New VIPKid Teachers: The First 48

… The first 48 hours can set you up for success in what is sure to become a successful journey with VIPKid.

Congratulations! You’ve been hired as a new VIPKid teacher! Now what?

On the television show “The First 48,” the title sequence said, “For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving a murder is cut in half if they don’t get a lead within the first 48 hours.” With VIPKid, the stakes aren’t nearly as high, but those first days and weeks after you are hired are still pretty important.

There is a lot of advice on the Internet about what you should do while you are waiting to begin teaching.  Here are the first three things you should do within the first 48 hours:

  1. Open Your Schedule
  2. Schedule the New Teacher Kickoff Workshop
  3. Assemble a basic set of props

Step 1: Open your schedule.

I say this with a big disclaimer. You will not get booked immediately. You will most likely not get booked within your first week. There is no single formula to tell us when you will be booked. For some, they get booked in days. For some, they get booked in weeks. For some, they get booked in months. It is different for everyone. But one thing is absolute. If you do not open your schedule, you will not be booked.

If you are like me, you would rather wait until you are “fully prepared” and have reviewed every single lesson you could possibly teach. Even if that were possible (which it’s not) it would take FOREVER, so just rip the bandaid and open up some timeslots.

Remember, parents book their classes 2-3 weeks in advance, so while you are welcome to open up timeslots immediately (especially if you are willing to try Short Notice 24-hour Bookings) you will have the most success opening slots following the booking frenzy for the week after next. VIPKid also recommends that you open slots for at least 3 weeks in advance to allow the highest chance of re-booking immediately following a class.

For more information about how to open your timeslots and when, check out VIPKid Booking Schedules.

Step 2: Schedule the New Teacher Kickoff Workshop

Jumping in to your first class can be exhilarating, but also terrifying. Even if you passed your mock class certifications with flying colors, there’s something about sitting across from a real little person across the ocean that is just so much more! The best way to make sure you are prepared is by attending a new teacher kickoff workshop. The objectives of the workshop are:

  • Help you prepare for your first class.
  • Learn more about the VIPKid life.
  • Find out all about the awesome workshops and other resources available to teachers.
  • Learn a bit more about how to “run your business” in the platform.
  • Get some precious tips from experienced and super-friendly mentors.
  • Get gifts especially made for new teachers.

The workshop lasts 1.5 hours, and they schedule at least one on MOST days. I would suggest checking your calendar and getting one scheduled within your first week. Once you get a taste of what’s out there, you’ll want to schedule more, so the earlier you get started the better!

For more information on where to see the schedule and how to find this workshop, check out my overview of the VIPKid Library and Certification Center.

Step 3: Assemble a basic set of props.

Don’t go crazy. You don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money. In fact, I’m certain that you already have much of what you need right around the house! Depending on what levels you are certified to teach, you may want to adjust, but here are some basics:

Free Props (or things you already have)

  • an apple
  • stuffed animals or pet toys (I use dogs, cats, elephants, foxes, and pigs the most for some reason.)
  • a ruler
  • game pieces (dominos, dice, colorful paying pieces, play money, or UNO cards are a few of my favorites)
  • your smartphone (There is a whole wealth of digital rewards and props available in the Google Slides Facebook group. Or you can always pull up photos or gifs on your phone that you find relevant to the lesson.)
  • printed or drawn props (Meg, Mike, and Dino, He/She/It, alphabet flash cards, printed stars to award during class, happy and sad faces)

Inexpensive Props

  • a small, handheld whiteboard
  • flashcards
  • a toy microphone or other musical toy for songs
  • a bag of balloons (great for colors, counting, size, weight, and more!)
  • some inexpensive educational decorations for your backdrop if you didn’t already decorate for your mock class certifications
  • a simple reward system (The options are endless here – pick out something you think is fun and cool, because if you like it, your students will too.) For ideas, see Types of VIPKid Rewards.

You will be amazed at what you can find to use in a lesson just lying around your house. One of my go-to props is a packet of Ramen noodles and a set of chopsticks from a restaurant!

I want to stress that it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on props. It’s also not necessary to have every single prop planned out in advance. But I know from experience I felt more comfortable knowing that I had a few trusty items I could grab if I needed to!

If you had visions of your first 48 hours with VIPKid being filled with classes and students, I’m sorry to disappoint you. However, know that those first 48 hours can set you up for success in what is sure to become a successful journey with VIPKid.

Happy teaching!

 

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Getting Bookings with VIPKid

The more students who CAN book you, the more students WILL book you!

So you’ve made it! You’ve been hired as a teacher with VIPKid. Now all that remains is getting booked!

In 2018, VIPKid reported having 60,000 teachers and 500,000 students. By all reports I’ve heard, that number keeps growing! But with so many teachers to choose from, getting booked is not always immediate!

If you are thinking about applying with VIPKid, I always suggest starting as soon as possible because it WILL take time to build up your student base.  Below are the most common suggestions to help make that happen as quickly as possible.

First of all, be sure you have opened up the correct weeks! Most parents book two weeks in advance, so if you aren’t sure, check out VIPKid Booking Schedules.

Then…

Review your profile picture.

VIPKid will send you instructions for your profile picture.  They suggest that it be clear and in a professional style. If that’s not working to get you bookings, then try something else! Parents will be scrolling through hundreds of profile pictures, and that will be the first thing that catches their eye. Make sure:

  • You take up most of the frame. The background (even if it’s your amazing classroom) isn’t what the parents are interested in. They are interested in you!
  • Make sure it is well lit. Avoid shadows on your face.
  • Smile. Kids will want a fun teacher who smiles authentically and a lot.
  • Think about the colors that you are using. If you are wearing neutral colors, try something more colorful. If you are wearing patterns, try a solid color.
  • Consider adding something to make you stand out. While the main focus of the picture is you, you can add something to make you different. Maybe you’re holding a prop or a pet. Maybe you are in an active teaching pose. Find something that will catch a parent’s eye.

Review your featured photos and intro video.

Many of the same guidelines as above will apply, but you do have a little more flexibility to make these fun and personal! I have three important pieces of feedback here.

  • Make a video and use pictures that are fun for you! They don’t have to be the type of things that will go viral. We aren’t all you tube stars! Just have fun with them, and that will shine through!
  • Take one of the VIPKid workshops about “marketing yourself.” These are led by veteran VIPKid teachers and mentors, and they can give you great feedback on how to spruce up your profile to appeal to parents.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try again! You aren’t committing to use the same pictures and videos forever! If you aren’t getting bookings, try something else!

Take workshops.

VIPKid offers a robust list of workshops like the one I mentioned above. There is a workshop for anything you might need help with!

As a new teacher, the very first one you should sign up for is the New Teacher Kickoff Workshop. It is usually the first one linked under the “Library–>Workshop Schedule” menu in the teacher portal.

new teacher kickoff

That will be a great introductory session and they will introduce a roadmap of other helpful workshops to help you get your feet wet.

Teachers also often speculate that learning partners get lists of teachers who attend workshops and might be more inclined to recommend them. I can’t confirm or deny this, but it certainly can’t hurt to take them!

Another good workshop that’s targeted specifically to getting bookings is called “Marketing Yourself.” This is offered several times per month and you can get live tips from the pros.

Add Certifications

You saw above the massive number of students reported by VIPKid in 2018, and these numbers are growing by the day! It makes sense that the more students you are qualified to teach, the more bookings you can get.

Depending on when you were hired, you may have one or two certifications already.  With the 2019 VIPKid Application and Interview Process (Updated March 2019) most new teachers will be certified to teach either “lower level” (Interactive Level 2 + Level 3) or “upper level” (Levels 4 and 5.) When I was hired, 60% of students were in level 2, and shortly thereafter they began being converted to Interactive Level 2. So if you started with the upper levels, a great way to get added potential students is by certifying for the lower level classes.

Trial Classes are another great way to increase your bookings. Many times, parents sign up for trial classes at the last minute, so more tenured teachers are less likely to be available. As an added bonus, trial students can often turn into regulars!

If you meet the requirements, Level 1 is growing by leaps and bounds, so if you have taught the minimum number of classes and there are vacancies available, this would be  a good option.

The more students who CAN book you, the more students WILL book you!

Open Short Notice Bookings.

I know this is scary, especially for new VIPKid teachers. But if you are a parent, you know how hectic life can get. Often, parents need to schedule last minute classes because that’s when their kiddo is available. When this happens, their regular teacher may not be available, so they will be more likely to give a new teacher a try. (Plus, lots of trials are booked as short notice too!) Don’t be afraid of short notice. My very first student was short notice, and she is now my most regular. If you’re still nervous, check out VIPKid Short Notice 24-hour Bookings for more information.

Don’t give up!

This is the most important advice I have. No two teachers alike, and everyone has a different experience. For some teachers, it takes days to get bookings. For others it takes months. If you try something and it doesn’t work, then don’t be afraid to try something else.  Ask your mentor for help. They can help review your information or perhaps even recommend you to others if they have a good parent network!

If you’ve tried all of these tips, check out these additional booking booster ideas!

The students will come, and by following the tips above, you’ll be ready to support them in the very best way possible.  If you have tips of your own, or questions about anything you’ve read here today, let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!