The Pros & Cons of Teaching with VIPKID

Thoughts after my first week of teaching ESL online with VIPKID!

Hey friends!

This week, I started a new job: teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) for a company called VIPKID.

For those of you who have never heard of this company, here’s the gist: VIPKID, created in 2013, is an online platform that allows Chinese grade schoolers (aged 5 to 12) to take 30-minute ESL lessons from an english-speaking VIPKID teacher. The CEO, Cindy Mi, created the company to provide more opportunities to Chinese children to learn english accessibly in a fun, low-pressure way.

Since I just finished my first week of teaching (I taught a total of 12 classes, or 6 hours), I thought I’d make a Pros & Cons list about teaching for VIPKID. Here we go!

Cons of teaching for VIPKID:

You have to have a bachelor’s degree.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I wish it wasn’t the case, but that’s their one stipulation – so there it is! I figured I’d better put it at the top for anyone who doesn’t want to read any further!

The hours are a little funky.

Considering that I live in the U.S. midwest and all my students live in China, there is a 13-hour time difference. That means my “peak hours” (the hours that are most likely to be booked if I open them), fall between 6 and 8 in the morning. I can also wake up earlier, or teach as late as 9 a.m., but for the most part, early morning is the best way to get booked consistently. On weekends, when the kiddos don’t have school, I can also work evenings – starting at 8 p.m. So basically it’s morning and evening, if you live in the U.S.! For me, this is also something of a pro – because it allows me to work while my toddler is asleep. However, getting used to waking up at 5 a.m. this week was really difficult! Hallelujah for Melatonin, which helped me fall asleep earlier than normal.

The slots you open may not always be filled.

This week, I opened up a total of 16 slots, and only 12 were filled. However, as the week went along and I started gaining good feedback from parents (they rate us from 1 to 5 apples), more of my slots started getting filled. A note on this: you’re also more likely to be booked if you turn on the “24 Hour Booking” function, which allows students to book you less than 24 hours in advance. I personally will probably wait a couple more weeks to use this function regularly, once I have more of a handle on the material.

Technology Issues!!

I only had two technology issues my first week – one class was cut short when I was randomly booted off the VIPKID website and unable to get back on for a few minutes. The other was when a student’s webcam wasn’t working, so we simply did our best and went on with class anyway! Obviously, technology issues are just part of the game with a job like this. My best advice is not to freak out, and give yourself grace when things go wrong (and also, if you have access to Google Fiber… use that!! Faster internet will make everything better!).

Taxes, taxes, taxes.

*insert eye roll* TAXES. They’re the worst no matter what. But as a VIPKID Teacher, you’re technically considered an “independent contractor.” That means that at the end of the year, you’ll be responsible for paying taxes on all your paychecks. I’ve been told by other teachers to simply set aside 20% from each paycheck, the MOMENT I receive it. I’ll probably put that 20% in savings until tax season, so it’ll at least be accruing some interest. This definitely isn’t the worst thing in the world, considering that the pay is so good (we’ll talk more about that later), but it’s certainly something to be aware of!

Now let’s move on to the pros!

Pros of teaching for VIPKID:

You get to make your own schedule!

This is my favorite part!! Each week, you simply go into your schedule and open up slots for the upcoming weeks. If you have an appointment or go out of town, simply don’t open up any slots for those days (although you could take your job with you!). This week, for example, I had to drive my mom to an appointment – it was so relieving to know I could simply not open my 7:30 slot, ensuring I’d have enough time to take her without rushing. SO CONVENIENT.

The pay. is so. GOOD.

Okay guys let me be honest here, this is one of my favorite parts of this whole job. Basically, when you apply and go through the interview process, you are given a “base pay,” which is your pay per 30-minute class. I believe this base pay can range anywhere from 7 to 11 dollars (if that’s wrong, please correct me in the comments!), based on your experience and how you do in your interview. For example, my base pay is 8 dollars per class, or $16/hour (pretty good, right?). BUT IT GETS BETTER. You can earn an extra $1 per class, JUST FOR SHOWING UP ON TIME. Um yeah VIPKID, rad. I can do that. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. You can also earn an extra $1 per class for teaching at least 45 classes a month, which breaks down to about 12 classes per week, or 6 hours. Again: very doable! BUT WAIT, I’M NOT DONE. Remember that “24 Hour Booking” function we talked about before? Any major course class that is booked using that function, earns you an extra $2.

AAAAAAAAND: you also get $$$ in the bank every time someone signs up and puts you as their referral. And I’m not talking about chump change, either. It’s anywhere from $50 to $100 for each successful referral (meaning your referral makes it through all the stages and gets hired on). You get extra bonuses too, if they teach a certain number of classes their first week, sign their contract within a certain number of days, etc. etc. etc. Basically it’s #perksperksperks.

So let me break that down: Let’s say your base pay is $8 per class. Counting all the bonuses above, you could feasibly be earning $12 per class, or $24 per hour (not even including your referral bonuses!). Talk about rad!!

It’s FUN!

Basically, your job as a VIPKID teacher is to keep your students entertained – essentially, trick them into learning without them realizing it! Things I’ve done include singing with puppets, using princess magnets as rewards, making ridiculous faces, jumping around like a monkey, and putting on a fake mustache. And that was just my first week! Starting my day with two hours of pure silliness puts me in such a good mood for the whole day. And seeing my students grasp new concepts is the icing on the cake! Which brings me to my next pro…

No lesson planning!!

Can I get an “amen” from all the teachers in the room?! VIPKID provides all the lesson plans for you. Essentially, there is a specific curriculum that VIPKID students follow. They start at different points, depending on their English abilities when they sign up. Within 24 hours before teaching a class, you simply log in, view the PowerPoint you’ll be going through with them, and make sure you understand what the focus of each slide is (at this point, I usually lay out the props I’ll be using as well – things like puppets, flash cards, and my white board). As if that’s not easy enough, at the bottom of each slide you’ll find “teacher instructions,” telling you exactly how to present the slide to your student.

Preparing for each 30-minute class takes me between 5 and 10 minutes, but according to my cousin-in-law (who has been teaching with VIPKID for over 2 years), this time decreases as you continue teaching, because you’ll often be revisiting the same PowerPoints continually.

It allows you to work from home, even as a full-time parent!

This is easily my favorite part of being a VIPKID teacher. Even as a full-time mom to a wild toddler, I can put a couple hours of “work” in per day, and make a very reasonable income. It feels really good to have my own side hustle – especially one that provides a consistent inflow of money and puts a smile on my face. 🙂 Considering the price of childcare, I have felt so overwhelmed at the prospect of even finding a job that would allow me to do more than “break even” at the end of the week. This way, I don’t have to find a sitter, but I can still make some extra money by just waking up a couple hours earlier. Worth it, in my book!

All in all, if you’re someone who doesn’t mind working early mornings or weekend evenings, can handle being goofy on the job, is responsible enough to set aside money for taxes, and wants to make a genuine difference in the life of many children – then this might just be the job for you!

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Me in my “classroom” 🙂

If you want to apply to become a VIPKID teacher, click HERE, and then email me at kelsiewilhoit@gmail.com so I can coach you through the application and interview process. Your success on those two stages will determine your base pay – so don’t hesitate to ask for help! It’s what I’m here for! 🙂

kelsieesther

6 Things I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage Until I Had One

For anyone who is going through a miscarriage or knows someone who is: all the things I wish someone had told me!

For those of you that don’t know, about two months ago (June 27, 2017), I suffered a miscarriage.

Well, more specifically, I went to my regularly scheduled 12-week checkup and found out that my baby no longer had a heartbeat. I suppose you could say the next day (June 28th) was when I “truly” had my miscarriage – in the form of a procedure that removed my sweet baby’s body from mine.

This experience (and the weeks that followed) was one of the most jarring, shocking, uncomfortable things I’ve ever experienced (is uncomfortable the right word? I don’t care – it’s how I felt, and I’m sticking to it).

What shocked me, though, was how much I didn’t know about miscarriage before actually staring one in the face.

So, for anyone who’s curious, or anyone who has had a sister / mom / daughter / niece / coworker / friend / acquaintance suffer a miscarriage, here are a few things you might want to know:

1. You don’t always pass the baby “naturally.”

Being 12 weeks pregnant, I wasn’t given the option to wait and pass my child “naturally.” I’m sure if I had asked my doctor about it, she would have talked me through it, but frankly I was so shocked, I just cried, nodded, and did everything she told me to do. According to her, it’s safer (especially past 10 weeks) to simply go in and remove the fetus while under sonogram, because it ensures that there will be no tissues left behind (which could cause infections or other problems in the future).

To be honest, I always thought miscarriages just… I don’t know, “happened.” I didn’t even know there was a procedure for this specific incidence. I suppose I never had to think about it before, thankfully. Needless to say, I was incredibly thankful to have access to good healthcare during this whole process. My doctor, nurses, and anesthesiologist were all top-notch, and I’m so thankful that everything went as planned.

2. Some miscarriages are EXPENSIVE.

Wait, what?! You’re telling me that, not only did my baby pass away, and not only do I have to undergo surgery… but I have to pay almost $6000 for it?! Talk about adding insult to injury. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour some lemon juice on it?! (Sorry, is it not normal to quote “The Princess Bride” when talking about serious subjects? My bad. You might need to find a different blog if that’s not your jam).

This was probably one of the MOST surprising things, to me. Again, I never had to think about it before (hallelujah), but holy cow. My husband and I are on a preeeeeetty good healthcare plan, even after insurance adjustments, we owe a lot. of. dough.

I just kept thinking to myself, “I mean, yeah, giving birth to my daughter cost nearly $3,000… but at least I got to bring her home with me, you know?”

Of course, this one all depends on your healthcare plan and if you’ve met your deductible and lots of other boring adult shiz, but still – a D&C (the procedure I had) is nooooooot cheap.

3. You will have postpartum hormones, but you might not realize they’re postpartum hormones.

This one threw me for a loop. I mean, lots of people told me to “Just let yourself feel what you feel. Let it out. Cry. Eat ice cream. Watch Netflix. Rest. Do whatever you need to do. Get alone time. Sleep.” But nobody warned me of the fact that I would literally have postpartum hormones (which, for some of us, means hardcore, boot-licking, ass-kicking depression).

Of course, again – this is different for everyone – but the fact is, your body has to come down from the high of pregnancy hormones one way or another. If you’re one of those people who can gracefully come down from your Beyonce-queen-iambeautiful-pregnantsexgoddess hormones, well good for you, please leave the rest of us alone to cry in the shower in peace.

For me, post-miscarriage hormones meant HELLA stubborn, painful acne on way too many parts of my body, crying at basically the drop of a pin, sleeping constantly, wanting to strangle my husband, sobbing in the bathroom, craving weird foods (and lots of them), and wanting to snuggle my daughter 99% of the day (she’s 2. She wasn’t a fan). Keep in mind, all that on TOP of grieving the child I had just lost. Can you even imagine?! I couldn’t either. And I had NO clue what was happening.

When one of my friends reached out a few weeks later and asked if I had been suffering with postpartum hormones, I literally smacked myself in the forehead because I HAD NEVER CONSIDERED IT. I mean, hello, I’m an intelligent young woman with a college degree, and the thought just never crossed my mind… but suddenly, it all made sense!!

In the end, it’s hard to tell what’s grief and what’s hormonal. But I will say – the grief subsided, and some of those damn zits still haven’t. GET THE PICTURE, HORMONES. CATCH UP, WILL YA? SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES, THX.

4. Guilt is a major player in most miscarriages.

After my miscarriage, I talked to lots and lots and LOTS of women who had miscarriages. Unfortunately, there was a common thread: guilt.

Some moms feel guilty in the sense that they must have done something to cause the miscarriage. Was it because I ate that undercooked egg last week? Was it because I had sex the other day? Was I playing my music too loud?

(Yes, pregnant women are crazy. We have to be. We HAVE THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD IN OUR BELLIES, GET OVER IT).

Some women feel guilty because they don’t feel as much grief as they think they should. Some women feel guilty because their grief consumes them, and it takes them a long, long time to function normally again.

I fell into the former category.

Don’t get me wrong, guys: I loved that baby. I fell in love with that child the moment I saw those little pink double lines. I imagined his life (we weren’t sure about the gender, but I felt SO STRONGLY that he was a boy: our little Desmond). I thought about what he would look like, what he would be like, what things he would do and feel and see and think. I imagined that he’d be tall, like his dad, and possibly athletic, but also very sensitive – perhaps a soccer player // guitarist? I digress.

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Okay so I lied, the lines were blue. BUT STILL. LOOK HOW EXCITED.

And yet, throughout this entire heartwrenching process, I felt very peaceful. Did I cry? Like a baby. Did I wonder if I had done something wrong? Of course. Was I shocked? 100%. But I felt, in my heart, that God had his hands all over us and our situation. It just felt… I’m not sure. Right? Meant to be? In the very least, it felt okay. I was at peace pretty quickly, when it came to my miscarriage. I can’t say why, specifically, but I knew it just wasn’t the right time.

And then, of course, I felt guilty for not grieving more, which is silly.

Every woman is different. Every situation is different. If you’re going through a miscarriage, grieve the way YOU need to. If someone you know is going through a miscarriage, allow them space to grieve the way THEY need to. They may recover quickly – that’s great. They may need more time – that’s great too. Be there for them either way.

5. You will cry, and you will have no idea why you’re crying.

My situation was a little unique, since I had a 2 year-old to take care of.

But lemme tell you – once she was asleep for the night, the barricade came down (CAN YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?) and the flood. came. forth.

I curled up in bed and sobbed like a baby while my husband rubbed my arm. I took long showers and – you guessed it – cried like a baby. I went for drives, and suddenly realized I was crying without even noticing. Oh, and as I’m typing this? Crying. No idea why, just – crying.

This went on for three or four days, and then I fell down the stairs and injured my back so badly that I couldn’t walk – which distracted me pretty well for about a week.

But every so often, I still cry.

The most random things trigger me: a friend’s pregnancy announcement, a newborn baby being passed around at church, a Charmin commercial featuring a dog playing with a toddler (I told you, random).

But that’s okay. It’s all part of the process. If that’s you, don’t feel bad. Don’t judge yourself. You’re human – welcome to the world, there are about 7 billion of us.

6. Miscarriage is SO. DANG. COMMON.

First of all, my doctor told me that ONE IN THREE WOMEN WILL HAVE A MISCARRIAGE IN HER LIFETIME. Like, hold the phone. One in three?! 1/3rd?! 33.33%?! How was I never taught this before?! Why wasn’t I more prepared for this inevitability?! Honestly, I kinda didn’t believe her (but then she told me about HER miscarriage and I was like “Okay lady, I believe you”).

Secondly, after sharing about my miscarriage on Facebook, approximately 3246234987 women reached out to tell me about their miscarriages. Most of them, I had NO CLUE about.

Then, when I called my insurance company to talk about payments and such, the WOMAN ON THE PHONE WITH ME TOLD ME ABOUT HER 3 MISCARRIAGES.

Like, hold the phone. All these women have had miscarriages and I didn’t know about it until now?!

It makes me think of what one of my friends said: it’s like a really big club you hope you never have to join, but once you do, you’re really glad the club is there.

100% true. Miscarriage is so, so, so common. Does that make it suck less? No. But, for me, it helped to know so many other amazing women had gone through similar things.

May I just say? Women are strong and amazing and I just love all of us. If you are a woman reading this, please know that I am mentally and emotionally giving you a massive hug and telling you how stellar and beautiful and strong you are.

So, here’s my point in all this:

For those of you going through a miscarriage right now:

Listen to your doctor, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t freak out about the money stuff (at least, not until much later). If you’re not sure why you feel super weird, blame your postpartum hormones (and talk to your doctor). You did your best, sister. Don’t waste time with feeling guilty. Guilt only serves to keep you down for longer – and you’re too awesome to be weighed down by all that. And finally: cry, cry, cry. Let it out. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re weak for crying. FEEL what you need to feel. Grieve the way YOU need to. I’ll be right here rooting for you, praying for you, and believing in you.

For those of you with a loved one going through a miscarriage:

Be her advocate. Ask her doctor / nurse / anesthesiologist questions, if she doesn’t feel up to it. Ask her what she needs, rather than giving her what you think she needs. Remind her that it’s not her fault. Remind her that you’re there. Remind her that she won’t always feel this hopeless. Let her cry, and don’t judge her for it. Let her cry in the shower, on the floor, or on your shoulder, if that’s what she needs. And if she has a spouse/partner, comfort them as well. They’re grieving too: just in a different way, possibly.

And just for the record, anyone who has suffered a miscarriage and needs to talk, can always pop me an email at kelsiewilhoit@gmail.com. I’m here. 🙂

Love you much!

kelsieesther

Jolie’s “Busy Bench” (our version of the Busy Board!)

For Jolie’s first birthday, we decided to make her a Busy Board! Click for tips & pictures of the final product. 🙂

 

Let me tell you – it’s been a bittersweet week.

Sweet, because Jolie turned ONE last week! 🙂

Bitter, because Colson left for Army Basic Training exactly a week later. 😦

*all the feels*

Before he left, though, we had a project to work on together, which I’m incredibly thankful for – Jolie’s Busy Bench.

Continue reading “Jolie’s “Busy Bench” (our version of the Busy Board!)”