Making Money with VIPKID

In December 2016, I was sitting on a hostel bed in Granada, Spain, across from my friend, Heather. The conversation turned to finances–a topic hardly taboo among auxiliares de conversación.

You can make money teaching online with VIPKID!

Image Credit: Tax Credits (Image Overlay: Backpacking Brunette)

I wasn’t strapped for cash, but my recent decision not to renew for a third year in Spain had me thinking about the future. I needed to start saving money for my next venture. But, how?

It was important to me to retain the freedom to travel. I needed a flexible gig. The previous year, I’d upped my income by taking on more private classes but had run myself ragged commuting all over the city. I needed something close to home–something I could potentially keep doing once I was back in the States.

Heather, bless her little heart, had the answer: VIPKID.

What is VIPKID?

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Beijing, China, VIPKID is an online education company. VIPKID offers an American education experience to Chinese students aged 4 to 12.

I teach English as a second language to children living in China through an online videoconferencing platform devised by the company. It’s similar to Skype. The students have varying levels in English. For some children, I’m their first contact with an English teacher. Others are nearly fluent speakers.

Every class is one-on-one and lasts 25 minutes. I utilize prepared lesson plans designed by VIPKID and implemented based on the student’s level. Just so this is clear: I don’t do any lesson planning!

The lessons are fully immersive (you don’t need to speak Chinese) and were designed according to the U.S.’s Common Core State Standards.

Who can apply?

VIPKID employs more than 20,000 teachers and has over 100,000 students. Are you seeing dollar signs yet?!

Potential teachers must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a native English speaker from North America.
  • Have any Bachelor’s degree.
    • Individuals with an associates for early childhood education are also eligible.
  • Have some teaching experience.
    • Formal teaching experience is not required. Motherhood, babysitting and camp counseling all count.
  • Have a reliable internet connection with audio/video capabilities.
  • Have a passport.
    • A scan of the first page of the passport as well as a college transcript or diploma must be submitted during the application process.

You can make money teaching online with VIPKID!

Image Credit: Charels Yamut

How much can I make?

Depending on your teaching experience and performance during the application process, you will make between $7-9 per class. Since you teach in 25-minute segments, you can make $14-22 an hour including bonuses.

If you teach at least 45 classes per month (22.5 hours), you receive an extra $1 for every class you teach. For every class you’re on time to and teach according to schedule, you receive an extra $1 as well. So, if you earn all the bonuses (which is not hard to do), you’ll earn $18-22 per hour.

You can also earn extra money when a student signs up after you teach a trial lesson and for accepting class bookings within 24 hours.

Teachers are paid between the 10th and 15th of every month for the previous month’s work. The money is direct deposited into your American bank account.

How can I apply?

To be perfectly honest, VIPKID has a very rigorous application process. But, hey, if it was easy, everyone would do it!

First, you need to create a login using an email address. In making your account, you need to upload your resume. This screens applicants for basic requirements and teaching experience.

Second, you will be invited to schedule either a 30-minute session with a VIPKID recruiter or record a demo lesson. In either case, this is your opportunity to showcase your teaching abilities using material provided in advance. Generally, only those reapplying are asked to record a demo lesson. First-time applicants interview with a recruiter.

Third, you have three days to watch a mountain of training videos regarding the company’s technology, standards and curriculum. Take this part seriously, and don’t try to watch all the videos in one sitting! This is the bulk of your training and how much you’re able to take in will be vital to your success in the mock classes.

Fourth, you have six days to complete two mock classes. The mock classes are similar to the initial interview in that the interviewer (this time an actual VIPKID teacher) acts like a student. You will be asked to practice teach a full-length class. This is hands down the most difficult part of the application process.

Preparing with someone who has successfully passed the mock classes is invaluable. I’m more than happy to guide your through the process. You can email me at ealexiswittman (at) gmail dot com.  

Last, once you’ve passed both mock classes, you’ll sign your contract and upload your documents (passport photo page and proof of a Bachelor’s degree). Prior to opening yourself up to bookings, you will also need upload a profile picture and make a short (very short) introduction video. Take care because this will be your students (and, more importantly, their parents) first impression of you.

You can make money teaching online with VIPKID!
Meet Cindy Mi: VIPKID’s fearless leader! Image Credit: TechCrunch

Once you’re hired

It’s time to start teaching! VIPKID provides videos (yes, more videos) to help familiarize you with the booking process. The company asks that you provide a month’s worth of availability. However, there is plenty of time to make adjustments. Students are able to begin booking classes every Monday for the following week.

VIPKID’s teaching hours are based on Beijing Time. The most popular times, or peak times, are Monday through Friday from 6 – 10 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. You will need to calculate those hours in accordance with your own timezone prior to setting your availability.

Get ready for early mornings! Currently, I teach Monday through Friday from 6 – 10 a.m. (EST). At the moment, I’m not willing to get up any earlier, but if I was, there would be lots of opportunities to teach and make money! Occasionally, I will teach Friday or Saturday night from 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Why I love working for VIPKID

At first, VIPKID sounded too good to be true. I thought Heather had been scammed. However, with no other promising options on the horizon, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

It didn’t take long to recognize VIPKID’s legitimacy. Even basketball legend Kobe Bryant is an investor! With serious backers, the company has grown exponentially.

I went through the hiring process at the end of December 2016. Due to traveling, I didn’t teach my first class until February, but once I did, I was hooked!

VIPKID has been everything I was looking for and more. When I was living in Spain, it helped me supplement my pay as an auxiliar without sacrificing travel time. I was able to save money, and the flexible scheduling allowed me to take three consecutive weeks off to travel!

Now that I’m back in the U.S., I’m teaching 25 hours per week and loving every minute of it. The work is fun and fulfilling! Just today, I taught my 745th class with VIPKID. I feel so fortunate to work for such an innovative company. Furthermore, VIPKID genuinely cares about their teachers. All my questions and concerns are met with timely and thoughtful responses. I don’t just feel like part of a team. I feel like part of a family.

Apply Today

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a flexible, fun way to make money, look no further than VIPKID! Click here for my referral link. Don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment here with any question or concern.

Good luck, and happy teaching!

Are you interested in working for VIPKID? Do you work for another online ESL company? Let me know in the comments below! 

BB Monthly Recap: January and February 2017

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a monthly recap. For posterity’s sake, I’ve decided to make this a January and February recap. It just doesn’t feel right to leave out the first month of the new year.

Things have been a little quiet on the blog as of late, but I’m vowing to change that in March. I’m challenging myself to post every Wednesday. Hold me to it!

Destinations Visited

  • St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Cuenca, Spain
  • Cercedilla, Spain
In my Januray and February recap, I detail the highlights and challenges of life abroad!
Cuenca was my first trip of 2017!

Highlights

Celebrating my birthday in Michigan. As noted in my December recap, I spent the holidays at my parents’ house in Michigan. I was still there for my birthday, which is January 3. I turned 25 years old! For the blog, I considered doing one of those “25 things I’ve learned in 25 years” posts, but to be honest, those are kind of silly. Like, way silly. I’m 25, not 75, so I’m not going to pretend like I know anything about anything. I digress. It was so nice to ring in a quarter century (ew, gross) surrounded with people I love.

My weekend getaway to Cuenca. Finally finally finally, I recapped a trip! In January, I went to Cuenca for the weekend. You can read about my time there here.

Teaching English online. I’m declaring 2017 the year of the side hustle. I’m trying to make a buck, folks! In preparation for next year (more on that later) and to supplement lots of travel this year (more on that later), I’ve picked up a second job. In addition to teaching as an auxiliar de conversación, I’m also teaching English online to Chinese kids. I applied to VIPKID in December and started giving classes earlier this month. So far, so good! I plan on writing more about my experience with the company sometime soon.

My parents coming to Madrid. Recently, I read The Last Girls by Lee Smith. Overall, it was meh. But, one line stuck with me. One of the characters is talking about her children and says, “If our children actually knew how much we love them, they’d simply be immobilized by the force of it.” Since moving to Madrid, I’ve often thought about my parents’ love for me. It can’t be easy to have your child living across an ocean. If they ever let on to how hard it is and asked me to move home, I wouldn’t fault them. I might even do it. However, they never have. Their support for my life abroad has been unconditional. Their visit in mid-February, during which much wine was drunk and many laughs were had, left me with an incredibly grateful heart.

In my Januray and February recap, I detail the highlights and challenges of life abroad!
It was chilly, but I still enjoyed walking around Cuenca all weekend!

Challenges

Weather. I hate to be one of those people that’s like “omg the weather totally affects my mood,” but omg the weather totally affects my mood. The weather in Madrid was kind of shitty for a few weeks, and it was making me kind of shitty. I’ve become so accustomed to the sunshine here that I thought I was going to lose my mind after just a couple cloudy/rainy weeks. Thankfully, the sun is back. Actually, it seems like it might already be spring in Madrid.

Next year. Would you absolutely hate me if I said I love a challenge? Well, I do. In my book, “problems” like what to do and where to go next year are good ones to have. I’ve started making decisions and preparations regarding life after Spain, and while it’s challenging, it’s also extremely exciting. I couldn’t be more excited for the future!

In my Januray and February recap, I detail the highlights and challenges of life abroad!
One of several travel quotes I’ve been reflecting on as I make decisions for the future. Image Credit: Joseph Jayanth

What I Read, Watched and Heard

Read: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It was my book club’s January pick, and when I told my dad I had to read it, he bought me a copy for Christmas. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but apparently, it was one of the best books of 2016. After reading it, I can see why. It was like nothing I’d ever read before. Emotional. Powerful. If you like good books, read this one.

Watched: Vikings (every damn episode).  I hardcore binged on this show, and I’m not ashamed in the least. The first three seasons are on Netflix, and the fourth season finished airing in February. For all my fellow Game of Thrones fans getting the between season shakes, you should check out Vikings. 

Heard: “East Coast Hiding” by Dounia. I’ve had this song on repeat since January. Cool vibes. I’m obsessed. Listen for yourself here.

In my Januray and February recap, I detail the highlights and challenges of life abroad!
In January, my book club met to discuss Homegoing.

Coming Up in March 2017

March looks to be a busy month. This weekend, I have friends coming to visit, and they’ll be here until next Saturday. I can’t wait to show them around Madrid! On March 18, I’m flying to Tenerife for four days–also with friends. I’ve wanted to visit the Canary Islands for quite awhile. I’m excited for some tropical weather and to see Spain’s highest peak: Mt. Teide. If you’ve been to Tenerife, please pass along your recommendations!

 

What have you got coming up in March? Any travel plans?

Weekend Escape: What to Do in Cuenca

Incredible views, delicious food and, of course, hanging houses: Cuenca proved an ideal weekend getaway from Madrid. It’s a place I’ve been wanting to visit for quite some time now, and I’m so glad I finally got around to it! If you need a break from the city, here are my recommendations for what to do in Cuenca.

Here are some great tips and recommendations for what to do in Cuenca!

Image Credit: Jocey Kinghorn (Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette)

How to get to Cuenca

My first trip of 2017 almost got off to a bad start. I nearly missed the bus! My morning was a little too tranquila, and I left the house 15 minutes later than I had planned. Fortunately, I made it just in time. In fact, I wasn’t even the last passenger to board the bus. That’s Spain for you!

Details: The bus leaves from Madrid’s Estación Sur and takes approximately two and a half hours. The price of a roundtrip ticket is 27,60 euros. For a faster but more costly option, you can take the high-speed AVE train from Madrid’s Atocha station. The journey takes 55 minutes and costs between 25 and 28 euros each way. 

Here are some great tips and recommendations for what to do in Cuenca!
The view from the Puente de San Pablo is incredible!

Where to stay in Cuenca

I left Madrid at noon and arrived in Cuenca around 2:30 p.m. From the bus station, it took me a little less than 15 minutes to walk to Hostal Canovas (Calle Fray Luis de León, 38). The woman working reception was very helpful and provided me with a map of the city.

Hostal Canovas is located very close to the old city center, and since Cuenca is small, you can walk everywhere. The double room with a private bathroom cost 50 euros for one night. The room was very clean and quiet. Overall, I thought Hostal Canovas was a great value. My only complaint is how hot the room was at night. If you’re visiting in winter, bring lightweight pajamas!

Cuenca as a day trip: You can definitely do Cuenca as a day trip from Madrid, especially if you take the high-speed AVE train. However, if you have some extra time, you should consider spending the night. This medieval city only gets more beautiful after the sun goes down. 

Here are some great tips and recommendations for what to do in Cuenca!
I loved Cuenca’s colorful Plaza Mayor!

Where to eat in Cuenca

Saturday afternoon, I took advantage of the menú del día at Posada San Julián (Calle Torres, 11) and ate garbanzos with callos (tripe) and pork ribs for 11 euros. The ribs were super fatty, but I was starving and didn’t really care.

Saturday night, I made reservations for dinner at El Secreto (Calle Alfonso VIII, 81). I chose El Secreto from Trip Advisor’s list of top ten restaurants in Cuenca. The food was delicious (yum yum chuletillas de cordero), but as much as it pains me to say this, the service was terrible. Probably the worst I’ve had in Spain to date, which is saying a lot.

Sunday morning, I had breakfast at a cute cafe called La Blondie. I couldn’t find an address for it online, but it’s just around the corner for Hostal Canovas. My glass of fresh squeezed orange juice was garnished with a slice of orange. Way to go the extra mile, random cafe!

If you don’t want to wait: On Saturday and Sunday, restaurants are packed with families enjoying long leisurely meals. If at all possible, I suggest calling ahead and making a reservation. Some restaurants even allow you to do so online.     

Where to drink in Cuenca

After watching the sunset, I checked out a few bars around Plaza Mayor, including Las Huellas de los Elefantes (Calle Severo Cataline, 11). If you’re looking for a reasonably priced cocktail in Cuenca, check this place out!

Here are some great tips and recommendations for what to do in Cuenca!
I preferred Cuenca’s street art over its Museum of Abstract Art.

What to do in Cuenca

When you visit Cuenca, you should pack some good walking shoes because exploring this city means climbing lots of hills. My favorite climb was up to the Puente de San Pablo. The view was incredible!

If you’re researching what to do in Cuenca, I’m sure you already know about Las Casas Colgantes (the Hanging Houses). The best place to see the houses, which are built right into the cliff, is the Puente de San Pablo. If you want to see inside one of the houses, visit the Museum of Abstract Art. Admission is free!

Here are some great tips and recommendations for what to do in Cuenca!
It was chilly, but I still enjoyed walking around Cuenca all weekend!

 

Have you ever visited Cuenca, Spain? What do you look for in a weekend getaway? Let me know in the comments below!