VIPKID Vibes: My New Disclaimer

Hello, there! I’m still amazed at the traffic I receive for my VIPKID posts, namely the short notice one. It’s not hundreds a day or anything, but compared to my other posts–some getting ZERO traffic–VIPKID posts are definitely popular. I’m glad they’re useful. Or entertaining. Hopefully both.

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However. Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: The Gnat Student

Let me start by saying, yes, I’m aware I have yet to write a post about Journey, and at this point, I’m not sure if I will.

But today’s topic is one that fuels my teacher fire. Few parts of this gig get under my skin, but what I like to call “the gnat student” frustrates me to no end.

The Gnat Student:

a student who will not stop booking you despite clear and numerous signs that you should part ways

I have a gnat student. It doesn’t matter how many priority bookings I ignore. It doesn’t matter what day or what time. It doesn’t matter that I end every feedback suggesting he find a new teacher. It doesn’t matter that I told the LP the same information.

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He. will. find. me. And he will book me. Guaranteed. Continue reading

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: 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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Tokens

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 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!

Nooooooo!

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: FAQ for Newbies, Part 1

Now that I’m on my 3rd contract for VIPKID, I figured I have enough knowledge to make a FAQ post. I’ll start with the most common questions I see from new teachers.


What is the flower icon on my profile?

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On the teacher app, you’ll see a flower beside your name. This is the number of followers you have.

What does that mean? A parent can “follow” a teacher and be notified when you open slots. As far as I know, that’s the point.

Can you see who is following you? No.

Does your follower count affect your bookings? I haven’t really noticed a difference, to be honest.

What is that other icon? The things that looks like a v in a circle is the number of tokens you have. Which brings me to…


How do I earn tokens?

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Hutong challenges! Which aren’t “challenges” at all. They consist of clicking links, skimming information, or typing a quick response to a question. And while they aren’t worth many tokens, they do add up.

Parent feedbacks. For every 5 apple rating you receive, you earn tokens.

Attending workshops. I haven’t done a workshop in a while, but I believe you earn 4 tokens?

Random incentives. When I renewed my contract, I got 100 tokens. Sometimes they have surveys in exchange for tokens.

Why are my tokens in different places?

I’m not sure why they haven’t streamlined this, but the tokens you earn from Hutong challenges are kept separate from those in the portal. In the Hutong, you’ll need to click on Rewards and do an exchange. They’ll move your tokens (by 100 or 500) to the portal.


What are the tokens for anyway?

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VIPKID Vibes: Mastering the Short Notice Game

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted about VIPKID. Thanks for your patience. This isn’t an update–I’ll do one of those next time for my 1 year anniversary! OMG.

Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on Short Notice bookings.

To make some extra cash for doing the exact same amount of work, I’ve started opening more Short Notice bookings. In an effort to keep this simple and to the point, here’s a list of Pros and Cons.

 

Pro: An Extra $2

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An obvious pro, and let’s face it, the ONLY reason anyone would do this. Two dollars isn’t life changing and might not seem worth it, but consider this. If you book just one short notice class a day, and you work six days a week, that’s an extra $48 a month–for working the same amount! This is doable. I had five short notice classes last Friday alone.

Con: You Can Lose Money

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Keep in mind, this is a gamble. If you decide to wait to open slots until the day before, you risk them not booking at all. So instead of gaining an extra two bucks, you lose that AND what you would’ve made for the class. I do not recommend doing this until you already have a pretty full schedule. And I would definitely start small. Try one slot a day, at different times a day, and see how that works out. Then the next week, do a few more. Have I lost money? Absolutely. But by the end of the month, I made more than I would’ve without any SN. Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: 1000 Classes!

I hit a milestone today. Behold:

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Actually, I’m up to 1005 now, but that title didn’t have quite the oomph I wanted.

Despite having taught so many classes, I still feel very much like a newbie. I learn something new every day.

I’m here to share my top 3 tips for being a successful VIPKID teacher.

Continue reading