10 Online Teaching Tips for New VIPKid Teachers
Starting out as a new VIPKid teacher can feel a little bit like baptism by fire. Whether you’ve had years of experience working online or at a brick and mortar school, or you’re just starting out in the teaching world, there’s a lot to learn at this company. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused, or anywhere in between – just know it gets easier and there’s plenty of resources out there to help you master your craft. To give you a head start, we’ve rounded up a list of online teaching tips for new VIPKid teachers with some advice from the experts who have walked in your shoes.
1. Fight to fill up your schedule.
There are a ton of perks to working as an online teacher, but one of the challenges can be keeping your schedule filled. As a new teacher, it’s extremely important to stay positive and motivated as you build up your student base and start booking students on a regular basis.
If you do find it difficult to book as many classes as you’d like, don’t panic. There are several simple steps you can take to increase your VIPKid Bookings, from creating a killer VIPKid profile to maximizing your visibility on the app. If you’re on the struggle bus, check out our definitive guide to getting more VIPKid bookings.
2. Work for multiple schools.
ViPKid is by far one of the most popular online schools, but it’s a great idea to diversify and work for more than one company, according to teacher Ben Norrod.
“Just be sure to keep a consistent schedule and watch out for the dreaded double bookings landmine. I used Excel to create a calendar similar to the bookings page to keep track with each slot highlighted with the company color to show who goes where and when,” Ben said. “Remember, this is your business. Treat it like one. Teacher No Shows and Teacher IT’s are going to happen. You ARE going to get negative feedback from parents. You ARE going to sleep too late. You ARE going to get frustrated. Diversify, and mostly importantly, oversee YOU. When you are teaching, DO YOU… YOU are YOU… Be sincere and genuine with your students and your students will love you for it. Happy Teaching!”
If you’re interested in teaching for other online schools, check out:
3. Create an awesome classroom.
Just because you’re teaching online doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun and inviting classroom. In fact, it’s super important to create a space that not only represents you and what you love about teaching, but captivates your students.
Note: parents are watching on the other side of your screen, so it’s always a bonus if they can see how much effort you’ve put into your workspace. From lighting to magnetic boards to storage for your props, there’s so much to consider. Here’s a few pro tips on how to create an awesome online classroom (without breaking the bank).
4. Reach out to other teachers in your area.
Just because you start working from home doesn’t mean you won’t find a community of teachers just like you. Teacher Valerie CZ says the one thing she wishes she would have done sooner after starting to teach online was reach out to other online teachers in her area.
“It was so nice to just sit (six feet apart) and talk (through masks) about our experiences and share ideas,” she said. “This is how I found FeedbackPanda and I was so thankful because feedback was taking me forever! I really want to give constructive, personal, encouraging feedback but the content was taking up my time. FeedbackPanda gives me the ability to focus my time on that personalization. It also gives me confidence because now that I feel like my feedback is how I want it to be, I have started writing some of my own templates.”
5. Write better feedback.
So, you’ve taught your first day of classes with VIPKid – now what? Before you go offline for a celebratory happy hour, you’ll need to write your student feedback. This is where you’ll tell parents all about how your class went, what the student did well, and what they can improve on. And while it’s not the hardest part of the job, it can be super time consuming when you factor in each and every class you taught in a day.
Plus, it can feel super repetitive and tedious to have to write unique things for every student (no, you can’t write “Great job today, Bao Bao!” for every class). To help save you a ton of time and effort, here’s a peek at how to use FeedbackPanda for VIPKid.
6. Be authentic with your students.
Teacher Lisa Burns-Norfleet encourages new teachers to be open, honest, and authentic with students, even if that feels difficult through a screen.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my experience as a teacher of color has not always been sunshine and light,” she said. “There have been students who were not happy to see a brown face on the screen to teach them. This job is not only an opportunity for me to improve my financial situation, but it is also a platform for me to help expand the cultural horizons of my students. I share with them the heartaches and triumphs of African-Americans all in the context of the VIPKid lessons. I offer extension to the curriculum to deepen their understanding of what the American experience is for people of color.”
She continued, “My supportive and friendly teaching style has earned me students who have taken nearly 200 classes with me! Feedback Panda helps me keep track of all our classes. I love my students and they love me. I am authentic with them. I allow them to ask questions that they may not be allowed to ask in school. And I listen when they just need a few minutes to talk to me as a friend. I am so grateful to be invited into my students’ homes time and time again to become a trusted and beloved teacher.”
7. Teach trial classes.
As a new VIPKid teacher, you’ll want to clear your schedule to teach trial classes. These are free courses available to students who haven’t signed up for VIPKid yet. And like everything else, first impressions are key, so be sure to prepare for the trial class beforehand and put your best foot forward. Who knows, you could be the reason they end up signing up for VIPKid and they could end up being one of your regulars!
And if that sounds intimidating, we’ve got a list of tips to help you survive all of VIPKid’s trial classes.
8. Enjoy working from home, but find a healthy balance.
“Working from home affords me the opportunity to see my children more as well as feel more secure during this global pandemic,” teacher Grace Yeager said. “It has given me a wonderful glimpse into a beautifully rich culture, one that I have absolutely enjoyed interacting with and learning about. In the beginning there is a huge learning curve. It takes time to find your footing and what teaching style works for you. I found that I enjoy using digital tools and this has helped me find a following. It is also extremely important that you find a balance, whether it’s standing to teach, exercise, reading, changing eating habits…It’s important to do something for yourself otherwise you will burn out. I teach 13 classes a day 6 days a week and doing something for myself is critical for staying sane.”
9. Check VIPKid Internet Speed Requirements.
We’ve all been there – on a Zoom call or Google Hangout where your audio or video (or both) start to go haywire. Having tech issues is never fun, but it’s especially painful when you’re mid-class and lose connection with your student. To make sure everything goes smoothly on your end, you’ll want to make sure your device meets VIPKid’s internet speed recommendation of ≥ 25 Mb/s.
To check your internet speed, you can go into the VIPKid app, navigate to the “Account” tab and click “Settings.” Then, select “Network Diagnostics,” which prompts the app to check your internet speed and tell you if it is stable or not.
10. Don’t buy into imposter syndrome.
As a new teacher, you may feel overwhelmed and ill equipped to start your online teaching journey. When those insecurities start to creep up, teacher Kenneisha Williams encourages teachers to remain confident in your abilities.
“The main difficulty I encountered was impostor syndrome,” teacher Kenneisha said. “I was worried that parents would not choose me as a teacher because I don’t carry any teacher certifications. My undergrad and masters have absolutely nothing to do with education. I thought I wouldn’t be creative enough to engage the student. I put my nerves aside and gave online teaching my best effort. Within my first month as an online teacher, I earned my first regular teacher request. Or, as the student and parent drew on their cute poster, ‘Will you be our forever teacher?’ That was 2 years ago; I am still teaching that same student and the family is like my extended family.”