So, you want to make money while traveling? Well, do I have good news for you!
When Josh mentioned to me that he wanted to start exploring the world more often, I knew changes were headed our way. Although his job allows him to go on holiday often, my job as a High School teacher would make traveling a bit harder.
I began my search for an online job that didn’t seem sketchy; to my surprise, there were even more crooks online than I ever wanted to know. In my research I found many high paying jobs that when looking up their website or CEO wouldn’t come up. Almost as if the company itself was a scam and didn’t exist. Yeah, do your research when wanting to make money while traveling. Things won’t just appear.
OR maybe they will?
I found VIPKID and, after extensive research, saw that it was a real thing! Now that I’ve been in the game for a few months and been paid, I can highly recommend it for you!
What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online teaching service for teachers in Canada and the USA and it’s perfect for those who want to make money while traveling. RELAX! You don’t have to have a teaching certificate to qualify, but we can talk about qualifications in a little. More on the company: VIPKID is an opportunity to teach English to a Chinese student in a one-on-one setting; their ages range from 4-12, but I have gotten ages as young as 2 and as old as 14. If you’ve already looked them up then you know they advertise their pay as $22/hour. Each class you teach is 25 minutes, and your base pay will be between $7-$9, plus a few bonuses they throw in per class (normally $2 extra).
You set your own hours, which means you decide whether you will be teaching part time or full time. Personally, I teach part time during the school year and full time during the summer. In the VIPKID portal, you open your available slot times and parents will book you. The lesson plans are already selected, so just give them a look before your class, and you’re set to teach!
I’m sure you’ve seen the VIPKID teachers who are overly energetic and excited and hyper and maybe on a drug or two. Well, before you judge them, know that everyone teaches differently and you don’t have to match their energy. Do you, boo.
The students are in different levels, which are similar to grades. Some students are very advanced and are in level 6. Others are in level 1 and hardly know any English. I teach levels 2-6 and the ages are all over the place. I’ve had 12 year olds in level 2 and 7 year olds in level 6. They are placed based on their knowledge of the language and as they complete courses, they are promoted to new levels. If you don’t think you can teach a certain level, due to your lack or excess enthusiasm, you may want to mention this in your interview. A level 2 class and a level 6 class can look very different.
We do work off of Beijing time, which, for me over on the East coast, means a 12 hour difference. I primarily teach 7am-10am EST and 9pm-11pm EST. I’ve met some teachers in VIPKID teacher Facebook groups who stay up all night teaching – that’s just not for me! You do whatever you think fits with your schedule.
First, you need to see if you qualify to be a VIPKID teacher!
Do I qualify to teach?
The requirements are below:
- You must be from North America.
- Bachelor’s degree in ANYTHING. (Don’t lie; you’re going to have to show your certificate in upcoming steps)
- ANY teaching experience (teacher, coach, bible class leader, homeschooling – THINK! Surely, you have teaching experience)
- Access to internet and a computer (not a tablet or phone!), along with a good computer camera (or you can buy one) and headset (I use Logitech USB Headset H390 with Noise Cancelling Mic and am not associated with Amazon).
Ok, I want to apply!
Hold on there, sparky. Oh, who am I to stop you?! You can apply to VIPKID here.
I was so nervous about the application process when I started in early 2018. I hadn’t had an interview in such a long time, and I was really feeling the pressure of finding a job to make money while traveling.
There are a few steps after you complete the application.
There are two options for you. The first is to record your interview and send it in to a team of reviewers. The second, and what I think is the better option, is to schedule an interview and speak with a real person. Think about it, I’d feel more comfortable having someone to answer all my questions and be present with me in the interview.
SIDE BAR: The company’s color is orange. There used to be a time when you could only teach classes in an orange shirt; those days are gone. BUT I suggest you do wear the orange top to show your support of the company.
When I did my first interview, it was with a woman who was in China; let’s call her Lisa. Lisa introduced herself and told me she’d be pretending to be a 5 year old. Because of my theatre background, I understood this as role playing and was super excited about it. I started the lesson and Lisa told me when to stop. I must have done well, because Lisa followed up with, “How much do you want to get paid?” I knew the range was $7-$9, so I told her that with my experience, I wanted the $9. I figured I might as well aim high since this would all be to make money while traveling. AND TRAVELING IS EXPENSIVE. She told me that the higher the base pay, the harder I’d be judged in the next steps of my application. We threw numbers back and forth until a base pay was chosen, and then I was on my way to the next step.
There is a lot of information when you start this application process, so it only makes sense that there’d be a quiz to make sure you’re reading and really paying attention. If you want to get this job and make money while traveling, I suggest you have two browsers open: one page has you quiz questions and the other page has the content. Although you can take this quiz as many times as you want or until you pass, I personally like to do things just once.
Mock Class Time!
The third portion of your application process is what everyone finds to be the most difficult. Let me tell you something. I found VIPKID at 5pm and by 10pm that same night, I was in my interview. The next day I was starting my mock class. All that to say, you don’t need a month or even a weekend to prepare for your mock class. It’s easy if you’re prepared. I watched and re-watched Nancy Taylor on YouTube. We’ve spoken a few times. She’s not a travel blogger who wants to make money while traveling. She’s just a mom who has to pay bills. I think of her as my Guru.
After your interview or quiz, you will be given a set of slides to teach for your mock class. Review these slides and make sure you understand what to teach in each slide. The person who interviews you (AKA acts like the student during your mock class) is called your VIPKID Mock Class Mentor. My mentor, Tiwanna, from Atlanta but currently residing in China, was so pleasant; we’re facebook friends now. She’s not wanting to make money while traveling, either. She’s another mom who has a passion for education. She told me when to start and stop teaching. She asked me what I thought I had done well and what I could improve on. She encouraged me and made me feel like I was doing a great job. Listen, your mock class mentor is also a VIPKID teacher; they want to see you succeed. Don’t sweat it. You’ll be fine. Seriously.
What am I being graded on during my mock class?
- TPR & Demonstration: Speak with your hands! Put yourself in the child’s shoes. They know little to no English and so, TPR (total physical response) will assist them in understanding what you are asking of them.
- Level Appropriate Output: Are your speed, word choice, sentence length appropriate for the student’s you are teaching. Don’t speak to a 2 year old the way you would to a teenager.
- Attitude: Be happy to be there.
- Supplementary Tools: Props. Props. Props. You don’t need a million props, but I think I used around 3-5 props. Because I had little time to prepare, I drew or printed out a ton of pictures and called them my props. To this day, I have not spent any money on VIPKID… oh wait, except for my headset.
- Mastery of English: Correct the student when they mispronounce a word. Be attentive to the way you speak. Don’t communicate like Tarzan.
- Positive Correction: Your mock class mentor is ready to mispronounce words and maybe even distract you with side conversations, as they pretend to be your student. Kindly correct their speech and help redirect them back to the lesson.
- Repetition: Think about it. We learn from repetition so make sure your student repeats the words at least 3x.
- Full Sentences: You and your student should be speaking in full sentences. Again, Tarzan speech is no welcomed here.
To make money while traveling and become a VIPKID teacher, make sure you are engaging with your student in the beginning of the lesson by greeting them. “Hello, my name is Teacher Jenny. What’s your name?” “How old are you?” When you’re ready to begin the lesson, you can ask them: “Are you ready?” These are some of the great tools I learned from the amazing humans on YouTube.
Don’t forget to make sure your computer, camera, headset, and lighting are all on your team, too. Wouldn’t want a malfunction mid-interview. I’d suggest being ready about 30 minutes before the mock class. I was shaking as my mentor entered the classroom (similar to Skype video chat). Once she said her name, I immediately felt a sigh of relief! Could this be real? Could I actually make money while traveling?
The results are in. Yes. You can make money while traveling as a VIPKID teacher. Just look at some of our adventures with the help of VIPKID!
I know you’re going to do great! Take a deep breath, be yourself and let me know how it goes! If you’re ready to start preparing for what happens after your mock class, click here!