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Side hustles can be a great way to make some extra cash, pay off debt or save for a large purchase. However, of the 44 million Americans that have a side hustle, their average revenue per month is only $500. While not terrible, it’s nothing to write home about.
The company VIPKID is changing all that. With VIPKID, you could earn more income than most other side hustles, and it’s causing some exciting opportunities for people everywhere.
My wife and I have both been working for VIPKID for about six months now. The VIPKID platform allows you to teach English to children in China. Let’s go through the ins and outs of this side hustle. If it’s right for you, it can be an amazing way to make some extra money.
What is VIPKID?
Named one of the most innovative companies in 2018, VIPKID is a service that connects Chinese students learning English to native English speakers in the United States and Canada. Through the power of the internet, native English speakers teach 25-minute one-on-one classes online with Chinese students.
Currently there are over 20,000 teachers and 200,000 students – and the company’s growing quickly, even considering expansion to other Asian countries in the coming years.
How Much Money Can You Make with VIPKID?
Since you can set your own schedule, the amount of money you make each month depends on how much you work.
You may have seen advertisements on Facebook promoting “up to $22 an hour” with VIPKID, but this is definitely the high-end of the spectrum. The minimum class pay for VIPKID is $7-9 per 25-minute class (so $14-18 per hour). But there are other cash incentives as well, such as $1 per class for showing up on time and then another extra $1 per class for finishing more than 45 classes in a month. These one dollar incentives start to add up when you’re teaching 10-20 hours a week.
My wife and I are both in the middle of the pack – each making $8 a class or $20 an hour. In an average month, I earn $1,500 and she earns $1,000 from VIPKID, giving us a total of $2,500 in extra revenue. This is our vacation/debt-pay-off fund, and it’s been incredibly successful for us in the last year.
If you can’t get enough of VIPKID, you can turn teaching into a full-time career. If you taught 40 hours a week, you’d make between $37,440 to $45,760 a year. There are even opportunities to get a raise, but only after you’ve been with the company for over a year (two contracts).
Sign up for VIPKID today and start meeting your financial goals!
Trials and Missing Classes
If you teach a trial class, which is for a new student who’s trying out VIPKID for the first time, the student may miss the class. It’s pretty common for trials to be no-shows. If this happens, you will only earn half of the pay for that class. That said, if a trial becomes a full-time VIPKID student, you’ll receive a bonus $5 incentive, which adds up when you’re teaching several trial classes each month.
If you teach a major course, though, which includes all the regular courses besides trials, you’ll receive full pay, even if the student’s a no-show.
What Time of Day Do You Teach VIPKID?
Assuming that you’re living in the United States, you’ll mainly teach in the early mornings and on weekends. You can open time slots anytime from 8pm-9am Eastern Standard Time, but the peak hours will be in the early mornings.
Requirements for Being a VIPKID Teacher
Like most jobs, VIPKID has strict requirements for being a teacher. Take a look at the qualifications so you can decide if this is the right job for you.
- Native English speaker
- A bachelor’s degree in anything – You don’t need to have an ESL-specific degree. It can be in math, computer science, hospitality – whatever, but you have to have a degree in something.
- Ability to work in the United States or Canada
- Teaching experience – VIPKID is a little vague on what “teaching experience” actually means. For instance, for my teaching experience, I mentioned that I was TA in graduate school, and my wife highlighted some babysitting and volunteer work for our youth group at church. It’s really all about how you highlight yourself and your talents. Take some time to think about it. Most of us have teaching experience we can pull from.
- Stable internet – Since you’ll be interacting with students on the other side of the world, you need an internet service you can rely on. According to VIPKID, you need a DSL internet connection with at least 20 Mbps. Some teachers get by with less speed, but it will definitely hurt the experience. Check out your household internet speed here.
What Equipment Do You Need for VIPKID?
As a teacher, you’ll need to have some props and tools to help you interact with your students. A good starter kit for VIPKID teachers includes the following:
- Small marker board
- Dry erase markers
- A puppet (mine is a frog)
- Headset with microphone
- Stickers (because stickers are fun)
- Magnetic letters or letter blocks (used for letter blending)
If you really want to go the extra mile, consider buying a large stuffed animal. I would recommend an elephant, which is a word that comes up a lot in the younger levels. If I have an unengaged student, a giant elephant usually captures their interest long enough to get us back on track.
How to Apply to Be a VIPKID Teacher
Step 1 – Application – During this part of the process, VIPKID will briefly ask you basic questions – the most important of which is if you have teaching experience. On this section, make sure you emphasize your involvement in education. Once again, this doesn’t mean you have to be a teacher or have an ESL certificate. Be specific during this section. This is not the time to sell yourself short. Any camp counseling, community leadership, babysitting activities, etc. should be highlighted in great detail. You need to portray yourself as an educator.
Step 2 – Interview Time – Once your application has been accepted (good for you!), your next step is the interview process, which includes you giving a short 10-minute trial lesson. You’ll be given the material ahead of time and it’s best to be well prepared. VIPKID provides you with YouTube videos showing how to succeed in this part of the process. Make sure you watch them. I also recommend getting the proper equipment at this point.
There won’t be any real children at this step. You’ll either have the option to record yourself (this is what my wife and I did), or you can have an interview with a VIPKID employee. If you go the live-person interview route, they will pretend to be a child and interact with you as you go through your lesson.
Step 3 – Training
Once you’ve passed the interview (congrats!), you’ll need to complete a series of videos, reading materials and some quizzes. While the quiz itself is fairly easy, take your time on the prep videos. Get to know the info so you’re ready to ace your mock class.
Step 4 – The Mock Classes
The mock classes are the most important part of the hiring process. Much like your interview, you’ll teach two separate 15-minute classes – one targeted at younger and one at older children. Don’t worry, you’ll be given the curriculum in plenty of time to prep. And once again, the interviewer will pretend to be a child (it’s not as creepy as it sounds). Make sure you’re well prepared, and bring the energy!
Some teachers only have to complete one mock class. But most will have to do a second mock class, which is an opportunity to get some extra practice in before teaching students. If VIPKID requests that you teach a second mock class, don’t sweat it. Consider it a chance to hone your skills before teaching with (real) children.
Best Practices for Mock Classes
- One minute per slide – A good rule of thumb is to spend an average of one minute on each slide during the mock trial. I recommend having a timer to help you stay on track.
- I do, we do, you do – When teaching kids (or adults pretending to be kids), it can be difficult to get your point across. One way to help kids learn is through giving examples. When you come to a complex slide, you show (rather than tell) the student how to complete the activity. Then, you encourage the student to do it with And finally, the student does the work on their own. This method – called I do, we do, you do – is a great way to encourage students who are learning these activities for the first time.
- Rewards – For VIPKID classes, you’ll need a reward system for the students during the class. It should be something that’s fun and interactive. A good place to start is with these crafty Pinterest ideas.
- Complete sentences – When prepping for classes, make sure that you practice speaking in full sentences. VIPKID doesn’t want you speaking with broken English. But that doesn’t mean that your sentences should be complicated. Try to remove filler words and make your point in as simple a way as possible.
Sign Your Contract and Get Started
Once you’ve successfully completed your mock class (or classes), you’ll need to sign a contract and provide proof of your degree. From here, it’s off to the races! You’ll film a short video that introduces yourself, and then you can start booking classes and teaching when you’re ready.
At first, you may find it difficult to book students on a regular basis – and most of the students you do book will probably be trials. Don’t get discouraged. It takes a little time to find your regulars, but when you do, they’re usually around for the long haul. When I first started teaching, I usually had 10-15 trials a week. Now I typically have one.
When booking classes, VIPKID encourages you to open time slots two weeks in advance. This way, students can see your available times and book what makes the most sense for their schedules.
Take the First Step with VIPKID
For my wife and I, VIPKID has been one of the best ways to make extra cash without investing a lot of money into a side hustle. If you enjoy teaching and have early mornings available, this could be the perfect extra-income opportunity for you.
Are you ready to take the leap? Sign up for VIPKID today!
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