Interview with a VIPKid tutor

My colleague Erin interviewed her friend N, who taught at VIPkid in 2018. Here is N’s story.

Tell me about joining

The first time I heard about VIPkid, I was an English teacher in Europe.  I only worked 12/hours per week, didn’t get paid well, so it made sense to look for a second job.  VIPKid was a great fit.

Teachers are very active trying to get referrals of fellow teachers to VIPKid, because the company pays $100/referral.

Your tutoring rate depends a little.  Base is around $22/hour.

One friend had 4 years of tutoring experience – he got an extra $2/class.  If a customer books with 24 hours notice: $2/hour more. If you are on time: $1/lesson more.   If you teach more than 25 classes, extra dollar per class.

Interview process?

I went through the interview process smoothly.

If you pass the first round of the interview, you record a class.  This is with an actual teacher who pretends to be a student – a little weird. They give you a prompt to teach, then give you tips.

But when I referred a friend, she didn’t have teaching experience, got denied. When said she had tutoring experience using a different email, she got to the second round of interviews. However, when she went onto the second interview, she didn’t make it, didn’t get the job. There is still a level of experience that they vet for.

Your Schedule?

I would work on weekends.  I would put up 6 hours. 6 hours = 12 25-minute classes.  If you do 12 classes in a row, only 5 minutes in between. One time I got a bad review because it was the last hour of a 6 hr/shift.  This was true, I was tired, felt bad…

Lot of issues with connectivity. Usually it was mine.

Loved it because I could wake up 5 mins before a class, would teach in PJs.

Some people do this full-time.

What Are Classes Like?

2 types of classes

A. Trial classes

  • Kids get a free class, main goal is to get them to sign up.
  • You get $5 if you sign up.
  • 3 trial classes
  • You are trying to level them by their English ability.
  • You making a fool out of yourself, kids running and screaming. You are making the 25 minutes pass.
  • You never see those kids again.
  • 60% of the kids don’t show up to these classes.

B. Normal classes

  • I had pretty settled hours of when I would teach, but only a few students who would come at the same time for each class, only had a few students where we had a settled time of when we would work
  • I have had over 200 students at this point
  • On their side, they show what teacher you last worked with
  • Most of the kids, very good English speakers
  • They would put on their camera before – you can see their lavish houses – it was 10pm their time when I taught.

I would put more effort into “real classes” than the trial classes.

You have to give the students 1-2 minutes of feedback afterwards.  I had prompts from VIPkid that could get me started – “the student was a good listener, they have potential.”

What was it like?

Kids would be all ages – sometimes 3 year olds. This was exhausting to teach. Sometimes younger. Sometimes parents had 2-3 kids in the tutorial, not allowed, but would do it anyway. This made it hard to give my feedback to the kids, I didn’t know which kid to give feedback to.

Most of the “trial classes” were young kids. Job was to see what level they were in. Challenging as a teacher. Oldest was 13 – were good English speakers.

What is training like?

After the interview “tips” I did not get more training.

If you want additional training – you can get certified for specific things – I never did this.

What was the curriculum?

They set up template for you. Everything is done for you. You are given slides, teach them to the kids.  20 slides long.

It’s based on Common Core.

I reviewed the slides a bit beforehand for my initial classes, but it is extremely easy to pick up, didn’t have to review when I got the hang of it.

Usually starts with some sort of reading, grammar for younger kids. Is an interactive board. Easy to follow as a teacher, fun.

For more advanced kids – time management was an issue.

The interactive board has a marker you can write on – VIPKid is constantly improving the interactive side of the classes.

Feedback

Parents leave the feedback for you. Kids aren’t allowed to.

Internet connection problems cause bad reviews.  The rest were positive, they would say that “teacher engaged, students had fun.”

Rate on 1-5 apples, other parents can see this, they can also write something or choose little tags like “great energy” / “really fun” – don’t have to leave feedback. Lazy parents would just leave the apples.

If you get low apples, VIPkid reaches out to you. I was able to explain the situation, that there was bad internet. You can go back to the recordings and confirm that. They took down this rating.

Other thoughts?

A lot of the children, just forced to do these things, you can tell.

VIPKid seems to be the leader in the field.  My friend, the one who was rejected by VIPKid, worked instead for Dada ABC.  Paid less, she had to work at least 2 hours every 2 days, so less flexibility.

There are a TON of YouTube videos for VIPkid teachers.  Seems like lots of ideas come from this YouTube community more than the company.

https://www.myvipkidjourney.com/ is an example.

You can be promoted to be a “coach” for VIPKid teachers, I’m not sure what that is like.