Heroes, I’ve been doing something really neat for the last several months: teaching again! Specifically, I’m working for a company called VIPKID. I teach Chinese children how to speak English.
Do I speak Chinese myself? Nope. Not yet. I’m going to start learning Mandarin shortly though. (I have plans.) Because VIPKID is an immersion program, it’s not necessary for me to understand Chinese.
The lessons are already written; I log in and interact with the student on a platform similar to Skype. The lessons appear as a PowerPoint, and the company is working on making them interactive.
Both the student and I can write on the screen. We have a chat window for easy typed messages, and then of course the camera shows each of us so we can see and hear. It’s a pretty great system!
Are there any downsides to this program? Honestly, yes. As a night owl, getting up early has been…difficult. I am improving though. Due to the time difference, I have to teach from 5am until 10am on weekdays. I can work at night on Fridays and Saturdays to take advantage of kids being home on the weekend. And the parents’ expectations are sometimes tough to meet. (I’m improving on that score as well.)
I have a desk set up with all of my props close by. The desk faced a window which helped with lighting. But I didn’t have anything concrete behind me, and my posters were difficult to see. Just this weekend I turned the desk. Now the window is next to me and the corner walls visible behind me. Et voila! My posters look bright and cheery and I have a corner office! With windows!!
I’m moving up in the world.
Props, by the way, are extremely important. VIPKID uses TPR extensively. TPR stands for Total Physical Response. They want the teacher as involved as possible in the lessons, with lots of energy and enthusiasm along with as many physical props as can be procured. I recently have begun collecting doll house furniture for the lessons that discuss household items like bed and wardrobe.
So basically, shopping is a part of this job too. Pretty cool, eh?
I’ve been earning roughly $20 an hour teaching. That’s easily twice what I was earning as a waitress last year. Loved, loved the waitressing. Both for the interaction with people who were not my children and for the exercise I got. But I wore myself completely out and got really sick over the winter, and I struggled to hit my earnings goals. With VIPKID I’m doing much better.
There are over 200,000 students in China using the VIPKID system. And there are 20,000 teachers. Can you believe that?? And the super cool thing is, VIPKID is always hiring. If you have a bachelor’s degree and a year’s experience teaching, along with the desire for high energy early morning tutoring sessions, you should check out this opportunity. I’m glad I did!
VIPKID has been a solid source of income. I choose when I work, and I can work as much as I choose. They do ask that I commit to 7 hours a week during peak times, but other than that, my schedule is my own. I have an obligation this Friday morning, so I didn’t open any time slots. It’s that easy. (Other than being bummed at not earning money during that time, anyway). My goal is to work about 35 hours a week. Things slowed down this summer since kids were on holiday, but now that it’s September again, bookings are filling up fast.
So! If you want to try out this opportunity, go for it! I’ll be putting up some YouTube videos on my page to help. When I get time to make them, eek!
It’s a project. And a process.
Talk soon, heroes! I plan to be around more now that life is saner.