suddenly I was booked two trial classes… I was excited I was going to FINALLY teach a class so I got up 6 am got myself super pumped up and excited to teach and both NO showed.

Side note: When I was booked those two classes I was frantically searching how to teach trial classes… I had no clue those even existed when I first started out.  I will share my tips about trial classes soon! 

Another side note trial class no shows you only get paid half and I remember thinking yeah… I am going to have to start putting applications in places because well you know… bills and money.

So I waited and then suddenly I was booked more trial classes and I taught my first class 4 days after opening up time slots.

Then my first Friday overnight came and I taught 15 trial classes.   In fact, I taught my favorite kid that day (he is still with me and I teach him 3 days a week) granted about half no showed but half showed up.   I was still wary at this point because even at this rate I was not going to make enough to support myself.

I had  pretty busy Saturday with trial classes that weekend as well.

Then I had 6 trial classes sign up and I received the sign up bonus and VIPKID threw me more trial classes the following week and I experienced my first booking frenzy.

What is the booking frenzy? Mondays at 10 am (Beijing Time) VIPKID opens up the schedule for parents to book teachers.   The highly sought after teachers will often report getting booked solid within minutes.

I had opened up 100% of my spots again and was shocked to see 8 people booked me for major course that week.    I was also booked quite a few trial classes.  2 of the major course kids were kids I had taught trial classes to the previous weekend.

Side note:   You will often hear teachers complain about trial classes.  NOT ME.   I take that class and I throw 800% in to it because if they like me they will remember me and book me.   In fact, I will say 85% of the regulars I have came from a trial I taught.   They are very important if you wanted a booked schedule. 

I had 51 classes booked that first full week with VIPKID.  That included opening up every day with short notice bookings and working Friday and Saturday overnight.

I am not going to give you a break down of my weekly booking numbers because that would be very boring but I will flash forward to this week which is the week that I hit 90 days with VIPKID.

I am booked for 81 classes this week & that is with me shutting down over 100 spots over the course of the week to catch up on some much needed sleep.    I am officially at 40 hours a week which is where I wanted to be.  This does not include any last minute bookings I might get.

So why did I get booked when other teachers who started around the same time as me are still waiting for their 20th class?

I think it is because of a couple of things…  granted VIPKID doesn’t have any published data and some teachers will tell you it is random and just takes time… but after talking to the teachers who received a lot of bookings right off this is what I have gathered.

  1.   I was certified for level 2 & 3 and trial classes.

Simply put lower level students require a LOT of energy and a lot of people do not have or want this certification.  A lot of the people who are complaining about lack of bookings carry a level 4 or higher certification and do not have any beginner level certifications.   You will eventually get bookings with a level 4 or higher, but I have found most students at this level have a regular teacher they love.   I have exactly 4 regular level 4 students and 0 regular level 5 students.   The regular 4’s found me when they needed another teacher for one class and  I managed to win them over BUT they do still go to other teachers from to time so they are not 100% committed to me.   I have yet to receive a level 5 booking that wasn’t a trial.     While I know a lot of people do not want to teach younger students I think it is crucial at least at first to suck it up and teach 7 year old children.   Once you get established with older students and classes a lot of people will drop their level 2 and 3 tag.   I love teaching younger kids and just received my Pre-VIP tag, I personally think younger students are SO much fun and learn much faster.  Plus they keep my schedule busy.

2.   I opened my schedule up 100% that first week AND second week and if I am going to be honest every week since starting at VIPKID.

When I was researching bookings one of the tips I read was to open up as many spots as you physically can that first week of working.   Even if it means you get less sleep.     I figured what the hell I wasn’t working so why not?     I know a lot of people work full time jobs and opening up 100% is impossible but simply put that is not the case for me.  If you can manage overnights on your couple days off I really think it will benefit you.

VIPKID is going to throw you trials when you first start (if you carry the certification) and if you have more spots available the more trials you can get.  Trial conversion is also a thing so give it 800% believe me if you act like you do not want to be there it will show and the parents will no re-book you.

I still leave my schedule open 100% for the booking frenzy.  Once that frenzy is over I look at my schedule and I may make adjustments to give me a random night off or if I have a trip coming up I won’t and take the last minute bookings especially since now it is Summer and every day is about to be peak time.

So what are my stats in my first 90 days?

608 classes taught

15,200 minutes of teaching 

329 Students Taught

To see my 90 day update screen shots check out my Facebook group!  I post everything I can on this group and it is dedicated to getting you hired!    Just simply request to join and I will add you.  I share anything and everything I can VIPKID.  I am 100% obsessed and I really think with the right support you will be obsessed too!

Want a person to help you through the crazy process that is VIPKID?   Use my referral link and I will be there to guide you!

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!

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Summary: 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

My Review:   Where to begin with this book?  This book is a very rough subject… it involves school shootings which sadly is a part of life in America now.    I am not going to get into the politics or anything like that but I will say this book is very interesting as it takes the politics out of it and tells the story from different point of views.

I found the POV from the sister and the ex girlfriend the most compelling.  I will say at first I though the story had too many POVs but in the end it worked out and I understand why the author did what she did.

This story is going to toy with your emotions and dare I say make you look at school shooters with new perspective.  (NO I AM NOT DEFENDING) I am just saying it will give you perspective.    I think this is a book that should be read as it will touch you in some way.

I simply could not put this book down.   IT was that good.