Congrats! You’ve made it to the interview stage! Way to fill in that form! Huzzah!
Now comes the fun part: pretending like the adult face on the other side of your webcam is a five-year-old. (Let me just say, no problem. Going into it, this worried me, but after ten seconds, I completely forgot she wasn’t a kid. Bravo to her, I guess.)
I don’t know how often–if ever–they change what the interview lesson entails, but I had “My Feelings” which focused on happy, sad, angry, etc. After your application is accepted, you will be given access to the lesson so you can prepare. Thank God. If I had to walk into that blindly, would I have passed? Hmmm…
I practiced the crap out of those slides. I could recite them in my sleep. I’d be in the shower, like “I feel happy. I feel angry.” I’d ask my cat, “How do feel?” I’d drive to Walmart saying, “Big M! Small m!” I kind of lost my mind. But in the best way.
If you’re at this stage, let me share some tips.
To give you a time reference, I applied sometime between 4/5-4/7, and I scheduled my interview for the 12th. I wanted and needed prep time. I tend to overprepare virtually everything I ever do–and I still never feel like I’m ready for anything…but that’s a topic for another post. Anyway, give yourself time. You’re probably excited and just want to get the thing done. Trust me. Prepare.
I went over the slides and figured out the best way to present them, including what props/stuff I should have.
Reality check: They tell you not to spend a lot of money–agreed, though you need to spend some–and not to feel pressured to have your classroom ready. But, hello, they grade you on your background, so… Go to the Dollar Tree and get yourself something awesome. I bought a “Welcome to Class” sign with owls on it, and I bought some letters so I could have my name behind me.
Same goes for a headset. “Oh, don’t go buy a headset. Use your earbuds.” No. Listen to me. Go buy a headset. They grade you on this too–not whether or not you have one, but your sound quality. Maybe it’s the pessimist in me, but I bought mine at Walmart (about $17) so in case this didn’t work out, I’d just return them. I advise you to do the same. That being said, if you follow my tips, you’ll pass your interview. 😉
I also ordered a giraffe puppet from Amazon (this guy right here). I highly recommend having some kind of puppet or stuffed animal you can use to simulate conversation.
The props I ended up using:
-white board, puppet, happy face I taped to a popsicle stick, a Hulk action figure, Beanie Baby elephant & monkey, mouse cat toy, homemade letter flashcards—-all of these items I already had, besides the puppet
Do you need all that? No. But, as I’ve said before, I love having lots of stuff. It makes class more fun and interesting. Well, it makes you more fun and interesting too. Scour your house for stuff to use.
One thing you definitely need is a reward system, which is basically a motivational tool for the students to stay engaged. Don’t stress about this. Keep it simple. You’ll have enough to worry about without fumbling with a complicated reward. You’re free to use the reward built into the slides, but I wanted to do something different, and I suggest you do the same. It’s a chance for you to show off your creativity. Plus, I’m sure those interviewers are sick of seeing that freaking monkey and couldn’t care less if he gets another banana.
Advice: wear orange. No, this isn’t a requirement. However, my interviewer did compliment me on it. It can’t hurt to look the part.
Do this: Watch a ton of YouTube videos. Make some popcorn, search for “VIPKID interview”, and take notes. People have made slide-by-slide videos, so check those out. Also, become familiar with the overall style of teaching. Speaking slowly, TPR, etc. Nancy Taylor will become your new BFF.
Once you figure out what props you need and an idea of how to present the info, it’s time to do a practice run–or thirty. I recorded myself with Photo Booth on my laptop. You must record yourself. I can’t imagine not doing this. Record yourself thirty times? Probably not necessary, but you should definitely run through it enough times to where it’s pretty smooth and your TPR doesn’t make you look like a drunk flight attendant.
When I first started, my main struggle was transitioning from one slide to the next. It was so awkward. Practice this. Run through it enough to where you know what’s coming next. Use your reward system to help you transition as well.
Bonus Tip: don’t delete this footage. I ended up using clips from my gazillion practice recordings to make my intro video–which I’ll explain in a future post. 🙂
MAKE A CHOICE: LIVE vs. RECORDED
There are plenty of YouTube videos outlining the pros and cons of each method, and since these posts are more about my experience, I’m not going to get into the differences between a live interview and a recorded one. I went with live. The main reason: I didn’t want my first experience with a “student” to be my Mock 1. Not sure if that even makes sense to you. Really, watch some YouTube videos about this. Search for Teacher Penny. She makes very thorough videos!
SO, HOW WAS IT?
It’s a bit of a blur, even though it wasn’t all that long ago. I do remember starting off with intro stuff, like my name and education. She set her timer. I set mine. Then, we got into it.
I haven’t been on a job interview since 2010, so needless to say, I was a few steps past sweaty-palms-dry-mouth-feeling-like-your-entire-future-is-determined-by-the-next-thirty-minutes level of full body shaking.
Yeah, I was nervous.
As I mentioned earlier, once you do a slide or two, you completely forget you’re talking to a grown-ass woman. You just do your thing. My advice here? Go big. (It’s not “go big or go home” because you already are home. So just go big, people. Do it.) Don’t worry about looking like an idiot. They’ve seen it all. My nerves definitely went away once I started.
And then…this happened.
I’m holding up my monkey like it’s the single coolest object I’ve ever seen in my life, wanting her to repeat “monkey” and she is…except, I can’t hear her! OMG. What is happening?!
I died for about seven seconds or so. Only to realize I still couldn’t hear her and died again. And you know, I can’t remember if I restarted my computer or not, but she did. And that’s when I discovered what a moron I am. All right, listen and learn from my stupidity. Make sure your headset’s volume controls are not positioned where a simple bend of the waist can press the button. Yep, I muted her. That’s all it was.
Relieved, yes, but I figured I’d blown it. She was super nice though and let me start that particular slide over again. And she had stopped her timer when my stupidity derailed my interview. I lucked out.
I did not finish all the slides. Perhaps you will. I assume they pretty much expect that you won’t, and I don’t think it affected my score. When you practice, allow loooong pauses for responses, and that will help you with your pacing. I thought I had, and I still didn’t finish, so practice your wait-time.
The good news is you’ll know immediately whether you pass or not. Then, your interviewer will tell you what your base pay is for each lesson, and then go into robotic mode to recite a script about some rules and policies. I can’t remember what all it was; I was so glad to be done and never have to practice those slides ever again.
So that’s it for this installment. Next up? The dreaded Mock 1.
Questions about the interview process or anything VIPKID? Please ask me! Suggestions for VIPKID posts? Please tell me! I’m here to share and would love to help you out.
If by chance I already have, please consider using my referral code when you apply: 090JC2
Looking for more VIPKID posts?