It has been a couple of weeks since the school year started, and it feels so completely strange for me! I’m staying at home to take care of the boys this year, so I watch every day while my husband leaves for work.
Last year around October, I was pregnant, M was 1, and I was sick of teaching. Every day when I dropped him off at daycare, my heart ached not able to hang out with him during the day. The drive into town was long and exhausting, and the drive back home was even worse. We made it home just in time for me to make something for dinner and crash into bed.
I knew something needed to change, so I started looking into ways to work from home as a mom.
A friend of someone on my mom’s facebook group was teaching with VIPKid and sent me a referral.
I quickly did the math and realized I really only needed to work part time to make this happen. (Since daycare is so ridiculously expensive, I was going to be spending over 50% of my teaching salary on daycare if I kept teaching.)
So I applied, was hired, and started teaching!
If you’re wondering how to work from home as a mom and you have experience with children, keep reading!
VIPKid: What you need to know
VIPKid is a company that hires teachers who are native North American English speakers (as in, not British English) to teach children in Asia, primarily China.
Classes last 25 minutes, and all of the material is provided for you, so there is no lesson planning! Hurrah!
When they hire teachers, they do have some requirements, though not too strict. They look for people with:
- eligibility to work in the US or Canada
- a bachelor degree
- 2 years or more working with children: teaching, nannying/babysitting, daycare, homeschooling, tutoring, volunteering
Let’s say you have all those things! Yay! Now what?
So the teachers are considered independent contractors with contracts that last 6 months. Sometimes it can take a while to build up a clientele. Thankfully, because I knew this ahead of time, I started teaching about 10 months before I knew I wanted to be making a regular income with this job. First I only taught a few classes a week, and I worked more and more until my “maternity leave”.
The nice thing is that you can work how much or how little works for your lifestyle. You set your own schedule 2 weeks in advance, students book you, and you can open or close slots as you see fit.
When my “maternity leave” rolled around, I sent the company a ticket (our communication form) and didn’t open any slots. That was it!
You can make up to $22 an hour base pay. Base pay is usually around $8 per class, with bonuses for timely classes (you were on time to class and taught the full 25 minutes), and feedback bonus, each $1 per class. You only get the second bonus if you have taught 45+ classes that month. That means per 30 minutes, you would make $10, which is a pretty reasonable rate.
If you teach a short notice class (scheduled within 24 hours of the class’s start time) you get an additional $2 per class.
Since I was hired, they’ve changed a few things. But I’ll give you a quick rundown of what to expect.
First is the application, which is pretty straight-forward. Make sure you have those things I listed above.
Second I had an interview. The interview was, again, pretty straight-forward. I had to prepare 10 minutes of teaching from a set of slides they gave me and we discussed my experience. Since I’m a teacher, I had no problem. The woman who conducted my interview was in Indiana, so we talked about the Midwest a little.
Finally, I had my official mock lesson. After I passed the first interview, in which I had to teach, I had to teach again! I had another short lesson to prepare. My interviewer pretended to be a 5 year old learning English! This time, my interviewer was actually interviewing me from the Beijing airport!
Things You Need
In order to work from home with VIPKid, there are some things that they require, and others that are a huge help.
What they require:
- internet connection
- TPR (Total Physical Response–see below)
- props/realia & rewards
- an interesting and educational background
I watched a ton of videos by Teacher Nancy when I got started! Hopefully this explains TPR pretty well. It is essential to our classrooms.
You can also use props, but the number of props or how much you use them is totally up to you. We try to keep things interesting for the students with rewards… some teachers have cool toys, others play games… it’s up to you!
For your background, you can put up anything that is going to look interesting for children ages 5-9. For your interview, just borrow a picture from your child’s room! Then once you get hired you can put more thought into it 😉
There are more things that help, but aren’t as necessary:
- a computer and ethernet connection (you can teach from an iPad, but it’s not as reliable)
- cheap lights or a selfie light to make sure there aren’t weird shadows
- webcam for better quality video
My VIPKid Setup
Here’s what my classroom looks like!
And here’s what I see (computer, camera, lighting):
Review of Teaching with VIPKid
Almost a year ago, I was able to figure out how to work from home as a mom, and now that it’s a reality, I LOVE it! VIPKid is both rewarding and fun! I don’t have any horror stories to tell. Yes, the hours are weird (there are no classes between 8am and 6:30pm every day, so you either teach in the early morning or at night. (Some crazy teachers put themselves on the night shift and teach all night long!)
The company responds quickly to my tickets, the Firemen (the IT Support in the classroom) have always been prompt and friendly, and I get paid like clockwork.
I have regular students who I see every week or so, sometimes every few days! You get to develop a rapport with them.
This job allowed me the flexibility to stay at home with my boys this year, so they’ve given me the most important opportunity I could have ever received!
So if you’re trying to figure out how to work from home as a mom, I hope you check this out! It’s a great opportunity!
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