SCHOOLS AND RECRUITERS REVIEWS
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Jennifer - 2016-03-02
In response to AVOID VipKids (Robert)

Dear Robert,

I am so sorry to hear about your hard time with the Practicum process at VIPKID. I would like to share some of my experiences working for the company as well. I am an African-American who started working for this company about 7 months ago and my husband has been working for the company since the very beginning- about a year and a half now. When I applied I was hired immediately from my interview! I got a perfect score on my interview even and had my interviewer laughing during my demo lesson! Then I moved on to Practicum 1. I was under the impression that Practicum 1 would be very similar to my Demo class so I was expecting to immediately pass it. I did well on my first practicum, however I was requested to complete practicum 2. The feedback I received for my first practicum had a lot to do with my ability to instruct the student to use their own mouse to work on the slides (I was using a laptop and trackpad so didn't have an actual mouse with me during my practicum), and also I forgot to continue using the reward system throughout the class. But, I had heard such good things from my husband about the company that I went on to Practicum 2. My first date for practicum 2 had to be rescheduled since I hadn't received the lesson in advance to prepare, but finally was able to complete Practicum 2 and passed. What I noticed about the whole process was that for each stage, (demo lesson, practicum 1, practicum 2) they are looking for specific skills: how energetic, enthusiastic and engaging you are as a teacher, how well you are able to model and demonstrate expectations to students in addition to giving them verbal instructions, and how well you are able to differentiate and accommodate for varying english levels and the efficacy of your teaching strategy. I agree, the process is quite long and time consuming, but justifiably so I believe. Teaching English online is much much different from teaching English in a classroom. You will encounter added distractions: friends being over at their house, students completing lessons at their parents work, parents interfering during the lesson, etc... I even had one student who would always get up from the class and go do other things in the house, I didn't have much support from the parent to bring their child back to the class, so the majority of my class with this student was spent singing songs, doing funny dances, drawings, anything I could think of to bring the student back to class. Therefore, VIPKID tries to equip potential teachers with as much information to help adjust to this new medium of teaching.

Another reason, I personally think the process is so long and in depth, is to serve as a weed-out space for teachers who may not be as committed in the future- if a teacher isn't willing to prepare during the hiring process, why would they be committed to preparing for their classes when they will have much more autonomy? When I started having my first classes I was actually quite grateful for the amount of time I had to put into applying for the job. I understood the expectations of VIPKID and I was able to apply my own creativity to the classroom as well. Since I started working for VIPKID, I have received a passing Monthly evaluation for 6 months (my first evaluation I did not pass because I was still becoming acquainted with everything). Due to my consistently high evaluation scores, and VIPKID's desire to expand, I was promoted to a Practicum Evaluator. I have been evaluating Practicums since January. I do at least 10 practicums a week, and in that time I have only failed 2 teachers, and have only passed 2 teachers immediately from Practicum 1 to teaching. That means well over the majority of the Practicums I evaluate go to Practicum 2. This isn't because I am a hard evaluator, this is because I want to make sure the teacher is able to give a quality lesson and that their students will actually learn English during their class! I also put a lot of thought into my scores. I try to be as fair as possible in my evaluations and in my feedback during the evaluation. A lot of the teachers I see do good job, but I have to ask myself: would their "good job" be enough for the most challenging student? is their "good job" enough to keep a student re-booking classes? VIPKID is definitely more about the quality of the classroom experience than anything else.

For those of you reading this who are thinking of applying to VIPKID, I can give some of the things I personally look for during my Practicums. This will not be the same for every evaluator as we all come from different experiences in the classroom and value some things more than others. These are simply the things I personally think influence student participation and understanding in an actual classroom.

1. Timing: your pacing is very important to me, but I would much rather you go over time and give a quality and level appropriate lesson than for you to complete the lesson in exactly 25 minutes and the student not have learned very much. DO NOT stress out over timing- you get 1 point out of a possible 44 points for spending an appropriate amount of time on each slide.

2. Props: this is a great way to keep students attention and reinforce understanding. Find ways to effectively incorporate props in the classroom. It also shows an evaluator that you did more preparation than just looking through the slides 20 minutes before your evaluation.

3. Model/demonstrations: your student's english level will vary from very low to very high. When you are teaching your low level learners, as an evaluator I want to see you demonstrate and model your expectations for the student on each slide. If you just give verbal directions, I can almost guarantee you that I will look at you like I have no idea what is going on! :)

4. creativity: i believe teaching is an art form and that teachers are very creative- let's see some of the creativity and your personality! Take advantage of using different voices, varying the volume of your voice, acting out some of the words or slides, even being creative with what your reward system is- it doesn't have to be the one in the lesson. I want to see how you can make each lesson relevant, engaging, and meaningful for your student.

5. Preparation: this goes without saying, but it's important to still be familiar with the lesson before teaching it. The Teacher Directions are there to assist you during your planning and to serve as a reminder if you do forget during the class. But, in the same way that you would not be reading from your lesson plan in a regular classroom, you should not be reading directly from the TD during class either. This means you are familiar with what the target letters, words, and sentences are for each lesson and you have a plan for how you are going to provide instruction, and that you have tried to incorporate some of the aforementioned items in your lesson, too.

Finally, 6. Teacher- Student Speaking Ratio: when you are teaching you should never move from any slide where the student has not spoken. VIPKID likes teachers to try and follow a 30:70 ratio where the teacher speaks 30% of the time and the student speaks 70% of the time. How you measure that exactly is up to you, but from an evaluators standpoint, I want to see that you are letting the student speak on each slide, not just completing the activity.

I hope this post has been helpful. So sorry for the length. I think VIPKID has done an excellent job of trying to mirror some assistance teachers would receive in a normal teaching setting. Teachers are required to go through a practicum before teaching, much in the same way that teachers in University have to complete a Student-Teaching program before getting their degree/graduating. They conduct monthly evaluations of teachers, in the same way that you would receive announced and unannounced observations in a classroom (at least if you are teaching in the US), they also provide a space for teachers to support each other, and they try to be as available as time difference will allow to answer questions, resolve any problem, and clarify any misunderstanding for teachers. Another characteristic that I appreciate about the company is that they value and encourage teacher-feedback. They want to hear from teachers and hear how lessons and slides work in the classroom, and this feedback is considered by Education.

Thanks so much for reading, and if you are applying for VIPKID I hope this clarified some of your questions and I hope to see you during Practicum!

For Robert, again I'm very sorry for your bad experience with the Practicum process and best of luck with your future pursuits! :)

Sincerely,
Jennifer

P.S. I won't get paid or promoted or receive any sort of incentive for having posted this response.

Messages In This Thread
AVOID VipKids -- Robert -- 2015-11-19
Re AVOID VipKids -- Chad P -- 2017-08-28
Re AVOID VipKids -- Anonymous Teacher -- 2017-09-05
Re AVOID VipKids -- Seth -- 2017-05-17
Re AVOID VipKids -- Tess -- 2017-06-12
Re AVOID VipKids -- Strange Interview -- 2017-09-15
Re AVOID VipKids -- Mum's Troll -- 2017-09-16
(Message Deleted by Poster) -- Anonymous Teacher -- 2017-09-05
Re: Re AVOID VipKids AKA eslauthority.com -- Pissed -- 2017-09-05
Re: Re AVOID VipKids AKA eslauthority.com -- Anonymous Teacher -- 2017-09-05
Re AVOID VipKids -- Michelle -- 2017-07-17
Re AVOID VipKids -- Chophouse -- 2017-06-27
Re AVOID VipKids -- Poster -- 2017-06-16
Re AVOID VipKids -- T.D. -- 2017-05-19
Re AVOID VipKids -- Bob -- 2017-05-18
Re AVOID VipKids -- jingin -- 2017-05-12
Re AVOID VipKids -- Pissedoff -- 2017-08-26
Re AVOID VipKids -- Chadderton Pride -- 2017-08-27
Re AVOID VipKids -- Vic -- 2017-05-10
Re AVOID VipKids -- FTinPRC -- 2017-05-11
Re AVOID VipKids -- Sam -- 2017-01-25
Re AVOID VipKids -- Master Blaster -- 2017-06-16
Re AVOID VipKids -- languagelady -- 2017-04-05
Re AVOID VipKids -- chophouse -- 2017-02-05
checks in the mail -- Trump diplomacy -- 2017-02-05
Re checks in the mail -- Great Online Teacher -- 2017-09-08
Re checks in the mail -- CSH -- 2017-09-09
Re checks in the mail -- Silverboy -- 2017-09-08
Re checks in the mail -- chophouse -- 2017-02-09
Re AVOID VipKids - checks in the mail -- Denise -- 2017-02-24
Re AVOID VipKids -- Dawn -- 2016-09-06
Re AVOID VipKids -- Vanessa -- 2016-07-14
Re: Re AVOID VipKids -- Been There -- 2016-08-02
Re AVOID VipKids -- Kevin -- 2016-04-19
Re AVOID VipKids -- Al -- 2016-03-02
Re AVOID VipKids -- J Bob -- 2017-07-06
Re AVOID VipKids -- Chophouse -- 2017-07-09
Re AVOID VipKids -- frustratedvipkidapplicant -- 2017-07-17
Re AVOID VipKids -- Anonymous -- 2017-04-22
Re AVOID VipKids -- Melody -- 2017-07-20
Re AVOID VipKids -- Meg -- 2016-05-04
Re AVOID VipKids -- Degreeconcerns -- 2017-08-30
Re AVOID VipKids -- chophouse -- 2016-03-29
Re AVOID VipKids -- chophouse -- 2016-03-16
Re AVOID VipKids -- Dawn lucas -- 2017-04-27
Re AVOID VipKids -- Sara M. -- 2016-03-02
Re AVOID VipKids -- Justrejectedbyvipkid -- 2017-03-24
Re: Re AVOID VipKids -- Pagodorette -- 2017-03-26
Re AVOID VipKids -- Jennifer -- 2016-03-02
Re AVOID VipKids -- Anonymous -- 2017-05-21
Re AVOID VipKids -- MSA -- 2016-05-12
Re AVOID VipKids -- Extraordinarykim -- 2016-05-13
Re AVOID VipKids -- MSA -- 2016-05-20
Re AVOID VipKids -- Extraordinarykim -- 2016-05-20
Re AVOID VipKids -- rebekah -- 2017-07-21
Re AVOID VipKids -- edz -- 2017-07-31
Re AVOID VipKids -- whitvolt -- 2016-03-02
Re AVOID VipKids -- Sally -- 2016-02-14
Re AVOID VipKids -- Diana -- 2015-12-29
Re AVOID VipKids -- Raman Noodle Warrior -- 2015-12-31
Re AVOID VipKids -- Drea -- 2015-11-29
Re AVOID VipKids -- Paula -- 2017-06-03
Re AVOID VipKids -- Daniel -- 2017-08-29
Re AVOID VipKids -- Breann -- 2017-09-05
Re AVOID VipKids-51 talk -- [Poster] -- 2017-09-06
Re AVOID VipKids-51 talk -- Great Online Teacher -- 2017-09-08
Re AVOID VipKids-51 talk -- Gonzo -- 2017-09-08
Re AVOID VipKids -- tinuviel -- 2017-06-09
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