How to Work Short Notice with VIPKid

Find out how you can maximize your availability and make more money!

In January of 2019, I decided to experiment with a new way of maximizing my availability with VIPKid by opening a large number of Short Notice (SN) slots. This was originally suggested by Amanda List in her Instagram story (@onlineteachingcommunitymentor) last year. She started opening slots within 24 hours of the class time, instead of opening them weeks in advance. I had not felt confident enough to open all short notice until this year. With the help of FeedbackPanda, the Facebook Google Slides Group, and improvements in my own teaching, I too was on the path to becoming a more “independent” independent contractor. 

This type of scheduling might not work for everyone, and it certainly has its drawbacks, but I highly recommend that all teachers try this at least for a short stint when they become more established. Here are some of the pros and cons of leaving your schedule closed until 24 hours before class time.

Open your slots within 24 hours of the start time to receive the Short Notice bonus.

What is Short Notice?

Short Notice allows you to mark a slot to be booked within 24 hours of the class time. You can designate any slot as SN, even if you’ve opened the slot far in advance. If the slot doesn’t book in advance, it can be grabbed up until an hour before the class time. 

The only way your finished class is actually marked as Short Notice is when the student books it within 24 hours. In other words, if you opened a slot one week in advance and it was booked more than 24 hours before class time, the finished class wouldn’t be marked as SN in the system, even if you had designated it as such. 

Short Notice Positives

  • You get paid two dollars more for each SN class. Therefore, you will give yourself an automatic $4.00/hour raise if you work a substantial number of SN. This is a huge raise–more than what most regular employees would earn in several years of working for a company. 
  • A new batch of students automatically comes with SN slots. You’ll meet and make new friends, as well as teach a lot of new material. This helps with keeping your teaching game fresh and your mind alert! Although it’s counterintuitive, being complacent with regular students and the same routine can actually hasten burn-out because of boredom and fatigue. 
  • You will take more control of your schedule. When you’re booking two weeks in advance, you are ultimately held responsible for all slots that are booked. Most of us entered in these contracts because we wanted more flexibility. However, when we’ve mistakenly booked slots that we can’t commit to, we lose flexibility. Short Notice is a way to relieve yourself of this two-week commitment. You can open your slots the night before you want to work. This is literally the way to work only when you want to!
This is how your schedule can look at some point! These finished Short Notice classes were taught on the weekend.

Short Notice Negatives

  • SN slots aren’t guaranteed to fill. You may have more of a chance of booking slots well in advance, especially if you don’t have a lot of followers (less than 100) and you haven’t been with VIPKid for more than two contracts. Many parents want teachers they can count on to have a steady schedule. They want to have their children’s schedules set for the next two weeks. You could lose these parents as prospects, thus decreasing the pool of students who will book you. 
  • We all have a different learning curve with online teaching. I would say that I wasn’t truly comfortable with it until my 18th month. Teaching on short notice requires you to be very sure of yourself. I only began opening SN slots when I was at ease with my improvisation skills. I know the lessons and the layouts, so I can easily jump into a class without previewing. SN classes are exciting, but they can be intimidating too. 
  • One of the most distressing negatives is losing some regulars. As you transition into this new schedule, you’ll find that some students you’ve built relationships won’t be able to book you any longer. Meeting new students is inevitable with SN! Ask yourself if this is something you’re comfortable with.

Best Strategies

  • To make sure you aren’t penalized for an absence, close out those SN slots no less than thirty minutes before. Set your alarm in enough time to check your schedule. If the SN slots didn’t book, you can either wake up and wait for them to possibly book, or you can close them out and go back to sleep. Whatever you choose, don’t go back to sleep without closing out SN slots first!
  • If you are really determined to see those SN slots fill, it’s best to open them the night before and then set your alarm before the first one. Even if they don’t book when you wake up, there is a high probability they will fill over the course of a few hours. For example, on Saturdays and Sundays, I open SN from midnight to 9:30 a.m. When I wake up before midnight, some slots are usually still unbooked. Midnight to 2 a.m. will have filled, but some of the later ones, especially from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., will have not. As I wait out the early morning hours, the rest of the slots will book one by one. Some have booked an hour or less before start time, even though this is not supposed to happen. Again, to avoid teacher absences, close out any slots when you don’t want to wait any longer. 
  • Accept Priority Booking requests from regulars if you’re worried about keeping a full schedule. Regular students are our bread and butter! They’ve shown us loyalty, so the least we can do is show them loyalty too. I accept a lot of Priority Bookings in conjunction with my SN slots. Of course, I want to make $4.00 more per hour, but I also want to maintain good relations with my clientele. In the long run, I believe that loyalty to students of my choosing will pay off. 
If you work 50 SN classes in one month, that equals $100 extra! More money to either save or spend as you please…💰💰💰

Don’t Take the Plunge!

Transition slowly into Short Notice. The worst thing you can do is to take the plunge into SN, only to come up empty-handed. It was a month-long process for me. I first had to wean off a lot of my regular students. I didn’t open any slots, but I still accepted a large number of Priority Bookings. As the weeks went by, I accepted fewer Priority Bookings. I was also gauging if those SN slots would book. Thankfully, they did! Now, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to having weekly “Frenzies”! I very much enjoy the new students I’ve gotten to meet. I didn’t realize how stagnant I had become until I opened SN. I like to think that the regular students whom I don’t see as often have had a chance to grow and improve with other teachers. I know without a doubt that I have improved as a teacher.

2019-07-26T06:57:52+00:00

About the Author:

Hi there, fellow ESL teachers! I love traveling far and wide, playing piano, listening to Finnish metal, reading books from every genre, Netflix bingeing, cooking, rescuing animals, watching the stock market, linguistics, studying German, and renovating my old cabin-style home! One of my goals is to visit at least 25% of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, but in the meantime, I live in Florida with Thisbe the Dog and Pete the Cat. If you'd like to ask me questions about any of my articles, please feel free to follow me or contact me on Instagram @ESLwithGabrielle.