Media Friday #3: Teaching with VIPKID

Disclaimer: I am an independent contractor with VIPKID. Before writing this post, I was not compensated in any way to provide a positive review. I simply want to share the pros and cons of teaching with this platform.

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for another Media Friday. On Fridays, I like to highlight something in the digital media that is fun and uplifting. In the past, I’ve featured the

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Litany of Trust and the Blessed is She online women’s community. Today I want to take a bit of a detour. For 15 days, I’ve taught online English classes with VIPKID, a company that provides a private, 25-minute, American-style elementary school experience to children living in China. Truly, this side hustle is so much fun (for me at least), and I think talking about it qualifies for a Media Friday.

Like anything, VIPKID has it’s pros and cons. Let’s start with our pros.

  1. Flexibility: With VIPKID, you can choose the hours you want to work. For those living in EST, peak peak times (yes, two peaks) teaching hours are between 6:00 AM and 7:30 AM. During this time, you have the best chance of being booked by parents. Regular peak hours may lie between may span between 4:30 AM and 8:30 AM, give or take 30 minutes. Weekend nights between Friday and Saturday are all considered peak time. With that, if there’s a day you want to take off, you don’t have to open any slots. If you want to work an all-nighter from Friday to Saturday, you can open those slots. Your schedule is yours.
  2. Prepared Lessons: Though I’m a teacher, I often struggle with lesson prep. While teaching with VIPKID, all of my lessons are prepared on a digital slideshow. Of course, it’s wise to review the slide content and directions before teaching a student, but with a little prep, VIPKID lessons are easy to teach. Just add lots of enthusiastic gestures and props (puppets, dolls, etc). Once in the virtual classroom, you download the lesson and wait for the student to enter. After s/he enters, turn on your camera and just have fun.
  3. Pay: I wouldn’t advise you to sign up for VIPKID today and then quit your day job tomorrow. However, it is a great side gig for those who want to make extra money. My base pay is $8 per 25-minute class. If I show up on time, I receive a $1 bonus. If the class I teach is booked less than 24 hours before its scheduled time, I receive a $2 short-notice bonus. If I teach my regular class, show up on time, and it’s a short notice course, I can make $11 per class. Easily $22 an hour for two classes. For a non-short notice class that I teach and show up on time for, I make $9, or $18 per hour.

Now, let’s talk about the cons of working for VIPKID.

  1. Slow Start: I’ll be straight with you, I was hired by VIPKID about 20 days ago. Since then, I have only taught four students. The other four have been student no-shows (I received half pay for these classes). When you are first hired by VIPKID, you will probably only be certified to teach Trial Classes (which are free courses provided to see if parents want to register their child). I believe that since the company assigns these courses to teachers, it may be a while before traffic picks up. Thankfully, just last week I was certified to teach Level 2 and Global Adventure. Earlier this week I recorded a mock lesson and took a quiz for Level 3 certification (I am waiting on the result). Since then, I have taught one registered student and have two more this weekend. You may hear of some teachers who have booked schedules every week, but honestly, they’ve probably done their time like the rest of us. So, if you sign up to teach for VIPKID, and your bookings are slow, it’s normal. Frustrating, but normal.
  2. Tedious Interview Process: A typical VIPKID interview and hiring process looks like this: Apply, record or perform a mock class with a VIPKID mentor, record a second mock class or attend a new teacher kickoff, and then you’re hired. Some teachers may have to do a third mock class before they are brought on as a teacher. Others aren’t hired at all. If you’re willing to teach, the process is worth it. However, if you’re not into jumping hoops, I wouldn’t recommend work as a VIPKID teacher.
  3. Culture Clash: I’ve taught for a year in Korea, and I’ve also worked at a summer camp in rural China. I am familiar with Chinese, and Eastern Asian, culture at large. But, for some teachers who are not as well-traveled or acquainted with other cultural structures, working for VIPKID can sometimes be frustrating. For example, parents are often encouraged to leave feedback for the teacher after a lesson. While most parents leave positive feedback, there are the few who don’t. For example, a parent, after watching the lesson playback, may not think you are energetic enough or that you don’t use enough props. While you may think your lesson was perfect and the student had a great time, a parent may not believe their child received the quintessential American experience in only 25 minutes. As a result, you may receive a poor rating. Luckily, you can appeal this with the VIPKID team.

Overall, teaching with VIPKID has been a positive experience. I enjoy teaching the kids that show up in my digital classroom, and it’s like I get to travel to China every morning. If you have a bachelor’s degree, are flexible, and would like to try your hand at English language instruction, I highly recommend VIPKID.

If you’re interested, you may click the link HERE. Please note, this is my personal referral code and I do receive a financial incentive if you are hired and teach your first class.

Have a blessed Friday! Next week, I look forward to talking with you about participating in the Sacrament of Confession and a visit to the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Massachusetts.

 

 

Tips for Mercy

I am always compelled by those have lived, and live, lives of mercy. One of my favorite true stories of a merciful life is that of Satoko Kitahara, the subject of Fr. Paul Glynn’s The Smile of a Ragpicker (I wrote about Satoko here). Long-story-short, Satoko left a life of privilege to serve the poor and detested souls of Tokyo’s Ants Town. After her death, the Church recognized Satoko as a Venerable, and she is on the path towards sainthood.

What is impressive about Satoko is that she was merciful to those in her own city. Though she wanted to serve in the foreign missions, she instead was a “Japanese for the Japanese.” In our everyday lives, there are numerous opportunities to show mercy to Image result for mercy pixabaythose we encounter.

Personally, is something I struggle with each and every day.

Often, those around me do not meet my expectations or just get under my skin. It’s easy for me to ignore those I deem not worthy of my time. Yet, today, to have mercy for all is an incredibly counter-cultural act. In fact, in the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus tells us to be merciful because God is merciful to us (Luke 6:36). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 6:7).

But why, Lord, does mercy have to be so difficult? My theory: Anything worth cultivating won’t be an easy undertaking. So, to help you along your way, I’ve listed three tips for living a more merciful life:

  1. Pray: This is an obvious solution that sometimes we rarely employ. Is there someone grinding your last nerve? Pray for them. Are you on the verge of hatred? Pray about it. Do you find more comfort in anger than in peace? Pray about it. I know, it’s easier said than done. On many occasions, I’ve relished in the idea of resentment more than a heart of forgiveness. Instead, I should have asked for a merciful heart towards those I perceived had wronged me. Prayer changes things, and God will guide you on a merciful path.
  2. Take Up a Devotion: Is there a religious practice that has meaning for you? This could be praying the Rosary or going back to the same passages of Scripture and meditating on it. Personally, I love the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. While praying the Chaplet, you ask God to have mercy on you and the whole world. When you realize that you, too, are in need of God’s mercy, it puts other struggles into perspective.
  3. Sacrifice: Once again. it’s one of those spiritual practices that’s easy to preach, but harder to live out. I want you to think about someone who annoys you. As a personal rule, I tend to avoid these people. But, to cultivate mercy, maybe we could sacrifice our comfort to say “Hello” to that person or ask about their day. It’s one small step, one little sacrifice, that can lead to a lifetime of merciful living.

Do you have any tips for living a more merciful life? What advice would you give to someone who wants to show more mercy to their friends and neighbors? God bless!

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. // Chaplet of Divine Mercy

One thing alone is necessary; that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God’s merciful grace, and then God will do the rest. // St. Faustina