My New Side Hustle

So a year ago one of the other Spanish teachers at school told me she started teaching English to Chinese students online for this company called VIPKID. I dismissed it pretty quickly because it seemed like some sort of internet scam – a too-good-to-be-true sort of deal. At the beginning of this school year, she mentioned that she was still doing it, and made really good money over the summer. Again, I didn’t think much of it because I already had a second job that was very time consuming – waiting tables.

She kept talking about it though.

The older I get, the harder working at the restaurant is for me, for various reasons, so I decided to see what this VIPKID stuff was really all about. I got the information and went to the website and filled out an application. Within a couple hours I was told I had been “approved” and should sign up for a skype interview. I asked the lady that referred me for some pointers, and started watching Youtube videos. The interview is basically 2 minutes talking about your work experience, and then 15 minutes teaching a mock class. This is very nerve-wracking for a few reasons: you have a lot of powerpoint slides to cover in the allotted time, the interviewer is acting like a 5 year old Chinese kid with no English skills, and you become hyper-aware of all the extra words you use in a sentence that are completely unnecessary. Apparently I did alright though because I passed and was told to sign up for a mock class. I only had a few days to fulfill this so I did more homework and taught my class to a different adult pretending to be a child. From there I had to do it one more time. Then I had to send in a bunch of documents (my degree, passport, tax form, etc.), and when all was said and done I think it took me a little over 1 week to officially be an employee of VIPKID. (Knowing all of this now, I would NOT have chosen my birthday week to do all of this because it was super stressful, but there probably never is a “good” time to do something like this, it’s better to just get it over with.)

(What the online classroom looks like – minus the kid.)

Then the waiting comes. You fill out your schedule on this spreadsheet, and wait for people to sign up with you. It is very slow at first because students usually sign up for classes at least a week in advance, plus they usually sign up with teachers they already know, so you have to slowly build up a base of kiddos who like you and book with you again. When all was said and done, I think I taught my first class exactly 1 month after signing up for VIPKID. There was definitely a period that I thought I would never get any students and this was all just a waste of my time. Oh how wrong I was. It only took me 2 weeks to build my base because now all of my classes immediately fill up when opened.

I was so freaking nervous my first few classes. Oh my gosh. I just didn’t know what to really expect, or if I would get everything taught in the 25 minute classes, or if the kids would like me, and all sorts of other silly stuff. After teaching more than 20 classes a weekend 3 weekends in a row now though, I am no longer nervous. I actually really enjoy it, and love seeing some of the same kiddos come back to me! They are adorable, and teaching 1 tiny human, via internet is SOOOOOO much better than teaching 35 hormone-raging teenagers, in person. Plus, these kiddos really enjoy learning, and are super motivated. They are completely adorable and I love them.

(This was my temporary classroom when staying with my mom as Mischa recovered.)

So aside from the sweet kiddos, what are the perks of this job?

-You get to pick your schedule. You are only required to be available 7.5 hours a week. If people don’t fill all those spots, that’s fine, you just have to make them available.

-It pays super well, especially for the amount of work you put in (you literally just read a powerpoint presentation)! The pay varies depending on a few factors, but it can range anywhere from $18-26/hour (I’m averaging around $21/hour), plus there are special bonuses to bump you up even more. Oh, and if the student doesn’t show up, or there are internet problems or something, you still get paid!

-I don’t have to do anything to prepare! All I have to do is open my computer, and I’m good to go! It is amazing! No lesson plans, no grading, no bullshit! I literally just read a powerpoint to the kiddos and have them do the activities on them.

-I can do it ANYWHERE! I’m not gonna lie, this was the deciding factor for me. Working at the restaurant has been pretty good money, but it can be hit or miss, and I obviously can’t do it when I leave in the summers. VIPKID I can do anywhere in the world, and it actually pays me enough to replace my current salary – and for working way less hours! This is any world traveler’s dream.

-You can do it in your pajamas! (Or at least from the waist down. See photo below.)

-It is rewarding; you’re actually teaching a useful skill to someone who wants to learn. The parents also leave nice reviews for you (if you’re a decent teacher, of course), which is an ego boost.

So there you have it. Basically I’m in love with this job and am kicking myself for not starting it a year ago when I first heard about it.

The only requirement to work for VIPKID is that you have a college degree, so no, you do not have to have a teaching certificate to work for them. Also, Forbes listed them in the top 5 companies to work for online, so that’s pretty cool, and legit. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, I’d be happy to share more information with you, or you can click here. It is seriously life changing.

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