How much money I make with VIPKID
The ‘Pros’ of Tutoring Online
Working for VIPKID has many positives. Lets check them out below.
1. PayThe VIPKID pay is not too bad. It pays well over minimum wage, and can be a pretty consistent form of income.When I drove for Uber I felt like the cost of operating (i.e. maintenance, gas, & insurance) were eating into my actual profit. Assuming you already have a degree, most people already have most of the materials to teach a VIPKID class in their home. (Read more about the requirements below).You can choose to be paid monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly, and I have never received a late payment. I recently changed my payment schedule to weekly. I don’t understand why anyone would choose to be paid any other way than weekly, but to each his (or her) own.
2. ConvenienceOther gig economy jobs are not very convenient. You’ll need to have a car, a house, or both before you can start making money. VIPKID does have requirements but the ‘gig’ is pretty simple and straight forward. Generally, all you need is a quiet room, a solid internet connection, a laptop (with a webcam) , and a solid colored shirt. This makes VIPKID much more convenient than other GIG economy jobs.Most days I roll out of bed, sh*%, shower, and shave, then hop in front of the computer. Many expats use tutoring online as an opportunity to sustain an income while traveling because of the flexibility and convenience.
3. ScheduleOne of the beautiful things about the ‘Gig Economy’ is that you have the ability to create your own schedule. You don’t “have” to go to work if you don’t want to. You have control over how long you work and what time (within the company operating hours of course). So, scheduling around major events or holidays has been no problem for me.
4. RewardingAlthough I don’t think teaching online can be compared to teaching in a traditional classroom (I’ve never taught in the classroom, so feel free to enlighten me in the comments below), it is damn rewarding to watch a kid progress in front of you.
Sometimes I will have a kid that only ‘parrots’ me for 20 classes. Then one day, he will surprise me with a something that resembles a full sentence. I never thought I would be so happy to hear a kid say “Teacher, I eat apple”. A moment like this can give me a boost of energy for about a week…..then it happens again.
5. The Good StudentsMost of the students are hard workers and are truly interested in learning English. Hell, some of the older students are just as interested (maybe more)in learning more about you and your culture.I had a kid ask me what the street value was for a pair of Air Jordans. This was after we had a debate about who was the best player in the NBA.The younger kids are hilarious and the older students just amaze me by how smart they are.Many students are fluent in English and their parents just need this class to nail down the accent. Other students couldn’t tell the difference between the ‘number 1’ and the ‘letter A’.
I will have to say that the most fun and exciting classes are with the lower level students. With these students, you have to get creative with your approach to teaching and sometimes I revert to the 80/20 principle (80% Play & 20% Learning).
The ‘Cons’ of Tutoring Online
Tutoring online also has few cons. Check them out below.
1. No ProgressionWorking for VIPKID means that you are a contracted employee. Unfortunately, it seems like you are limited in your progression (as far as your earning potential). The company clearly has a maximum wage that they payout to the teachers ($11/class).
I know that I’m new to the game, but I’m curious to see what people do once they hit that ceiling. Do they start a blog and increase revenue with teacher referrals.
The only alternative seems to be spend more time teaching, which doesn’t seem realistic long term.
2. BookingsOne of the cons about VIPKID is that it takes several weeks to develop a steady stream of consistent bookings. It took me about six weeks to develop a consistent number of bookings. As you develop a student following the number of bookings should increase drastically.
3. ScheduleIf anyone is familiar with basic geography, then they know that China is literally on the other side of the world. Therefore (depending on the time of year) they are about 12 hours ahead of our (U.S.) Eastern timezone. That means 6 PM in China, is 6 AM in the U.S. Depending on your schedule and location, this can be a huge pain in the A%#.
4. Can Seem Unorganized at TimesLike many of these Unicorn startups, a lot of the processes and materials can seem a bit unorganized and thrown together. Some of the PowerPoint slides seem like they are not thought through and some of the policies don’t seem to be in support of the teachers. I will say, for the year that I’ve been working with the company I have seen drastic improvements on a lot of these items, but they still get on my nerves.
5. The Occasional ‘Naughty’ Student
There is always a bad apple. There is always a student that you dread teaching, or that you wish would not book you anymore. I currently have two of those. They continue to book me, but their behavior and attitude towards the class shows that they really don’t care about it AT ALL. They are clearly wasting their parents money.These aren’t just your average overactive 5 year olds. These are the students that will purposely sit out of view of the camera for the entire class, or constantly flip between screens (Gaming must be a big deal in China). Having one of these students can really drain you for the remainder of your other classes.
6. The Occasional ParentTeachers don’t interact much with the parents of students, but when we do it can go bad. There are two types of parents in the online teaching world. The parents, or grandparents, that do not care what the kid is doing, and the parents that can’t let little Johnny say the wrong word. The worst type has to be the latter. I have kids that cannot function if their parents are in the room. They are always looking to them for the correct answer. It seems like I’m teaching the adult more than the child.
7. PAYING TAXESAs a contractor, your federal and state taxes are not automatically deducted from your paycheck. Therefore, it is your responsibility to save a little from each check to pay good ole Uncle Sam at the end of the year. This year, I’ve been saving about 20%, but I plan on increasing that number to 30% within the next month.At first, I struggled with not spending this money, but now its almost automatic and I forget that I even have it. It just hurts a little to see how much we actually pay in taxes every year.
What does it take to become a VIPKID teacher?The minimum requirements to become a VIPKID teacher can be found below. If you have more questions feel free to comment at the bottom of this post or shoot me an email.
- Must be a current resident of the United States (US) or Canada
- Any “formal” or “informal” teaching experience such as mentoring, tutoring, coaching, or alternative education
- Have a Bachelor’s degree in any field ( ‘underwater basket weaving’ counts too)
- Have a working desktop or laptop with high-speed internet that can handle quality video and audio