Tag Archives: Teach English

VIPKID DIARIES- My first 1000 classes

I am starting to realize my story is vastly different than a lot of people on social media.  I have joined quite a few VIPKID facebook pages for tips and advice and I am learning that the number one topic is…

How do I get more bookings?

When I see these posts I never comment because even though I have a great schedule I really don’t know the answer.  I also don’t really want to say I worked 148 classes last week.  I feel like that is rude when people are really upset about their lack of bookings.

I really don’t know why I have been successful and I know that it can change at any time but I am going to continue to give 110% every class and build my base.   I am hoping that I stay busy and that I can save a lot of money doing this.

I am currently working over night all Summer.  My current schedule is anywhere from 90-150 classes a week and I am not closing any spots.    Once Summer is over I will share my thoughts on working the crazy China Summer schedule but I can sum it up with one word… intense.

But for now, what have I learned about teaching ESL in my first 1000 classes?

I can act out any animal.

TPR (Total Physical Response) can be a workout but necessary to teach online you truly can get your point across with TPR… my street game abroad is going to be stepped up now thanks to VIPKID.

Chinese Education is insane and very regimented.

Introverted children need a calmer more relaxed class vs the over the top videos you might see on YouTube.

You need to be able to read a student’s personality in the first few minutes of class or you will never see them again.

Some parents just might not like your style and you absolutely have to accept that.

ADHD exists in China.

You need to know math to teach English at VIPKID lol

Having fun is so important.

Really while some of these are joking (well actually I am not joking about any of them) the most important thing you have to have is a positive attitude.    I also think part of my success is I am very update to date about Chinese education.  I read articles, I learn about their standardized tests.  I understand what school is like for them and I think that matters.    I read so many comments on the groups from people who have ABSOLUTELY no clue about the culture they are teaching and yes I 100% think it affects their bookings. Without a doubt.

I believe to be successful in any job you must understand who you are dealing with whether it be business on wall street or children in China.   I really think parents come back to me because I try to teach to their expectations and not my own.   (I would have never made it in China… seriously they have homework over the Summer… that they are expected to know BEFORE they go back to school)

I absolutely love my job and it is perfect because it let’s me dive right into a culture every single day.   I look into lives of a culture that is vastly different than my own but at the same time very much the same because at the end of the day we are just people.   I love that.  I love everything about my job and even though I am working 90 hours a week right now I would not change it for a single thing!

For every thing I have written about VIPKID, click here.

 

 

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!

TEFL: The Complete Guide to Teaching English Abroad (2016) (ESL Teaching Series) by Andrew William

Summary: This is an essential resource for both aspiring, and present teachers of English as a second language (ESL). The book covers everything you need to know about teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), and is brought to you by an experienced English teacher.

Read on your PC, MAC, smart phone, tablet, Kindle device or buy it on paperback.

The information provided below is a preview of what you will learn from the book:

What to expect from and why you should teach English abroad How to become an ESL teacher Choosing the right TEFL/TESOL certification course The job search and application processes CV editing and Skype interview preparation The best places to teach overseas Factors to consider and research before accepting a position Key qualities needed to become a successful ESL teacher Classroom tips and student management How to get the most out of the expat lifestyle What materials you need to tack with you from your home And much, much more!
If you’re dreaming of making a career change and want to live and work abroad; then this book contains all of the information you will ever need on how to secure a perfect job. Alternatively, if you’re already in the TEFL industry; there are plenty of useful and well researched insights in this book that will add to your teaching arsenal.

My review:   I like how this book makes it clear and reminded me that this was going to be a job when I finally get a teaching job, and that it is not every day travel.  Which I am excited about, I will be able to still experience new places but I will be stationary and not able to go to the next place when I am bored.

This book like other teach abroad book gives you insight into what to expect prior to your departure and asks the question that every book has asked “why do you want to teach abroad?”   I think this question is important and has me constantly thinking about why I want to do it.

Experience a new culture and gain an insight into learning plus it is proven that girls who are educated are more likely to not become victims in sex trafficking in these countries, which is a cause I am passionate about, but that is a WHOLE other topic/issue that  has nothing to do with this book. (This is my answer if you really must know)

The author also gives valuable insight into writing the perfect resume and CV for getting a job abroad which is practical knowledge once you are ready to start finding a job.

He also gives you five countries that are actively seeking teachers and the programs to teach through.  Which is fantastic and I will be coming back to this book once I am ready to start applying for jobs, which I can’t wait!  One year and I can start that!

I will be re-downloading this book once I am ready to start putting my resume out there as this is probably the best source I have found for that particular step in the process.

Teach English Abroad: A Step by Step Guide by Jeremy Roberts

Summary: A step by step guide on all the things you must complete and things to consider when moving abroad to teach English.

My review: I am reading so much about teaching abroad because I am planning on getting my TEFL certification and I feel like there much information I need to learn prior to making a decision.

This book was more of a step by step guide on what to do once you have your contract and you at are in the country. It is a great guide for once you have your TEFL and you are starting to interview and have made a decision on your school.

When you start reading a lot of these books they do tend to have a lot of the same information but each one gives an insight that is valuable to help you make a great choice. This author stressed the importance of reading your contract. A great guide for after getting your TEFL.

This book also offers a lot of considerations you should take when planning to teach abroad.  I also like that the author was 38 when they left, I will likely be 37 so it was very valuable insight for my age bracket.