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.

Essentials

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

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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

2018: The Year That…Was.

Well, 2018. That’s a wrap. Time to go.

It’s been quite a year for me. Things happened that I never thought would happen. Some things I wanted to happen, didn’t happen. That’s pretty much every year though, right?Related image

I figured I’d take some time and reflect on 2018. Categorically. Expect a rambling mess of thoughts. Ready?


Writing

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The Good:

1- I’m in an effing book. Available here: Maryland’s Emerging Writers

Seriously, though, this was pretty amazing, and while I feel like it never actually happened—because I don’t think Z Publishing did a speck of advertising, (Have you heard of America’s Emerging Writers? No? Oh. Well there were 50 books. Still no? Yeah, one for each state. OK. Well, there were.)—it’s still an incredible achievement, even if I’m the one only who knows about it.

2- Because of this achievement, my interest in writing came back. #thankful

3- I had the courage to send out some novel queries early in the year. Despite all the rejections, I’m considering this a good thing. I haven’t given up. Yet.

4- I revised my YA short enough to confidently submit to magazines.

5- I reached 5k followers on Twitter. Listen, I thought this would be the pinnacle of the whole social networking thing. But. It’s far from it. It’s just a number. And it means absolutely nothing. When you tweet something and get 2-3 likes, what’s it matter that you have 5k followers? No shade here. I do appreciate the followers. And I do hope to have more of a Twitter presence in 2019.

The Bad:

1- My writer self and I parted ways. We’re currently reconciling, but I really did just give up on writing some time during the summer, it seems. I didn’t touch my novel for months. I disappeared from Scribophile. The whole writing world just no longer excited me.

2- I didn’t get my novel published. Duh.

3- Going along with number one, I didn’t get my novel “finished” by the end of the year, which I was hoping for. And I didn’t write anything new.

4- Just yesterday, I was rejected from a magazine for my YA short. That was to be expected. But I’m still glad I submitted. I have two more (I think) possibilities.

The 2019 Plan:

1- FINISH MY EFFING NOVEL. Dear God. And all the rest…get an agent, book deal, interview with Oprah. The norm.

2- Don’t give up on my YA short. I’ll be sending it out this coming week. Please hold me to that.

3- Return to Twitter. The most doable in the list.

4- Return to Scribophile. I’m paying to use this website. WHY?! I haven’t so much as signed in since September. *sigh*

5- Not directly writing related, but I need to read more this year. I miss reading. I’d like to read more novels in my genre so that I’m familiar with the current market.


VIPKID

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The Good:

1- For more details on this, I have lots of blog posts called VIPKID Vibes. But basically, I love this job. It revived my passion for teaching. I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I feel like I’m making a difference, and it’s all so rewarding and awesome.

The Bad:

1-Aside from the cons of being a VIPKID teacher (lack of insurance, the hours, the inconsistencies, tech issues, etc.), on a personal level, the life balance is horrific. It’s VIPKID on one side and everything else on the other side. Because of this job, I stopped writing, making videos, reading, treadmill-ing. I put all my time into this job. And it probably doesn’t make sense considering I’m finished teaching at 9 AM. It’s the prep work, the reward systems, the YouTube videos, the blog posts, the necessity to nap, on and on. It becomes an obsession.

2- I’m tired all the time because of the hours. Over 1k classes and I’m still trying to find the balance.

The 2019 Plan:

1-I have no plans to stop, obviously. I will continue to blog about my experiences, and I’d like to become a Mock Class Mentor if possible.

2- I need to balance my life better. VIPKID can’t be the only thing I care about.


My Cat

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The Good:

1- I started a YouTube channel for my cat–yes, that’s sane–and while it didn’t blow up, I had SO much fun making videos. I used to make videos back in high school. They were essentially “music videos” where I’d pair a movie/show with a song. I liked the editing aspect of it. Anyway. I started throwing together some videos of Mocha starting in January. I met some cool people and Mocha got some love. Win, win.

2- Around the same time, I made an Instagram profile for Mocha. Also completely sane. In the same way, I met some cool cat people and learned a whole new platform. I’d never used Instagram before. And while it’s my least favorite social media, it works well for cats. I got loads of followers for the first few months, but I’ve held steady around 430 for probably 6 months.

3- My cat is awesome. Really though, living alone is awesome, but it comes with a certain, how do I say, isolation? So it’s nice to have another presence around. I’m going to stop before I sound completely psychotic. Point is, Mocha makes me happy. Cats rule.

The Bad:

1- I stopped making YouTube videos. Several reasons. Mainly, time. When I started VIPKID, EVERYTHING else came second. So I didn’t have time to write or read or tweet or make videos. I probably did, but I didn’t feel like I did, if that makes sense. But I also stopped making videos because honestly, it was disheartening to put all this effort into making them (and it takes longer than my “production value” might suggest) only to get a handful of views. Maybe that’s petty. So be it. But for 2019, I’m returning to the idea of making content you want regardless of your audience. It should be the same for an audience of 63 (my current subscriber count) to 1k (my aspiring subscriber count).

2- I didn’t post to Instagram daily as I had been. Or liking others’ photos as I had been. I lost the motivation for it.

3- Although Mocha is super awesome sauce, she has her moments. For instance, she suffers from what I like to call “elevator butt.” While peeing, she will lift her butt in the air, and therefore pee out of the box. If you know cat pee smell, it is heinous. So now I use giant storage containers. The first ones I had, I simply cut a square in the side, but then she started peeing out of the square. Now, they have a cut-out towards the top, so she has to hop in there. Whatever works, eh?

4- Mocha decided one day she didn’t like the food she’d been eating for two years, so I went through all these different cans of cat food. Her flavor of choice: sardines. Who knew?

5- Mocha likes to chew things, which unfortunately included an Easter lily. If you didn’t know, lilies are toxic to cats. This resulted in an after hours stress-filled phone call to my vet who didn’t even want to talk to me and cut me off. (Needless to say, I no longer go to this vet.) A mustard induced vomit. (I don’t know if you’ve ever pried open a cat’s mouth and squirted mustard in there, but it’s all kinds of fun.) A 30 minute fight to get Mocha in the carrier which left me bloodied and mentally scarred. And a nice vet bill for an overnight stay.

She’s damn lucky she’s so cute.

The 2019 Plan

1- I want to make videos again! This is pretty much my only cat-related resolution.


I’ll leave it at that. I hope your 2018 treated you well. New Year’s is always my favorite and least favorite time of year, which I plan to explain in a future post, possibly this week.

To all those who liked, commented, or followed me this year, a huge thank you to you. I really do appreciate the love. I’m humbled by it. And confused by it. But mostly just thankful.

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I’ll just throw this out there. If there’s anything you’d like to see a blog post about, I’m listening.

Here’s to an awesome 2019! I’ll see you then.

-Lauren

VIPKID Vibes: So…You Want a Dino? He’s For Sale!

Consider this Part 2 of VIPKID Vibes: So…You Want a Dino

The VIPKID Store is here!

https://thevipkidstore

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You may want to open more slots to pay for this swag. 🙂

If you’ve been wanting a Dino, it’s your lucky day! For $20, he’s all yours. Or $30 if you want the bigger size!

Or maybe you’re looking for a Dog Dino? They have him too. $25.

They even have the coveted Dino puppet. Get one for $20.

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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.

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VIPKID Vibes: Will VIPKID Make Me a Morning Person?

In short…

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I’ve been with VIPKID for 216 days now, and let me tell you, it’s still a struggle every day. Every. Day.

I’ve always hated getting up in the morning. It’s painful in every sense of the word. You’d think after a certain period of time, my body would adjust and it wouldn’t be so bad, but that has yet to happen. Why not go to sleep earlier? Seems simple enough. But it doesn’t matter. I can get 8 hours of sleep and I feel the same as I do with 5 hours. I don’t understand it.

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VIPKID Vibes: The Moment When, Part 2

The moment when…the kiddo comes to class ten or more minutes late.

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The moment when…you’re having class with a new student and one of your regulars appears in the background.

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The moment when…you miss an incentive by two hours. I don’t want to talk about it.

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VIPKID Vibes: “The Moment When…” A Gif Post

Hello, VIPKID teachers! Perhaps you can relate to these?

The moment when…you have two minutes left and ten slides to go.

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The moment when…the kiddo says “I’m fine” when you ask “How old are you?”

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The moment when…you get sweet feedback from a parent.

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Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: The Unfortunate 4 Apple Rating

Happy Teacher Tuesday! Just a quick update this week…

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After 241 5 apple reviews, I received a 4 apple. The reason I even mention this is to let you know that when it does happen to you–and it will, eventually–it’s going to be OK. Yes, it will sting and bruise your ego a bit. And seeing your 5.00 average drop to 4.99 is tough to look at. But it’s actually not that big a deal.

A four is still good. It’s even labeled “Good” so there’s nothing to feel upset about.

What is hard to deal with is not knowing why. There have been plenty of classes when I’ve thought, if there was ever a 4 apple class, that was it! This class, however, went fine. Or so I thought. But the parent left no tags and no message, so I have no clue what she didn’t like about it.

Don’t let a four apple review bother you too much. Don’t dwell on it. Just move on. If you feel like you had a good class, that’s all you can do, right? Keep doing what you’re doing.

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#preach

UPDATE: Feeling down about 4 apples? Retail therapy helps. Buy yourself something:

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


If you have yet to apply, go for it! If there’s anything I can help you with, let me know! Here’s my referral code if you choose to use it. Thanks!

LAURE0409


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy teaching!