As a former classroom teacher, current online English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, and a full time mom to two little ones; I enjoy sharing with other parents how teaching online ESL has provided me with the perfect work/life balance. I get the opportunity to enjoy spending my days with both of my kids while also getting to spend my mornings with some of the sweetest students I have ever met. I get to share my love of teaching with the other side of the world, while also making sure my family’s needs are my priority.
When I found VIPKID last summer, I had already taken a year off of teaching to stay home with my son. I was also pregnant with my daughter, and desperate to be able to find something that would continue to allow me to be the mom that got to be completely involved in their early years of life. Going back to a brick and mortar school was not going to give me that. VIPKID sounded like a dream come true. Filling out the application was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. I have never looked forward to going to a job in the ways I look forward to logging into my teacher’s portal each morning.
I will be completely honest; ESL is not something I had ever previously considered. I thought it would be difficult and the thought of working with people who didn’t understand what I was saying scared me. So besides the English Language Learners I’d had in the schools I had previously worked in, I didn’t have much experience in the ESL department. After getting the hang of things, I love this way more than regular classroom teaching, and wish I would have pursued ESL sooner!
If you are like me and love teaching children, but also love being able to spend time with your kids while they’re little, VIPKID is a great fit! Here are some of the many benefits I have from working at VIPKID while parenting:
-Hours: I have complete control over my schedule. Obviously we are working on China time, so my schedule does have to somewhat reflect the times in China. VIPKID offers peak times, which are the busiest times. These times are 6-10PM Monday through Friday and 9AM-10PM Saturday and Sunday Beijing time. I am in Washington State, so the hours are insanely early (2-6AM and 5PM-6AM), but I also get to work when my kids are sleeping and have my full focus on my job during these early hours. I don’t work every day, but I do keep my schedule in these peak times. I work a minimum of 8 hours a week, and build on that depending on how busy my family is that week. This is key for me. There are not many jobs out there where you can completely control your hours based on your personal life. In the first few months of working at VIPKID, I was out of town a lot, and had a death in my family. I was lucky to have a job that could be scheduled around my life. I did not have to request days off and wait for it to be approved before planning my trips. I simply just didn’t work those days. I also only teach when my husband is home, so if emergencies do happen in the night (cue screaming toddler), he is there to help.
-Planning: Minimal! VIPKID has everything planned for you and the lessons are in a PowerPoint type format. When I first started I did spend a good 15 minutes looking over the lesson for a 25-minute class. The good news is you get the hang of the format and lessons quickly, so you spend less time planning for lessons after the first month or two. No more weekends stuck at school, no big events to get ready for, and no worrying about how to meet Common Core Standards. VIPKID takes the planning work out of teaching, which allows me more time to spend with my family.
Props: When you’re teaching children who have minimal English skills, props are your best friend! VIPKID only requires a white board and a puppet, but I personally enjoy having extra props to help students understand vocabulary. If you are a parent, you probably have all of the props you need sitting in your toy box. I have used stuffed animals, cars, airplanes, food, puppets, etc. to enhance my lessons. The amount of money I have spent on props is $0, all thanks to the overfilled box of toys that hangs out in our living room.
-Pay: As someone who spent hours looking for at home job opportunities, VIPKID does a great job making sure employees are compensated for their work. Depending on experience, their base pay is $7-9 a class! Classes are between 25 and 28 minutes long, so an hour of teaching ends up being between $14 and $18 an hour. On top of that, VIPKID offers multiple incentives each month for things like showing up on time to your classes and amount of classes you teach! Most people average about $20 an hour. I worked in preschool and kindergarten classrooms, and this is more than I made there- and don’t get me started on the other work from home jobs (one I only averaged 5 dollars an hour as a transcriber!). I also am not paying for gas and childcare, so I get to keep my whole paycheck!
Do what you love: Teaching is my passion. I have been lucky to work with some amazing families and students since I started out, and it was something I missed a lot when I took a year off. Even with a language barrier, I have students who are genuinely excited to see me. If anything, I have been able to build a more personal relationship with some of these kids because I am in my home. They have met my dog, cats, turtle, taken a virtual tour of my home, and the kids have shown me parts of their lives as well. I have met relatives, pets, talked about their vacations and watched many excited moms snapping pictures of me teaching their child. I have learned about Chinese culture through them. I find myself researching current events in China, so I can know what’s going on in their lives. I spend my mornings finding solutions to difficult parts of a lesson through puppets, silly hats, and lots of repetition! I find myself singing the “Hello Song” all day long, talking excessively with my hands, and sharing challenges and celebrations with other VIPKID teachers.
Community: Technology is wonderful! Not only can I interact with children across the globe, but I can with teachers too! I have been able to follow Facebook groups and get ideas from other teachers, read stories about their lessons, ask questions and shares parts of my life with people who are all sharing this amazing opportunity with me. I have even been able to meet some other VIPKID teachers in my area for lunch, which was awesome! Even though I’m teaching alone, I have never felt alone while working for this company. Everyone is willing to help each other out, so we can be the best ESL teachers possible.
The fact that I can do all these things and be with my kids every day is enough to make me shout from the rooftops that teaching ESL online for a company like VIPKID is THE BEST! If this is something that would interest you, you can CLICK HERE to APPLY NOW! I would also love to answer any of your questions or concerns you may have about starting to teach ESL. I know I had quite a few when I was starting this process, so I love helping others make this opportunity a reality!