VIPKID Vibes: What You Should Know About Chinese New Year

Happy New Year, teachers! I hope 2019 treated you well. I’m back with a new blog post about something I figured new teachers especially might be wondering about: What is Chinese New Year, and how does it affect me? Here’s what you should know.

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What is Chinese New Year (CNY)?

Chinese New Year is a pretty big deal, and what I’d call equivalent to Christmas, as far as celebrations go. Students have a break from school and many of them travel to visit family. They decorate their homes, set off fireworks, eat a lot. Children get money in a red envelope called hongboa. You know, you’ve taught those Level 3 lessons, right? 🙂

Will CNY Affect My Schedule?

In short, yes.

You will most likely see a change in your bookings during this time. This year, CNY is January 25th. (It varies every year.) To give you an idea of what your bookings may look like, here’s my schedule from 2019: Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: Top 10 Daily Posts You’re Guaranteed to See on Facebook

I don’t post to Facebook often and I rarely stray from the few VIPKID groups I’m in, but I do check the feed at least once a day. And I’ve definitely noticed a pattern. So here’s a list of posts you’re bound to see in VIPKID Facebook groups on any given day. In no particular order.

1) “Gif Me!”

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I love gifs. I mean, just look around. But these “Gif Me!” posts are so pointless. Why don’t you just search for your own gifs? That’s half the fun–and why all of my posts take me forever to finish.

2) Tagging Erik Chong

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I feel for Erik Chong. I really do. As a social media guy, community person, whatever his title is, people seem to think, if they want to be heard, just stick his name on the end of your post. I don’t want to know what his notifications look like. And he’s always getting blamed for things, like not listening to concerns. It’s unreal.

3) “Are your bookings low? My bookings are low. Anyone?”

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In short, yes. If you spent ten seconds reading, you would know this. So WHY would you start yet another thread about low bookings?

4) Have you gotten paid?

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Any posts related to money, really.

5) “This picture is inappropriate.”

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I don’t know if people are bored or what, but some like to take the time to screenshot a certain slide, post it, and ask if others think the image/s used are inappropriate. Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: FAQ for Newbies, Part 3

Here are some more questions I’ve been noticing lately. And if you have any specific questions, please ask! I’m no expert, but I do know a few things.

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Do tokens expire?

The simple answer is yes–for some ungodly reason. To be more specific, here’s the breakdown:

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Here’s the weird thing. I had to dig for this info. It wasn’t in the Token FAQ section as expected, which makes me think they don’t want you to know that tokens expire. Pretty shady, no? Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: Meg and Mike Puppets

I have a YouTube channel for my cat, Mocha. So this week, Mocha’s new video is an unboxing for Meg and Mike puppets!

I finally earned enough tokens to get the puppets, and they arrived last week. So here’s the thing: they are cute. But I’m glad I didn’t pay money for them. I’ve had them in my classroom for days and no one mentioned them. Had I spent $41, I’d be pretty bummed, but seeing as they cost me nothing, it’s no big deal. The choice is yours, but I strongly suggest you continue earning tokens and save your cash.

Enjoy the video!

Adobe Spark (20)

Please help Mocha reach 100 YouTube subscribers!

VIPKID Vibes: New Halloween Rewards at Target

Online teachers know, that enticing dollar section at Target is a great place for all things teaching. The holiday season is no exception. I don’t have a Target in my hometown, but I do travel to one at least once a month–because I may have a problem.

I found some cute Halloween themed items that would make great rewards. Click the picture to go straight to Target. Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes Story Time: The Finish Type Fail

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Finish Type: how a class is labelled when it’s over

(“As Scheduled” “Student No Show” “Student IT” “Teacher No Show” “Teacher Cancellation 24 Hours” “Teacher Cancellation 2 Hours” “Teacher IT”)

Listen, this is a story I don’t want to tell. I just got over it, and now I’m bringing it all back again. But I do it for you. I hope you appreciate this and learn from it.

In my 2594 classes, I’ve been extremely fortunate. I’ve had one Teacher IT and one Teacher No Show. (My alarm didn’t go off so I missed my first class, but by some miracle, I woke up with 2 minutes to spare for my second class of the morning. Whew.)

Until last week, that is.

As some of you may know, I broke down and bought an iMac. And now I’m broke.

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Anyway, this computer is awesome and it makes teaching awesome because I can see now! More importantly, it’s fast enough that I can use the AR stickers that I wasn’t able to before. So fun! However, my computer decided it was going to update right before my first class started. Not ideal.

I will admit, I was cutting it a little close. I didn’t get downstairs to turn the computer on until 6:54 for a 7:00 class. So, yeah. BUT this is usually fine. I never turn the computer off—just to avoid something like this happening. I always just put it to sleep, and then it “wakes up” just fine. A lot quicker than I do, anyway.

So I go into a panic, especially when the estimated time is 33 minutes. It ended up being much quicker, but not quick enough for me to make it to class on time. Knowing I would be late, I contacted the fireman through the phone app. I took a picture of my computer with the little progress bar and typed to please wait, I had to restart my computer. Meanwhile, I had my laptop with me. First I had to download the app–because heaven forbid they let you teach without that. And wouldn’t you know, my laptop is too old to support the app. Thanks so much. Then, I think, maybe I can use my phone. I log in and see that my class isn’t listed. It was already a Teacher No Show. 7:05. Come on!


I played dumb with the fireman, and typed, “I’m here. Where is my class?” He/she checks…. “Sorry I see it is marked TNS.”

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Of course, thinking everything’s fine, because, hello, this fireman knows I’m right here, I ask for this to be changed to a Teacher IT. Makes sense to me. But the fireman is not authorized to change the finish type. I have to apply for this through the Teacher Portal.

I have to sit through five more classes, trying to be happy and not act like I was screwed over. It’s fine. I’m a great actress. You can’t teach middle school for five years and NOT be a great actress, you know? Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: Top 5 Best & Worst Things About Being a VIPKID Teacher

I hit another milestone recently. 500 days. It’s unreal. Here are my stats at the time of posting this:

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So, how are things going? What do I like? What don’t I like? Let me tell you. If you’re considering this company, maybe this will help.

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The Top 5 Worst Things About VIPKID

5) The Lack of Insurance/Benefits

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If you’re on your spouse’s insurance, this doesn’t phase you, but if you’re el singleo, this could pose a problem. When it comes to benefits, well, there aren’t any. There are no sick days or vacation days or snow days. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. There is no 401k, nothing is taken out for SS or taxes. These are things you have to take care of on your own. All those behind the scenes things that a company would do for you, you are now responsible for. Think of yourself as self-employed. VIPKID is your business.

4) The Reliance on Technology

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You are at the mercy of your computer. Power goes out? Computer crashes? Internet is down? None of it is your fault, but VIPKID doesn’t care. If you can’t teach, you don’t get paid. I’ve had one “teacher IT” since I started, so I’m pretty lucky. I restarted my router before a block of classes and for some reason, it really slowed things down. So I got stuck with an IT. Bad thing is, my speed was back to normal like 2 minutes after my class was cancelled. I finished the class, pled my case, and didn’t get anywhere. They are reluctant to change teacher ITs. I’m over it, but it was frustrating at the time. There are certain precautions to hopefully avoid an IT, but sometimes, things happen.

3) The Isolation

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VIPKID Vibes: FAQ for Newbies, Part 2

I’m back with more insight to hopefully answer those burning VIPKID questions.

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First, an acronym glossary. In no order, sorry.

  • SN = short notice (An extra $2 for classes booked within 24 hours)
  • SNS = student no show (Within 24 hours, you get paid!)
  • SIT = student IT (You get paid!)
  • TNS = teacher no show (You don’t get paid. You pay them, actually.)
  • TIT = teacher IT (You don’t get paid. For obvious reasons, it’s best to type this one out)
  • T2T or T2T Feedback = teacher to teacher (This is the feedback other teachers leave for a student to give future teachers a heads-up. Don’t put too much weight in this info.)
  • B&M = brick and mortar (How teachers who also work in a “real” classroom identify themselves)
  • FAS = find a star (A popular game used as a reward system)
  • PPT = peak peak time (The lame name given to the most popular time slots to get classes)
  • BJT = Beijing time
  • MC = major course (These are the majority of the classes you’ll teach. It just means it isn’t a supplemental class, like Grammar or Reading.)

Other terms to know: Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: It’s Not Too Late to Buy that Cute Target Stuff (8/19)

Did you miss out on Target’s awesome dollar deals this summer? You’re in luck! You can still buy them online!

If you’re like me, you don’t have a Target close by. #smalltownlife You’re scrolling through Facebook/Instagram and see all the teachers sharing their Target hauls and think “That’s hella cute, but I’ll never find one.”

Or maybe you do have a Target but your local store sold out of something you wanted? Look no further. Here are some of the items I remember seeing this summer. What I love about Target is how many of their items match, so you can really create a whole look.

Let the Back to School shopping commence!

In full disclosure: The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

8 Count Wood Pointers

This could be used as a simple reward. Keep adding them to a cup! Or just use the star one! “You get a star!”

8 Count Chipboard Words

At the store, I bought “Write” and “Read” for myself, not for the classroom at all! They didn’t have the other varieties when I was there.

I have several of these felt boards from other years: robots, cars, princesses, flowers, etc. I might have to buy this set too. They were sold out at the store!

The money and planets aren’t decals, but the ABCS and colors will stick to whatever. The money would make a great prop for those Level 4 lessons and the Free Talk lesson about vacation too. There’s an entire Level 5 Unit about the solar system. Perfect prop/reward!

If you’re looking to upgrade your flashcard collection, this is a great set. Same price as Dollar Tree! 🙂

This is a great deal on magnetic letters and shapes!

That’s just a random sampling of some of the dollar deals I remember seeing this summer. If you missed your chance in store, shop online!

Current Target deals for Back to School:

Backpacks on sale starting at 30% off. Valid 8/25-8/29.

Save on kids dresses, tees, leggings and jeans for back to school. Valid 8/25-8/31.

Save on TVs, Chromebooks, plus all of the hottest Tech. Valid 8/25-9/2.

Save on select plastic storage. Valid 8/25-8/31.


Check back for more Target posts and teaching essentials in the future! For now, check this one out with deals from Amazon:

VIPKID Vibes: Newbie Teacher Essentials (and Wishlist Items!)

Thanks for spending some time here. Target loves teachers!

VIPKID Vibes: Newbie Teacher Essentials (and Wishlist Items!)

I haven’t posted in a while, so I wanted to return with something epic.

This may fall short of epic, but perhaps it will be interesting at the very least.

Below are some items you should have if you want to make the most of your VIPKID-ness. If you click on the picture, it will take you straight to Amazon. Consider me your middleman. You’re welcome.

*I may add to this list, so check back for more cool stuff.


1) Heaphones

You need headphones. This is a must. If you’re in this for the long-haul, I recommend using something with an attached microphone as opposed to earbuds. Don’t think you have to go out and buy expensive gaming headphones. I’ve been using the same pair since April 2018, and I only spent about twenty-two bucks. Below are the Logitech H340 headphones. If you don’t want to spend a little more for a mute button, I’d go with these. For either kind, make sure you have an extra USB available to plug it in.

Logitech USB Headset H340, Stereo, USB Headset for Windows and Mac

2) Camera

I consider this an essential–but not right away. The camera on your computer works just fine to start out. As you start teaching more classes and decide you want to invest a bit more into this business, consider a camera upgrade. Think of it as something to work towards. I bought one after about 3 months. Tech quality is important. You want good audio, video, and lighting. If you read on Facebook groups, most people recommend this camera. It’s awesome!

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam

3) Magnetic Letters

I swear by these. Again, you can start out with basic items to get you through the interview process, but I highly recommend upgrading. Unlike some other letters I’ve seen, the back of each letter is completely magnetized, so you don’t have to worry about them sliding down or falling off. I use these every day. Love them! You get a set of uppercase and lower case, and 2 sets of numbers 0-9. A must-have, for sure.

Magnetic Letters and Numbers for Educating Kids in Fun -Educational Alphabet Refrigerator Magnets -112 Pieces (Letters and Numbers) Continue reading