Getting a job with VIPKid 2 weeks before traveling the world for 7 months was exciting but a little daunting. It’s already nerve-racking to get a new job. But, imagine you get a new job with the uncertainty of travel, too.
Well, it worked out in the end.
I read a few blogs, watched Youtube and found a way to make my job with VIPKid thrive!
Here are 5 tips that I found most helpful when I was just getting started. Hope they help you out, too!
This has to be the most crucial thing, and sometimes the hardest thing to control while traveling. I invested in a ring light that I can clip on to my desk or table. Sometimes I would cover it with a white paper bag so the lighting wouldn’t be so harsh on my face.
Lighting was something that kept coming up in my mentor sessions. If you have poor lighting you can look scary to the kids. VIPKid is of course really concerned about that! Some kids already start crying because they are scared to speak. Making sure you look friendly and have warm lighting is super important. It also helps the kids see your emotional cues and mouth movements so they can learn the language with strong social cues.
The other helpful thing with lighting is to move existing lights around in the room. Also, remmeber to close the windows or blinds because it creates a glare. It is is counter-intuitive, but window light creates too many shadows. Stick with a floor lamp in front of you and the ring light directed at your face. Once you have the set-up don’t move it! That’s sometimes the hardest part when you are working with limited spaces or hotel rooms. Or, take a picture to remember the set-up and save time when you stage it next time.
Look at the download speed. Ideally above 14 mbsp
2. Internet Speed
Another crucial thing. Make sure wherever you stay that they can guarantee a minimum Download speed of 14 mbsp. The upload speed is not really that important. Higher than 14 mbsp is recommended. VIPKID will probably also ask you for a screen shot using speedtest.com
You can ask your Airbnb host or hotel to do this test and send a screenshot if you are concerned. This is important, otherwise you will experience cut-off classes and video and audio delays.
3. Dedicated Space
VIPKid has pretty strict requirements for visuals. I think the easiest thing to do is to have your classroom set up and be able to leave it up all the time. But, it’s also ideal if it is your dedicated space.
It’s important that you have a set space to do your classes. I learned this having roommates (who were very considerate). They let me have the living room when I needed it, in the middle of the day. I’m still indebted to them!
If your roommates or partner are sleeping when you’re teaching, it is going to be hard to be at your best teaching self for the kids. Having another room or divider of some kind will help prepare your mind for teaching, and allow others to feel comfortable sharing space with you.
4. Orange Shirt.
As funny as it sounds, putting on the orange shirt at 7 in the morning helped me with mental preparedness. It is not always easy waking up early and acting like you are a cast member of Disney. Having that cue to get into the teaching mindset helped me jump in and start the VIPKid day right.
5. Felt Background.
Traveling with a white felt background was one of the best tips I got before moving abroad. You can cut out felt in other colors and they naturally stick on to the other felt. It packs up super easy and it doesn’t really show wrinkles when you post it up wherever you go.
The only trouble I had at times was taping it up to the wall. Sometimes it would fall, and sometimes it would tear some paint. I always used painter’s tape but every place has different paint conditions. It is something to test before putting tape all over the wall. Usually, it wasn’t a huge problem.
Make sure to get some paper rewards like stars or cars and you can tape them onto the felt when your kid earns it. It worked really well for me and the kids loved it.
The last thing is the whiteboard. It was a lifesaver and created a much more dynamic classroom. Get 3 colors of dry erasers so you can draw ice cream cones and pizza and write words. The kids’ eyes would always light up when I got the whiteboard out.
If you’re thinking about joining VIPKid, please use my referral code! Thanks 🙂