One Month Update with VIPKid
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Good afternoon! It's officially been 28 days since I signed my contract with VIPKid and it has been a whirlwind of a ride.
I'm here to chat stats, schedule, bookings, and things I have learned working for this company for a month!
Major Course Classes: 8
Trial Classes: 14
Trial Sign-ups: 1
Student No Shows: 9
Opened Slots: 251
5 Apple Feedback: 0
Is this what I expected?
It's no secret that I have been frustrated with my lack of bookings with VIPKid. The first two days I worked with VIPKid, I had 6 classes and was so excited to see that I was doing well off the bat. Then, bookings completely dropped off. I did take the first weekend off, so I would highly recommend at least opening one or two slots the first few weekends you are teaching with the company. However, I have done loads of hard work and have started to see an increase in bookings. Starting last Saturday, I have had at least two bookings a day which is a huge step up from the 2 bookings a week I was getting initially.
Tell me about student no-shows.
A student no-show is when a student does not show up for the class that they booked with you. If it is a major course class, you must wait the whole 25 minutes for the student to show up. If it is a trial class, you only have to wait 15 minutes before exiting the classroom. I have only ever experienced the 'trial no-show' as parents are not paying for these classes and will not always take the extra time to cancel.
You still get paid even if your student does not show up, however it is only half the amount of money for a trial. You do still get paid a $2 bonus if it was booked short notice as well as the £.80 bonus for just showing up to your class. All in all, $6.55 to just stare at your computer screen for 15 minutes is not too shabby. I use this time to catch up on feedback or to read.
That being said, I much prefer when the student actually shows up and we can get through a fun class together! There are some teachers that really love student no-shows and others that would prefer to just teach through the 25 minutes. Let me know down below what you prefer.
The most stressful is when a student shows up late and you have to cram the material into a short amount of time. I had a student show up for a trial 14 minutes late... one more minute and I would have been able to log out of the classroom!
I have had one repeat student and I absolutely adored her. We had 2 classes together before she booked me weeks out for multiple lessons and then (dun dun dunnnnn) she cancelled them a few hours later. It was probably the lowest moment of my first month with VIPKid. I thought we had really fostered a connection and then she disappeared. I teach almost exclusively trials at the minute so I don't have any repeats and I am very much looking forward to building a lasting relationship with a kiddo down the line.
Why no feedback?
You tell me! There is a lot up in the air when it comes to parent feedback. As teachers, we are required to write detail feedback to the parents after class and very rarely do we see the favour returned. I have seen teachers straight-up ask for 5 apple ratings, I have seen them hint at it, I have seen them ask for ANY feedback (be careful what you wish for), I have seen teachers prompt for feedback with questions about whether the student enjoyed the class, and I have seen it left alone.
I personally ask a question at the end of my student feedback to motivate the parents to reach out but I feel uncomfortable asking for a 5 apple rating. After taking the Chinese Cultural-Awareness workshop, it's not something that I am ready to do this early on in my VIPKid career. Hopefully feedback will come rolling in soon and will positively affect my bookings.
So, what does my schedule look like?
I have touched on this briefly in my blog post about what it is like being a VIPKid teacher in the UK- click here.
For the most part, I am in teaching mode between the hours of 8:30 am- 1:30 pm my time. I was currently working between 9:00 am- 2:30 pm before the time change and have since opened up my schedule a half-hour earlier as Beijing does not have a time change (surprise!).
I am also currently opening slots every... single... day. I would love to take the weekends off in the future, but since the UK is back in lockdown (a.k.a. we don't have anything worth taking time off for) and it's easy enough to teach a few hours in the late morning, I am trying to take advantage of this fact and build up a client-base.
My second and third week with VIPKid, I was lucky to be getting 2-3 bookings a WEEK, so I was spending a lot of my 'working hours' taking workshops through the teacher portal, obtaining certifications, or working on marketing myself (I will go into that a bit further in a bit). This week, however, I am teaching around 3-6 trial classes a day and have therefore had less time to devote to personal teacher growth and have focused a lot more on actual lesson prep and feedback.
I am sure that this is why most of you are here!.. I will keep it short- see my first month pay below. I'd obviously love to make more in the future, but it's not bad for a job that seems too good to be true!
Participation Incentives: $25.60
VIPKid Sign-up Incentive: $10.00
The hardest part about this job (and something I didn't really know that I would have to be doing) is marketing yourself... especially initially. Here is an inventory of everything that I did to ensure I was getting as many bookings as possible:
Opened up PT (peak time) and PPT (peak peak time) slots every single day for 4 weeks in advance.
Took over 15 workshops with VIPKid to ensure that I was being the best teacher I could possibly be and also because ESL teaching is brand new to me and I wanted to make sure I was doing everything to cultivate success.
Sent booking invitations to every single new student of mine and e-cards to every single student (new or old) that booked with me.
Provided detailed feedback as timely as possible.
Tweaked my profile to make sure my pictures, bio, and profile video represented me as best as I could.
Did a 'teacher feature' and 'classroom showcase video' to bring new students to my profile.
Did every single thing on the 'new teacher' tab to get tokens in order to send gemboxes to my students.
Signed up for the Power Slots (I have my first power slot student next week!).
Changed my tags on my profile so i'd be available to a different crowd on the portal.
I have written to the Learning Partners to thank them for their assistance and for sending new students my way.
I have obtained 15 (FIFTEEN) new certifications to make sure that I was available to the widest client base possible.
Opened and closed slots throughout the day to see if that would bring more bookings in (it's literally done nothing for me, but I have given it a go!).
Watched countless videos and read countless blogs to make sure that I was literally doing everything I could possibly be doing before...
Writing a ticket in to VIPKid and asking them to please (pretty, pretty please) send more bookings my way.
Taught every single class as if it was the end-all, be-all of teaching.
1ST MONTH MILESTONES:
First trial student
First student no-show
First repeat student
First 'potty break' during a lesson
First time a student randomly left a lesson half-way through
First time a student drew hearts for me
First 'thank you, teacher'
First late student
First time I made a student laugh
First time I absolutely butchered one of their precious Chinese names
First unit assessment
First e-cards/gemstone boxes sent
First celebration of student's birthday
First time my stuffed whale was of use
First trial sign-up (I woke up this morning to two trial sign-ups. This is where the parent will sign up with VIPKid after their child has trialled the course with you! You get a £5 bonus and you just feel amazing because you obviously did a good job teaching the kid.)
First time being truly happy and content in what I was doing profession-wise
TOP TIPS FOR NEWBIES IN THEIR FIRST MONTH:
If you are struggling with bookings, literally do everything I did in the list up above. Then, when you reach out to VIPKid for help, they will see that you have done everything possible to get bookings. Pro-tip: don't close down slots if they aren't booked... let them expire! VIPKid are more willing to help if they see all the expired slots.
If you can only get ONE certification, get the Trial Class Certification. When I reached out to the company they were right in telling me that they could not make parents book me but they could send more trials my way. That being said, get as many certifications as you feel comfortable with. As soon as Starlight and Supplementary Courses opened up to me, you better believe I hopped on those IMMEDIATELY.
Keep your first few weeks with VIPKid as completely wide open as you dare. I really regret closing off my first weekend.
Don't be too hard on yourself and do NOT compare yourself to other teachers. VIPKid would not have hired you if they didn't think you had what it took to be successful. I have had a few classes where I did not feel confident with my teaching. I also am the queen of over-thinking why I wasn't getting many bookings. I'd look at other teachers who started at the same time as me and wonder why they were thriving... fact of the matter is, 'Who knows?'. A veteran teacher told me, 'If you wait patiently, the right students for you will come'. <3 This is something I am continuing to work on.
Get involved in the teacher community. I joined the VIPKid group on Facebook, I utilise the Hutong regularly, and I adore my teacher Instagram page (please feel free to follow if you want daily updates with my teaching HERE). I have made a few connections that have truly helped me with my self-doubt these past few weeks and who have cheered me on when bookings started to go on the rise again.
Alright! I think that's everything that I can think for my first month with this incredible company. It's honestly such a dream come true to work from my dining room table, on my terms, and to feel so fulfilled at the end of the day after working with such amazing kids. Keep your eye out for further monthly teaching updates in the future.
If you are part of this community, I would LOVE to hear what your first month with VIPKid was like... I know everybody's experience looks so different and it would be great to compare! If you are interested in pursuing a job where you get to wear pajama pants to class and get to make kids laugh all day... you can sign up with my link HERE or use my code ABIGA0441 when you sign up. If you do, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can ensure you have all the tools you need to be successful in being hired with VIPKid. I'd love to work with you and be a part of your journey to finding true happiness in your career life.
Until next time-