VIPKid Week 2 and the Early Months

Remember that everyone’s VIPKid journey is different. No two teachers will ever have the exact same schedule or experience, and that’s ok!

You’ve made it through the gauntlet we know as the VIPKid hiring process. You got the elusive “first booking.” Maybe you had several bookings! And then … what?

This post is designed to help fill in the blanks for what comes next.

Open your schedule.

Students and their parents have the opportunity to book you again right after class. Make sure you have the next two weeks open to fully take advantage of this! I usually include my availability in the future when I send my feedback.

For example, “In our next lesson, I would like to keep working with Bao Bao on “this” and “that.” I have a fun game that I think he will enjoy that will help reinforce this. If you would like to book our next class, I have this same time available next week! Thank you! Teacher Amelia U

Check for feedback.

If you haven’t gotten any, don’t sweat it! (Everyone is different. Check here to see How does your VIPKid apple rating measure up?) If you did get feedback, I encourage you to respond to it. (You can do this through the PC App or the web portal, but not by phone.) I’m sure it’s positive, 5-apple feedback and so a simple thank you is sufficient. A few options I’ve used are:

  • Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback. Receiving positive feedback is very important to VIPKid teachers, and I really appreciate it!
  • Thank you for the 5-apple feedback! Bao Bao did a great job in class, and I can’t wait to see him again!
  • Thank you for leaving me 5-apples! I appreciate your feedback and I hope to see Bao Bao soon. If you would like to schedule another class, I am available next Friday!

If for some reason it isn’t 5-apple feedback, resist the urge to be confrontational in a response. You can see how to dispute bad feedback here.

Send e-cards to students you want to rebook!

The feedback is your way of communicating with parents. E-cards are your way to communicate with the students. With that in mind, stay away from scheduling conversation and keep it high level and positive.

  • I had fun in our class last week Bao Bao! Are you doing your homework? I hope to see you in class soon! – Teacher Amelia U
  • I hope you enjoyed our class last week! Next time I have a fun Ultraman game that we can play while you learn English. See you soon! – Teacher Amelia U

Always use your teacher show name.

You may have noticed in both my feedback and e-cards I used my show name (that name with the initial after it.) This is just in case the parents have lost me in the sea of teachers and don’t know how to find me TO rebook. When little Bao Bao shows them the adorable e-card that I sent them, it will remind them and they can find me to rebook!

Watch your replay.

Did you know you can go back into the PC App and watch your class replay? It won’t be available immediately, but it is usually there a few hours after class. Watch the replay with an open mind, and ask yourself:

  • What did I do well?
  • What should I do differently?
  • Did it look like I was having fun?
  • Did it look like my student was having fun?
  • How much time was I talking? (Remember, our goal is to have the student talk 50-80% of the time, depending on their level!)
  • Were there times that I cut off my student before they could fully answer?
  • How was my timing?
  • Did I use a good mixture of props to help enhance the learning?

I like referring to the Teacher Applicant Performance Indicator during the playback. Even though it’s intended to help during the hiring process, I find it’s a useful self-evaluation tool as well.

Then based on your own self-evaluation…

Take workshops.

I know by this point you are probably tired of hearing me say that. BUT, even if you took workshops prior to teaching classes (good for you!) you did not have any real experience to build on. If you found yourself struggling in a particular area as you watched your playback, you can go to a workshop with that class in mind and perhaps learn tools and techniques to adjust. It will also show VIPKid that you are taking your own self-improvement seriously and that you want to be the very best teacher possible.

If you aren’t sure where to go to find workshops then check out the VIPKid Library and Certification Center. You’ll be amazed!

Contact the learning partner (if appropriate.)

Last but not least, if you have any meaningful feedback on the students, it can also help to send feedback to the learning partner. You can do this at the time of the class through the class feedback (in the very bottom section.) But you can also do this via a ticket in the support center. I’ve seen some teachers asking on social media, “What do I say to the learning partner?” If you have to ask that question, it’s a good sign that you should not be sending in a ticket. It is a waste of your time and theirs to send feedback with nothing meaningful to say. But if you do have something (positive or negative) that you feel is important, then this is a good way to start building relationships with the LP’s. You probably won’t hear back, but if they pass along your feedback to the parents, you could get a repeat booking. Or the LP could book you for other students.

No matter what, remember that everyone’s VIPKid journey is different. No two teachers will ever have the exact same schedule or experience, and that’s ok! Remember to have fun and focus on your students, and everything else will fall into place.

If you have questions or suggestions of your own, please let me know in the feedback!

Happy teaching!

Advertisements

How does your VIPKid apple rating measure up?

One of the features of the VIPKid platform is that parents are allowed to rate the classes we teach at VIPKid. Parents can leave five-apples, which is the best (and what counts toward raise eligibility with VIPKid) or they can leave fewer – all the way down to the dreaded one-apple.  Previously, I shared a little bit more about feedback in my post An Apple a Day. At this time, I was still new. I had only received 7 feedbacks from parents, and was still learning myself. Since then, I’ve earned 122 5-apple ratings, and continue to be touched and inspired by much of the feedback.

So I’d like to peel back the onion, er, apple? a little more and share some important and often overlooked components of parent feedback.

Not everyone leaves feedback.

One of the most common things I hear is, “I’ve taught ____ classes, and I don’t have any feedback. Is that normal? YES! Some parents never leave feedback. Some leave intermittent feedback. Some might not leave any feedback for months and then rate your last 60 classes. There is a great divide among teachers – some say you should ask for feedback, while others never ask.  Either way, don’t sweat it. There’s not a magic formula and you really have limited control over whether or not a parent leaves feedback. But if they do, remember…

Feedback is made of opinions.

This is not going to be a popular way to start this post, but it’s true. Many of the things that can influence a parent’s rating will be subjective.  Some common tags relate to prop usage, timely error correction, TPR, pronunciation corrections, expressive attitude, patience, class environment, and encouragement (among others.) Some of these are easy enough to quantify. For example, if a parent says that you failed to correct errors in a timely manner, it’s easy to watch a playback and either validate or invalidate this. However, if a parent says you did not have patience, that’s much harder to prove or disprove. There’s no quantitative way to measure patience in a visible way.

There *are* ways to get feedback invalidated, if a few circumstances are met.

It’s important to know that you can get feedback invalidated. It won’t be removed, but it won’t count toward your average. If you have gotten a 3-apple or below score, and you want to try to get it removed, check out the process here.

But better than invalidating bad feedback…

There are ways to improve your chances of getting positive (5-apple) feedback.

On March 7, 2019 VIPKid sent out some tips on what parents like and expect in a VIPKid teacher. As they said, “Knowing what parents DON’T want is the first step toward achieving a high feedback average.” They outlined eight behaviors to avoid that will help you avoid the dreaded low-apple feedbacks.

It’s important to note that these are not “requirements.” Often, teachers get upset and say that VIPKid can’t require us to do these things, which is true. But VIPKid also can’t force a parent to like our classes either. They provide these tips because they know their parents better than we do.  So I encourage you to take these things seriously.  Below are a few of the highlights that stood out to me.

  • Be high energy. VIPKid says that 30% of negative parent feedback is related to low energy in the classroom.  Remember, most of these students have been in school all day already, so the last thing they need is to have a tired teacher droning on at them. If you need some tips on how to seem more energetic, check out The Secret to High Energy VIPKid teaching!
  • Be patient.  The single biggest thing that can contribute to a perception of patience is smiling.  You will need to correct errors (see below) but do so with a smile! Impatience can also show through your tone or by interrupting the student. I know we all try not to do these things, but I know I sometimes FEEL impatient, and so it can take some intentional work to make sure this doesn’t SHOW to my student.
  • Be encouraging.  Parents  LOVE supplementary rewards. No, they are not required by contract. Yes, parents like them. Parents dislike it when a teacher doesn’t use them. This
  • Change it up. Besides always using a secondary reward system, parents appreciate a variety of feedback. Change it up –
    • Good job!
    • Perfect!
    • Way to go!
    • High Five!
    • Awesome!
    • Yay!

Pro tip: if your encouragement is working, your student should be responding! If they aren’t, it’s time to find another way!

Whatever your 5-apple rating is – don’t worry.  Your feedback rating is just one of many things that factor into your overall success. Hopefully you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!

If you are just getting started and would like someone to help walk you through the hiring process, I suggest starting here, and I’d be happy to help you along the way: Completing the VIPKid Application.

Good luck!

Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – Struggling Student

“class feedback + parent feedback = collaboration in the classroom!”

As I explained in my recent blog post VIPKid Class Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”, I consider class feedback a critical component of my teaching.

I previously provided Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – New Student, High Performing to show how I use my standard template to give feedback to a strong student, but I wanted to provide an example of a student who did well, but struggled more.

This class also resulted in a 5-apple feedback with a specific request back from the parent. They said, “Thank you for your comments on {Student Name.} The teacher said that {Student Name} was confused by the teacher’s questions, and that’s because he cannot understand. {Student}’s problem now is that he often can’t understand full sentences. I hope the teacher will practice the dialogue with him in class next time.” This is a great example of how class feedback + parent feedback = collaboration in the classroom!

If you have questions about this feedback, or VIPKid in general, let me know in the comments! If you are looking for more personalized answers, I’d love to help. My referral link is a great way to find a mentor, and we both benefit!

Sample Feedback

**Overall Feedback**

It was great to teach {Student} again today! Today we learned about people in a family, and we practiced the word “mom.” He did a great job identifying pictures of moms and using the word in a complete sentence “She is my mom.  She is his mom. She is her mom.” He is very involved with the slides and follows directions so well! We learned the word “talk” and used it in a sentence “My mom talks on the phone. He talks with his friends.” He was a little confused with one of the activities that asked “Who do you talk with?” and the options were a man, a woman, a lamp, and a violin. When I broke it down, he understood that you can’t talk with a lamp or a violin. I think the choices might have just confused him. We used the word “her” and used it in a sentence “This is her phone.” He did great on the exercise that incorporated the word “her” with previous vocabulary (dog, headphones, teacher, and mom.) GREAT JOB! He did well blending sounds in our phonics lesson (l+eg= leg, b+eg=beg, k+eg=keg, w+eg=weg) and even did great at the rhyming exercise that sometimes confuses students! We learned about “this” and “that.” We also reviewed two items from my last class with him: “What must I follow in class? I must follow the rules in class.” and “How do you behave in class? I behave well in class.” He did a great job in class (and definitely behaved well!) He is a five-star student!

**Homework**

Within the limits of a computer screen, it’s difficult to explain that “this” is something close while “that” is something further away. He seemed to understand, but if you could practice at home, that will help reinforce it. Put two of the same objects (for example, apples) in a room – one close and one far away. Practice identifying THIS apple (close) and THAT apple (far.) Then once he correctly identifies the correct word using two of the same object, practice with different objects. (This mouse, that tree.)

**Next Steps**

Thank you for the five-apple rating after our last class! I really appreciate it! My goal is to have positive (5-apple) feedback on every class I teach, so if you have time, I would appreciate your feedback on this class as well. I would love to teach {Student} again, and I have this same time available in two weeks. Of course, you can also follow my teacher profile to see other available times. Thank you so much for the opportunity to teach your son!

 

Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – New Student, High Performing

If you are looking for an easy cut-and-paste template to use for feedback, you won’t find it here! As you will see below, the feedback I leave for my students is extremely customized.

As you may have read in my previous post VIPKidClass Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”, I think that feedback is one of the most important parts of the class experience.

In the below example, this was feedback from my very first lesson with this student. She was extremely smart and did great in class!

Following the class, I received a five-apple rating for this class, and another five-apple rating in a subsequent class with the parent commenting, “Feedback after class is very attentive; I hope to have a long-term class with Amelia to help {Student}’s rapid growth and upgrading!”

This class feedback follows the general flow of:

  • Overall Feedback
  • Homework
  • Next Steps

But it is personalized to this specific student and this specific class.

I hope you find this example helpful. If you have any questions, please add them in the comments below. If you are looking for a mentor, I’m ready to help! Here’s my referral link to get started!

Sample Feedback:

**Overall Feedback**

Wow! {Student} was a GREAT student today! I can’t believe that she is new to VIPKid because she did so well in the class. She is a good reader, and has a very strong foundation.

Today we learned about the face, and she did great at identifying the parts of the face (face, eyes, nose, mouth, ears.) We practiced answering the question, “What do you do with your eyes?” The answer we were practicing was “I see with my eyes.” She was able to repeat this, but she wanted to answer with the word “look” instead. This is still accurate, and it shows that she grasped the meaning, but keep practicing the word “see” for a more versatile vocabulary!

We practiced letter sounds for B, M, R, and S. She clearly knew the alphabet and already knew all four of the words on the slides (bat, mat, rabbit, and snake.)

There will be many phonics lessons with VIPKid. When we are practicing combining sounds, you can let {Student} know that she doesn’t have to say the letter. She can just say the sounds. For example, there might be an exercise that has “b-at. bat.” Because she’s so good at identifying her letters, she would say “b. b-at, bat.” This isn’t necessary since these types of exercises are all focused on the sounds the letters make, not the letters themselves.

She did great with the word “away,” and I was especially impressed with her ability to adapt the conversations in the practice activities. Many students get confused when using pronouns (“Her eyes.” “His eyes.”) and she already has a great head start on this! She also did very well responding in complete sentences!

**Homework**

I think “eyebrow” was a new vocabulary word for her, so continue to practice this with her. With the letters, she pronounced some of the sounds with an “uh” at the end (“buh” instead of “b” or “muh” instead of “mmmmm.”) This will be important as she begins reading more advanced words, so keep practicing with those sounds. (She can listen to them again starting on slide 10 in the playback.) She worked very hard until she repeated them all correctly!

**Next Steps**

{Student}’s enthusiasm and knowledge are sure to make her very successful with VIPKID! I would love to teach {Student} again, and if you would like to book another class with me, I have this same time available in two weeks. We will continue to work on phonics and pronunciation.

I would also appreciate it if you could leave feedback about the class! Getting positive feedback (5-apples) is very important to VIPKid teachers, and any comments you leave will help us continue to adjust to {Student}’s classroom and learning styles.

{Student} did a GREAT job today and I loved teaching her. Thank you!

close up of text
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

An Apple a Day

Ok new teachers. Let me begin by saying that I am far from an expert on feedback. In my first month of teaching, I only got seven ratings. The good news? They were all 5-apples! As I’m about to sign my third contract, I will have surpassed the elusive 200, but certainly, more parents don’t leave feedback than do. (I’ve taught 628 classes and received 196 5-apple ratings, so that would be 31% overall.)

I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about a few things I’ve learned about apple feedback.

Where can I see my parent feedback?

You can see individual ratings under “parent feedback.” However, you won’t see it in your status until after you get 100 ratings. Although I like instant gratification, this is a good thing. By looking at your 100 most recent ratings, one or two “bad apples” won’t affect your overall score. You can also see “Offline Parent Feedback” but that will only reflect information if a parent calls VIPKid headquarters about you.

What’s Important to Parents?

Parents have the chance to choose positive feedback categories.  In the phone app, if you tap on “new feedback,” a second screen opens when you can see specific tags. So what’s important to parents?

  • Encouragement
  • TPR
  • Timely and Accurate error correction
  • Class environment
  • Props

In short, it’s not one individual thing, but it’s the package!

abigail feedback

How can I get more parent feedback?

This may sound silly, but to get feedback, you should ask for it! I’ve worked in customer support for years, and we regularly send out customer satisfaction surveys. What I’ve learned is that people rarely fill it out unless they are extremely happy (or extremely unhappy.) If you want someone to fill out the survey, ask them to!  A couple of important points:

  • I always end my feedback to the parents asking THEM for their feedback. By ending with that (as well as options to re-book with me) it gives them their next step.
  • I explain that positive feedback is 5-apple feedback. If you don’t explain that, they might think 4-apple feedback is good, and 5-apples should be reserved for absolutely earth-shattering!
  • I keep it short. If the parent has never left me feedback before, I simply say “Receiving positive (5-apple) feedback is very important to VIPKid teachers, so please take a minute to share your feedback. I will use any comments you provide so we can continue to help (student) in his/her learning!”

Of course, in order to get five apples, you have to earn it. To help make sure parents will be happy with your teaching, always keep the following things in mind.

  • Be on time! Parents are investing time and money into their child, so it’s important that you respect that and be on time.
  • Teach the full 25-minutes. There are full guidelines provided by VIPKid here.
  • Avoid eating or drinking soda on screen. Of course, keep water handy if you need it. We all know how kiddos at home get distracted by things you have (and they don’t), and kids on screen react the same way.
  • Use TPR, props, and realia to engage with the students.
  • Have fun! If you have fun, the kids will too.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and FIVE APPLES a day makes a VIPKID teacher very happy! Keep up the good work, and please let me know how I can help you in your journey. If you’re just getting started, feel free to use my referral link to sign up! Happy teaching!