An Honest Journey


Hi, all. As an update, I am still teaching for VIPKID and loving the flexibility! I’m not currently focused on this topic with my writing. I’ve written about my past experiences with the company, as I’ve been with them for five years. If you are looking for current resources on the hiring process, you may need to specifically reach out to VIPKID about the hiring process. I last updated this information in January 2020. Thank you!

Hello, friends. As I sit down to write this blog post, I’m realizing it’s been over two years since my last VIPKID update.

If you’re unfamiliar with VIPKID, it’s an online platform where students in China can learn English from a teacher who is native to the U.S. or Canada. Most online classrooms are set up as a one-to-one ratio.

With my first year on the job, I was dedicated to sharing my experience with others through my blog.

You can check out those first-year blog posts from 2016-17 below…

First Month Experience with VIPKID

3 Month Update with VIPKID

6 Month Follow-Up with VIPKID & Common Questions

How This Job Benefited Me During the Unexpected

First Year with VIPKID

The company was just three years old back in 2016, and many people were unfamiliar with teaching online. After my first year, I took a break from writing specifically about VIPKID due to life events pulling my writing in a different direction.

Needless to say, the question, “Are you still teaching online?” has come up quite often over the last two years, and the answer is YES!

I’m still loving the option to teach online. Nothing beats the flexibility and freedom that this job provides. While the company has grown tremendously over the past few years, I’m still impressed with VIPKID’s commitment to education and their willingness to support teachers. 

Right now, many of my Chinese students are continuing to celebrate the Chinese New Year by taking trips back to their hometowns and spending time with family and friends. Most students have cut back the number of classes they take online during this time which has enabled me to spend this time writing a VIPKID update. Yippee!

The hiring process has changed in 2020. In my opinion, the company continues to evolve for the better. VIPKID is dedicated to hiring teachers who are certified, well-prepared for the online classroom, and willing to continue their education through meet-ups, workshops, online forums, and so forth.

If this seems like a job for you, and you’re ready to begin the application process, continue reading and don’t forget to use my referral application link!

1. Application Requirements

To apply to become an online teacher, VIPKID asks that applicants have a Bachelor’s degree (not necessarily in Education). Applicants also need to have two-years experience working with children. This can be through coaching, being a teacher’s aide, a nanny, camp counselor, etc. You must also have legal eligibility to work within either the United States or Canada.

2. Demo Class

The demo class is where you, the applicant, review and teach 6 slides from a VIPKID lesson. Before doing the demo lesson, there is a brief quiz. There are then two options on how to go about this process. The first option is the Smart Demo. This allows you to submit a pre-recorded video in which you show your skills teaching the slides (see specifics on how to do this under Mock Classes in Part 3). The recorded video will then be reviewed by the VIPKID team, and the teacher will be asked to re-record the video or continue on to step 3.

If you are asked to re-record your demo video, don’t get discouraged! VIPKID sees your potential, they may just need you to tweak a few things in your presentation before moving forward. Take the time to make the adjustments before resubmitting. With this pre-recorded demo option, the applicant has time to practice, practice, practice before submitting the best recording.

The second option is for the applicant to set up a live interview with someone on the hiring team in China. This was the only option when I was hired. I’ve recently heard mixed reviews on this, as sometimes the interviewer is difficult to hear or understand. I didn’t have any issues with this option when I was hired, but it’s nice to see that VIPKID is creating options for this demo part of the application process. You will still need to prepare to teach the 6 assigned slides in front of the interviewer. This second option allows the applicant to talk to a real person. If you have questions, concerns, or need clarification on something, this second option may be a better fit for you.

3. Mock Class(es):

This is the most important part of the hiring process, in my opinion. The mock classes allow the applicant to teach through an entire 25-minute lesson with a mentor/VIPKID teacher. The mock teacher I had was wonderful and willing to coach me with where I needed to improve. I hope this is the case for everyone, as I learned a lot from my mentor and felt encouraged in the process.

The mock class lesson slides will be given to you beforehand so that you can review them and practice them at home. I give simple tips on how to properly prepare for a mock class in this blog post that was featured by VIPKID in 2017, or you can continue reading for additional tips.  

Back when I was hired in 2016, it was very common for an applicant to just take one mock class, and then get hired. Now, it’s more common for applicants to take two or more mock classes if necessary. If this happens during the hiring process for you, once again, don’t get discouraged! The more mock classes you take, the more prepared you’ll be for the real thing. Which means you’ll have more children asking their parents to book you as their teacher because you’ve properly prepared to teach a 25-minute lesson.

When preparing for the mock class, remember this is geared toward a level 2 student. Level 2 students are typically ages 4, 5, and 6. With that said, if teaching older children is your thing, you can eventually get certified to teach the higher levels. I find that the students gravitate to your strong suit, so if you thrive at level 3, you will get more level 3 students. If you thrive at level 1, you’ll get more level 1 students. It’s really all about how you interact with students at that level.  

For the mock class, the level 2 student may or may not be able to respond to questions such as, “What is your name?” or “How old are you?” Most students can answer with one-word responses, but he/she may need encouragement and help with making a complete sentence. Come with props that relate to the lesson material. If you have young children in your home this might be easy for you! If not, hit up the dollar store. Really, you don’t need anything super expensive.

Puppets go a long way, as you can ask the puppet a question, and it can then “respond”. You can then have the puppet ask the student the same question, expecting the student to respond. Always smile, be encouraging, and avoid harsh corrections.

Be sure to thoroughly review each slide and have a plan for how you will go about engaging your student. Think “Blippi” from YouTube or Josh from “Blue’s Clue’s and You” on Nick Jr. Be high energy, use facial expressions, smile, nod, and encourage the student with a total physical response (TPR).  

With the mock class, you will only need about one minute per slide. Pacing is key, so it’s important to time yourself when you’re practicing. Try practicing in front of a mirror or even the camera on your computer. Recording yourself and going back to review how you did can do wonders! You should notice where you excelled and where you need to improve. Also, be sure to avoid incidental language, “uhm”, “ugh”, “okay”, etc.

VIPKID wants teachers who know how to interact well with children and who can have a high energy classroom. You could have the most educational experience in the world, but if you’re not actively engaging the student, you most likely won’t be hired. Once again, refer to those young children’s programs and their hosts. They are a great example of how to keep kids interested!

4. Certifications & TESOL

I believe this part of the hiring process is all under “Certifications”, but once you pass your mock class, you will choose to either be certified in levels 2 & 3, or levels 4 & 5.

With that said, just because you choose one option, doesn’t mean you can’t add more levels and special courses to teach in the future. This initial choice is just to get you started, and it will help you learn the ropes in two specific levels before moving forward with your teaching.

At this stage, you will also be required to show that you have TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), CELTA (Certificate in English Teaching to Adults) or another related certificate.

No Fear!

If you do not have this certification, VIPKID has teamed up with TESOL to offer a brief course for you to take in order to be properly trained. If you took Education courses in college, some of this material may seem familiar. The TESOL training course is scheduled to take over 20 hours, but for most people, it does not take this long. I believe it took me a little over 2 hours to complete. Just like your school days, look for key pieces of information; highlight, take notes, and you’ll be just fine for the quizzes within the course material. If you need to take your time, do so.

5. Documents

Yay! You’ve made it! The final stage is simply uploading the proper documents so that you can join the VIPKID team. You will sign your contract, and you will also be required to do a background check. I believe background checks are now a requirement every year. VIPKID contracts are renewed every six months. You’ll also be able to add to your profile and promote yourself to students and parents at this stage.

Even though this is the end of the line for the hiring process, I hope you find that you’re always learning and growing with VIPKID. Workshops are continually offered for both new and veteran teachers. Local meet-ups are a great way to connect with other teachers, learn what other teachers are doing, and encourage all of us to be the best teachers for our students. There’s also VIPKID Journey conferences where teachers from around the world gather to learn more and grow in their teaching skills.

This is truly a dream job for me, and it’s benefited my family greatly. If you have specific questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to comment below or e-mail me at

Also, be sure to use my link if you choose to apply. I’m happy to help coach you in the hiring process and well-after.

Teacher Amber J’s VIPKID Application Link

Email Me with Questions or Let Me Know You’ve Started the Application Process:

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