Welcome to the Ultimate Guide for how to apply to be a VIPKid Online English Teacher! This job has seriously changed my life (check out this post on how we have used it to travel the world for the past 3 years) and I encourage almost everyone I know to apply.
However, if I’m being completely honest the interview process is pretty rigorous and intense. Although it may not be super easy to become a VIPKid teacher, the job is NOTHING like the interview process. Everything is SO easy once you actually get the job, and you can ask me anything during the whole process!
First off, you need to register using your email address. You can apply using my referral code, which helps me make a little extra travel money (thank you!).
Apply here or type in the code DAYNA0002.
If you use my code, feel free to email me personally with any additional application questions you have at [email protected]. But first, let’s get into this application process!
how to apply for vipkid (basic info section)
Although VIPKid tends to change this part, the basics are the same. They want to know how much experience you have. Like with any resume, you want to make yourself look good. If you haven’t spent a lot of time teaching (which isn’t necessary at all) just get creative about your past.
Have you ever babysat? Taught a class at church? Helped a friend with their homework? Embellish on all of that. Make sure that you are on the higher end of whatever experience scale they are currently using and list as much background experience as possible.
VIPKid tends to change its application process frequently. If there is a quiz involved in your application, please CHEAT! Trust me, they encourage you to. You can take it as many times as you want in order to get it all right, so don’t worry.
If there is no quiz, then you should be guided straight into the main options:
Recorded Demo or In-Person
There are two options that come after you pass the “Basic Information” Section. In both, you are asked to teach a 10-minute lesson (now a 5-minute lesson, but might change again soon.) Some people are only given the recorded demo option, and that is perfectly okay!
The recorded demo is you recording yourself “fake teaching” a child. You will have about 2 hours once you enter and you are allowed to do it as many times as will fit in that 2 hours.
In-Person is the option that I would recommend if you have the choice. For me at least, I think that getting to know the interviewer and being able to connect with them on a more personal level definitely helped me get the job.
However, you do whichever one works for you! If you choose the in-person option then there may be an interview at the beginning…
So the first interview will depend completely on the person who you are being interviewed by. Some of the people I have referred have told me they weren’t interviewed at all. However, you should be prepared either way to answer some basic questions.
The so-called “Interview” will most likely happen in 5 minutes or less before they ask you to begin your “Mock Trial.” Or it might not happen at all! But use this time to show your personality and energy! Also, if the opportunity presents itself, try to find common ground with your interviewer!
They could ask you what teaching background you have. You need to be prepared to list a few of the things that you mentioned in the Basic Information section and talk about how that prepared you for teaching online.
They might ask you if you are ESL certified or if you have a Bachelor’s Degree. If you are not ESL certified but plan to be, say that you are taking an online course and plan to be certified soon. There are tons of online courses and throughout the year Groupon has them on sale for only $5.
Then the most important thing that they might ask you is what you think you should get paid. You should answer with $8 or $9 dollars a class because of how much experience you have and with being certified in ESL (if that is the case).
However, even if you are not certified or don’t feel like you have that much experience, be confident and ask for it anyway! If they don’t ask you and it is something you are concerned about, bring it up after your “Mock Trial” class (where you teach an adult who pretends to be a child, super fun lol).
Don’t worry, I lay out exactly what you should do in order to prepare for the awkward class later in this post! First…
Quick Review about payment with vipkid
If you came here from this post, then you already know how payment works. However, those of you who are just getting here, here’s how it works:
For most people who start with VipKid, they offer you $8.00 per class as a base payment. Each class is 25 minutes long so that comes out to $16 per hour.
However, VIPKid has incentives that it pays on top of that. For every class that you show up to on-time and complete you get $1. So that is another $2 per hour.
Then they have an incentive to get you to teach more classes each month. Once you have taught 30 classes they give you an extra .50 cents per class. After 45 classes that turns into $1!
So here’s how it works for me: I work 4-5 hours from Monday to Friday, meaning that I always hit the 45 class mark. That means that I end up making $10 per half hour, or $20 an hour!
What you need to buy
You don’t need to buy very much in order to do this job, especially if you can get creative with what you already own! Here are the main things you need to already have or you may need to buy/borrow them for the Demo Lesson:
- Orange Polo Shirt
- Fun Prop for Opening (headband or big glasses, etc.)
- Educational & Cute Background (“Teacher —-”, American flag, etc.)
- Prop for Every Slide (Letters, toys, printouts, etc.)
I know that this can be a lot, and there are a lot of pointers that I give throughout this blog post that are super important (as I said before, they can be nit-picky) so I have made a check-list for you!
It has all of the things you need to have ready plus those “Don’t forget to do this!” pointers that you should glance at before you begin.
In case you are wondering a bit about why you need these items, here’s a little description of what you use them for:
Orange Polo shirt
It’s the company color! Technically, after you are hired you don’t have to wear it. However, I suggest that you do! It looks more professional and it’s better to not be stressed about whether what you are wearing is appropriate for class.
White Erase Board & Markers
You can DIY the white erase board to save some money. You can use this during class to draw something that you don’t have an actual prop/toy for.
I used this for a while, but the markers get expensive so I stopped. However, it will help you look more prepared and with a more dynamic classroom.
During the class, there are words that you have your students sound out. I recommend that you take a look at the slides that you will be teaching and make cards that match.
For example, if you are teaching the word “CAT” you could make a flashcard with a “C” and another with “AT.” Then you sound out the “C” sound, show the flashcard, then the “AT” sound, show the flashcard, then put it together: “CAT”!
Many teachers buy a headset off Amazon but that wasn’t a requirement back when I applied so I still haven’t bought one! I use my Apple headphones since they are easier to travel with.
I think that the Apple earbuds are the best if you are not going to buy a headset.
Laptop or iPad & charger
VIPKid recently came out and said they will no longer have an App that is supported on a Chromebook. So basically any iPad or laptop besides that will work fine! I use a MacBook Air that I got certified refurbished from the official Apple website.
I used to use a PC and it was super slow and always had some sort of virus, so even though Apple was more expensive, it has been totally worth it.
Fun Prop for Opening & (headband or big glasses, etc.)
This could be anything, so be creative! It works as a nice ice-breaker for the kids!
how to set up your “classroom”
What’s great about teaching online is that your student can only see the tiny square which is your “classroom.” The rest doesn’t matter! So yes, sometimes I’m not wearing pants!
However, this tiny square of space matters, especially for your Mock Demo Lesson. You are going to need:
- good lighting (no shadows)
- an educational and colorful display (called a background in VIPKid) behind you
- something to hold your laptop up (so you aren’t looking down or up at the camera)
- you sporting your “Orange is the New Black” Polo
Here’s an example of what we set up for Jake when he applied for VIPKid. We were living in Bali at the time and unlike America, they don’t have dollar stores that are just PERFECT for getting backgrounds and props for classes.
We had to buy a T-Shirt and cut the map out and then we bought some block letters and wrapping paper for the background.
However, in America, the land of arts and crafts and DIY, you can find a much more creative and aesthetically pleasing background than this one!
I would suggest that you spend less than $10 and then get creative with everything else to avoid spending too much before you are hired.
Another good idea for your “classroom” is a map. However, you need to be aware that the Chinese are sensitive about which countries are under their rule.
Make sure that all the countries on your map are all the same color to avoid getting in trouble with the company.
VIPKid asks all teachers to use “reward systems.” This means that whenever a student does something well, you give them something that incentivizes them to pay attention and keep doing well!
This may feel odd at first because it does take up a lot of time during the lesson, but remember that these are small kids that have already spent ALL day at school. Chinese students generally don’t finish the school day until 5 pm and then they have extra-curricular classes until bed and even on the weekends!
You will need these rewards to keep them entertained and focused on YOU! My goal is to use the rewards to make them laugh. Be as silly as possible and you’ll find that if you can make the student laugh, they will most likely rebook you!
VIPKid comes with a built-in reward system of 5 stars. These are given throughout the class. However, in the Mock Lesson, the stars will not be available. (If they are, awesome! But you can be prepared either way!)
Since the stars are not available, I cut out and colored 5 stars and when the student did well (or actually once every 2 slides) I would show them the star and then stick it on my background behind me so that it stayed visible throughout the class.
The Secondary Reward System
This is where you can get creative! You will want to follow the same principle, but you have a lot of wiggle room with this part!
You want to have a reward system with 5 parts, like the stars. However, remember that if you can make the student (or interviewer in this case) laugh then that is a huge bonus for you!
Also, when you give the student the reward, show it far away and then move it up close on the camera. You can do this with props and flashcards that you use as well!
Here are some examples that we have used:
5 sunglasses reward
Give one pair of sunglasses every few minutes and let them build and fall off! Don’t keep them on the whole class, just put one pair on and then say “One!” and help them to count with you!
They think it’s hilarious when the glasses fall off and you act like that wasn’t supposed to happen!
5 headbands reward
Follow the same wavelength as the last one, but instead with headbands! You can have them fall all over your face or just get really excited about whatever type of headband it is!
Turkey with 5 wings award
The reward I actually used when I applied for VIPKid was one of those turkeys that you make in Elementary School! You have a bare turkey with no wings, and each time the student does well, you add a wing!
If you can make a reward system that can be seen during the whole class like the stars we mentioned before, that is even better but not required!
Virtual high fives
Okay, I know this is a lot! But just do your best to incorporate these three things. For example, you could give a star every minute, then a secondary reward the next minute, then give them a high five the minute after that! Sometimes you can give them a high five and then a reward as well! It’s up to you, but I do recommend that you give at least one high-five during your Demo Lesson.
Preparing to Teach
As far as the lesson goes, be obnoxiously energetic! Even if you are someone who is usually not, don’t worry. Anyone who knows my husband could tell you that he is NOT a bubbly person at all. He is actually really shy.
If you are that way, just remember that you will probably never see that interviewer ever again! You can do this. Jake drank an energy drink about 30 minutes before to kick that extra-ness up a notch.
Once you are hired, you can teach in a more calm way if you choose to. However, you will find that when you are teaching younger children it comes more naturally to smile and speak in a different voice!
And yes, your jaw will have to get used to the new amount of smiling you will be doing.
This is a big reason why I believe that you need to practice and RECORD yourself before you actually do the Demo Lesson. We are used to saying a bunch of words that are not necessary just because the person can understand us.
When you are teaching a child that doesn’t understand anything you are saying, explaining how to do something isn’t going to work.
Here’s an example of what to AVOID:
“Hello, student! Today we are going to learn about toys! Let’s play a game! Okay, when I say “a”, move the letter “a” here with your mouse.”
Instead, you could say this:
“Hello, student!” (Wait for response)
“Circle the letter A!” (You circle the letter, then point to the student while motioning to circle)
“Good Job! Move the A!” (You move the letter, then make drag and drop motions with your hands)
This is usually how everything should be taught until the student is at a higher level.
A Quick Tip About Your Introduction
When you start a conversation, you generally ask a person how they are before asking their names. When you are teaching a student for the first time, you should always ask for their name first. Why?
Because students get those two questions confused very easily since they are anticipating what you are going to ask them instead of listening.
This is something good to practice and test more experienced students with, but when you are a new teacher this can be frustrating and you may not know how to handle it.
So here’s what you should do:
Teacher: “My name is Dayna. What is your name?” (Slowly and using your hands A LOT!)
Student: “Bao Bao.”
Teacher. “My name is Bao Bao.” (Then cup your hand to your ear and encourage them to repeat the full sentence.)
Student: “My name Bao Bao.”
Teacher: “My name IS BaoBao.”
Student: “My name is BaoBao.”
Teacher: “Yay! Great job!” (Clap or invite the student to give you a virtual “high five”)
Then a few slides later you can ask them “How are you?” while making sure that they don’t answer with their name!
The hand movements are a bit difficult to describe, so here is a Youtube video that has helped me and lots of other teachers be able to pass the Demo Lesson.
Make sure that you are not copying exactly what she does, but taking the principles and applying it to your own teaching style. Meaning, just because she uses that prop or that reward system doesn’t mean you should too.
When Jake interviewed the interviewer told him that he was the most prepared interviewee that she had seen so far! She said that too many teachers are directly following a Youtube video and they fail because it is so obviously scripted.
What Jake and I focused on when preparing was getting rid of the incidental language (what we talked about earlier) and acting out every word while using props.
You want to act out EVERY WORD or use a prop. So you will have tons of props, and that’s fine. You don’t have to use them when you are actually hired, but they make a huge deal out of it when you are getting interviewed and in your Mock classes.
Good props could be stuffed animals, cut-outs, puppets, kid’s toys, etc.!
Things to keep in mind
Each slide you have 1 minute to finish.
Like I said before, the introduction and reward slides can be a little quicker. Do your best to finish all the slides in the allotted time!
Correct the student (nicely!)
There are a few good ways to do this. One is to repeat back to the student the correct way to say it and then encourage them to repeat you by cupping your hand to your ear and waiting. Or you could say “Close!”, smile and then repeat the word for them. Keep it simple and light!
Keep eyes on camera (keep props organized & close to you)
As I said, after you get the job I wouldn’t stress so much about things like this. However, the more prepared and professional you look in the interview the higher your chances are! It will kind of feel like you are running a puppet show or something. Just try your best to never look away from the camera!
Practice out loud & time yourself
You got this! Over-prepared is better than under-prepared!
Your face should hurt from how much smiling you are doing! Pretend you are running a Kid’s TV show like the Wiggles or something. Be obnoxious!
A word about wifi
To test how fast your wifi is, you can use Speedtest.ookla. It tests your Upload, Download, and Ping. You want your Upload to at least be more than 1 and your Download more than 8 as minimums. Your ping should be below 80, the lower the better.
You should also have backup Wifi which could be a phone hotspot or wifi hotspot device. You can make your speed more stable by plugging directly into the modem with an ethernet cord.
Practice practice practice
Last but not least, take all that you learned in this post and through the Youtube video and actually put it into practice BEFORE you start your Demo Class.
You are going to want to complete all of the slides they give you within the time given (which should be 5-10 minutes.) There are NO bonus points for going over.
You want to get as close as you can, but don’t stress if it goes a little over. Each slide should take about a minute, but the introduction and reward slides can be faster to give you more time to teach on the other slides.
On the reward slide, all you have to do is show your reward or the first part of what you will be giving to the student when they do well! Don’t over-explain or use too much “incidental language.”
I recommend you practice the full class at least 4 times while timing yourself. You can even have someone watch you and take notes to make sure that you avoided extra words and made everything as simple as possible.
Okay, so that is a lot, but I am the type of person who wants to be over-prepared so I hope that you will find this helpful as you apply for the BEST travel job/ stay at home job/ never have a boss again job EVER!
Just remember that whatever time and energy you put into this, it will increase your chances by that much. Also, on the off-chance that you are rejected, VIPKid encourages teachers to reapply using a different email address.
Sometimes VIPKid may ask you to do another Mock Lesson, which I know might be a lot of work, but once you start this process just act like you already have the job. You will get it if you just don’t give up!
This job has been the reason we could live and budget travel in places like Bali and Paris and all over Southeast Asia and Europe! Just imagine the freedom and places you could go with a job that has no requirements or restrictions!
Please just let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything that is not clear and I am more than happy to help you personally!
Good Luck!! You got this!!
Check out some of the cool places we’ve been because of our online jobs!
- 10 reasons You NEED to Move to Vietnam ASAP
- How to Find the CHEAPEST and the BEST Crepes in Paris
- How to Get the Bali Swing Picture for CHEAP
Need to remember these tips for later? Pin it to Pinterest!
Dayna Brockbank is a travel and language-learning blogger who has lived around the world but has now settled in Nice, France. She speaks 3 languages at varying levels of fluency: Spanish, Italian, and French, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Spanish Education. She and her husband focus on making travel part of life by living cheaply and traveling on a budget.