VIPKid: A Guide for Newbies – Part One

As you may already know, teaching ESL Online is my main source of income as a digital nomad. While I work for VIPKid, there are TONS of online teaching platforms.

For those of you considering signing up with VIPKid or are new to the program and looking for a little more insight, this post is for you.

If you already passed your interview, scroll down to where is says “You did it!” in big letters and go from there.

Getting Hired:

There are 5 Steps in getting hired with VIPKid.

  • Basic Info
  • Interview
  • Teaching Prep
  • Mock Class
  • Contract

Basic Info

The basic info is the first page you will see when you click “sign up.” Here you will add info like your name, gender, nationality, education information, and teaching experience. Make sure you add ALL of your teaching experience.  

Coached a team? Add it. Was a tutor? Add it. Taught abroad? Even better – add it. Literally, anything that involves teaching (children in particular but adults too) or mentoring in some way, add it


Next, you’ll have your interview (which is very short) as well as a teaching demo.

The interview lasted all of five minutes. They asked me about where I’m from and to elaborate on my teaching experience. They wanted to know what I liked about teaching as well as any challenges that I had (or thought I may face from a digital platform). 

This teaching demo will be given to you ahead of time. It is a basic powerpoint that will focus on teaching phonics to a theoretical five-year-old. 

You’ll say lots of things like “T is for Tiger” T-T-T! 

This theoretical five-year-old will be your interviewer. It may seem a little awkward at first as they’ll be switching from speaking English to you to suddenly acting like they can’t understand you, but just try to roll with it.

Don’t be afraid to be silly with it! They love seeing enthusiasm! 

Teaching Prep

Once you’ve passed your interview, you get to watch A LOT of videos. While you can skim (to be honest, I did), make sure you know enough of the info to pass the quiz at the end. There are also many videos out on YouTube that can be very helpful. Just be careful of ones that are more than a few months old. VIPKid has grown incredibly fast and new policies are in place all the time. For watching YoutTube vids, I’d recommend Hope Williams, Jennie Anderson and Nancy Taylor

Mock Class

Now that you’re all prepared and got 100% on your quiz – you have to do a Mock Class. You’ll be given this ahead of time, just like the demo lesson, except it will be a full class. Your evaluator will stop you mid-way through and gives you some feedback. Afterwards, you continue with the rest of the lesson.

WARNING – these can be extremely subjective. I had a great evaluator, she was very nice and encouraging and only made me do one mock lesson. I have, however, heard of some getting evaluators who can be quite strict or uninterested. Whatever you do – don’t let this discourage you! 

If you know your lesson well (don’t be that person that reads off the slides), use lots of TPR (if you don’t know what that is, you didn’t look at the training material well enough), and are enthusiastic, you’ll do great! Also, be sure to take the feedback that is given midway through seriously. Implement it in a very obvious manner. These are the people who decide if you move on, they are the seasoned teachers who know what they’re looking for – BE WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up with VIPKid here: 

All Done!

Once you’ve passed everything – you’ll be sent a contract. I have heard of people being sent contracts prior to this point but would be contingent on passing everything anyways. On this contract, you’ll see your pay, contract dates, all your duties and responsibilities, and legal mumbo jumbo that’s essentially like don’t badmouth the company or work for competitors. 

Sign it, send it in, and bingo bango you’re ready to teach!!

You Did It!

VIPKid for Newbies - You did it!


Now that the hard part is over, let’s move onto actual teaching.

Getting that first class

Unfortunately, there is no magic, one-size-fits-all method to this. Some people get their classes within the first week, others wait a month or more to see it. Some of the best ways to get that coveted first class are to be as noticeable as possible.

What does that mean?

Have your smiling face up there – big, happy smiley photos. Don’t worry about looking silly – silly can work for you. Have at least two pictures that show your face well. If you have pictures with kids to put up there as well, awesome. 

In your video keep whatever you’re saying simple. It’ll be the parents watching these and they may or may not understand English. Speak slowly, clearly, and with as ‘neutral’ of accent as possible. AND REMEMBER TO SMILE! They don’t need to be all over the top, edited to the nines with every prop you can think of. Hell, I filmed mine myself on my iPhone against a plain white wall.

Check your profile, make sure all your information is correct and present (sometimes it’s missing, if it is, let them know!). Once everything is there and looks good, you’re ready.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to be noticed is to open up as many slots as possible. This puts you in front of loads of students. You don’t need to keep this schedule up (I certainly didn’t), but my first few weeks was teaching up to 7-hour days 5-days a week so I could see as many students as possible. Once you get on the parent’s radar, you tend to stay there.

Navigating the portal

In booking the classes, you would’ve been in what is called the Teacher’s Portal. It looks like this: 

VIPKid for Newbies - The Portal

There are a couple things to note. The hand pointing a finger isn’t always there, nor is the orange target with ‘check your number’ next to it. The latter is in regards to a current incentive and is otherwise irrelevant.

Bookings tab

Is be your main screen that shows all your available class time-slots. You click them and a time will appear in that slot. You check the box next to it and that slot can now be filled with less than 24-hour notice. Early on, I’d recommend opening as many as possible and checking the box. Just remember, if you do check the box you can get booked at any time before that slot, so be ready!

Once a class is booked, it turns green and show the students name. You then click the green box and you can go to that student’s classroom. 

Classrooms Tab

You can also enter the classroom via the Classrooms tab. It shows all the classes you have and have had. Here you’ll see the course code, the lesson name, the student’s name, the scheduled time, whether or not it is short notice, the finish type, and links to enter the classroom, check out materials for the classroom, and the feedback.

The Finish Type is what I find most useful about this page. This affects your pay and most other things on this page are accessible from other areas. There are a few different finish types:

  • As Scheduled (This one is the best) 
  • Student No – Show (Full pay for regular class, half pay for trial)
  • Student IT Problem (Full pay)
  • Teacher IT Problem (No pay)
  • Teacher No-Show (This one is the worst)

There are TONS of things to say about these and lots of information can be found on FreshDesk or in the Facebook Forums. I’ll also likely do another post regarding them soon, so keep an eye out or be sure to subscribe 🙂

Payment Tab

This area is pretty self-explanatory. It breaks down your classes and respective pay. All of your incentives won’t show up until the beginning of the following month. The first few days are the adjustment days. 

What are the incentives?

Everybody will have a base pay. This will range from $7-9USD. There is $1 incentive for starting and finishing on time (like an attendance bonus), a 50 cent bonus if you’re teaching 30-45 classes a month, and a $1 bonus for teaching 45+ classes per month. You can theoretically make $22/hour. Check your “price list” in the payments tab for more details.

There are other incentives on top of this. You have a trial student sign up, that’s another $5 for that class! Most months have additional incentives as well. You’ll find those in the monthly newsletter.

Parent’s Feedback

Also quite self-explanatory. Here you see your ratings for your classes. People have mixed feelings about them, but personally, I’m a fan. Here’s one from one of my favourite students:

VIPKid for Newbies - Rating

The ratings are often in Chinese and then translated into English, so you’ll  get some strange sounding ones. Also, ignore the random “Cara Truncks and Bikes” – it’s on all the ratings and much be some kind of glitch. 


 Now, that’s A LOT of information

But I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it. In Part Two, I’ll discuss navigating Freshdesk, the VIPKid App and a few more things you’ll have to keep an eye out for. Also, subscribe below and get some tips right in your inbox!  

Pin for Later:       VIPKid for newbies

By | 2017-04-28T19:13:36+00:00 April 29th, 2017|Teaching, Teaching Resource, Work Remotely|13 Comments


  1. Katie July 30, 2017 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Hi! Thank you so much for the lovely article!! I have a bit of a practical question, once you do get teaching, do you have to wait a month for your first check? For instance if I started now, would I see a check in August? Or not till September? I’m not in yet and not trying to count my chickens before they’re hatched just curious!!

    • Ashley July 31, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Katie, they pay you the following month, so you’d see your first check on or before the 15th of the next month.

  2. Natalie September 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the article. I am teaching my first class tomorrow and cannot figure out how to make the Powerpoints larger, so I can read the teacher instructions! Do you have any tips?

    • Ashley September 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      Hey Natalie! Try simply zooming in on your screen! On a mac it’s command and the plus symbol and on a windows computer you can try the windows magnifier – it’s the windows logo and the plus symbol. Best of luck in your first class!

  3. Tiffany October 5, 2017 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Ashley, how can you see your profile to make sure your video, bio, etc looks good?

    • Ashley October 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      I find the app is the best way to do so. Online you can’t see much, but if you go to the top right corner of the bookings page you can see your account to review your profile picture and bio (but not the video). On the app you should be able to see everything.

  4. Connie Scheel October 18, 2017 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Ashley, I am excited about the possibility of teaching for VIP Kids. I am a retired teacher. Do you happen to know if they hire any older teachers? All of the teachers I have seen seem to be quite young?

    • Ashley October 19, 2017 at 8:20 am - Reply

      Hi Connie! When looking online and on the facebook groups and the like most of the teachers you will see are younger teachers. It also seems to be who VIPKid uses in a lot of their advertising. There are, however, quite a few older teachers. You’ll see them more active in the official VIPKid forums (now the Hutong) more so than other online spaces. I remember seeing one post by a man in his seventies!

    • MaryFrances Luysterburg October 25, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Connie Scheel! I am a new VIPKID teacher (just over a month now), and I retired from a very large district in Florida June 2015. I have taught only 26 days and have completed 120 classes. I am proud of my experience and didn’t hide it in my bio. My pics are recent-I took them for my account. I had one student within 12 hours of opening up time spots, and I have not turned back. I think my experience is what draws parents to me while the kids like the class and they want to come back. Go for it! Seniors Rock!

    • Dawn R Becker November 3, 2017 at 12:37 am - Reply

      Hi, Connie! This is in response to Connie Scheel’s question on October 18. I am 55 and just get hired.

  5. Becky Bowman November 11, 2017 at 12:23 am - Reply

    I’m 63 and finished my first class tonight. I’m relieved to hear that other older teachers are successful. Most of the people on Facebook seem so young. Facebook has a group for VIPKID teachers over 40. I think we may need one for teachers over 60!

  6. Chris November 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    How do I change the name that parents see? For some reason my name says Christina OBX?

    • Ashley November 17, 2017 at 7:56 am - Reply

      Everyone has a series of letters after their first name. I do as well. It’s to differentiate between those of the same name.

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