If you’ve been thinking about applying to be a VIPKID teacher, but you’re not sure where to start, how about starting with the things that you need to have in hand! You can take a look at my breakdown of my experience as a VIPKID teacher to get more information about my experience getting hired and working for VIPKID.
First things first, every teacher will need a laptop or a desktop computer for the interview process. Once you are hired, you can teach on an iPad, but you will need a computer in order to get hired. You can not use a Chromebook as a hired VIPKID teacher as the VIPKID app will not work.
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What are the absolute must-have items for teaching with VIPKID?
Comfortable headphones with a microphone: (some people report that their apple earbuds and airpods work well for this, but my experience is that they aren’t powerful enough to pick up the nuances in pronunciation and you will want a headset style shown below.
A mouse: If you’re teaching on a laptop, the interactive features of VIPKID are challenging to use with a touchpad. I have a mouse that I use strictly for teaching VIPKID and I’m glad to own it.
A classroom: Wait! Don’t panic! My “classroom” is the corner of our office and I have a few educational materials on the wall behind me. Yes, you’ll see some elaborate classroom settings online. This isn’t necessary! Grab a colorful map and you’re good to go! Essentially VIPKID doesn’t want to be looking into your kitchen while you teach. They want you to present a professional and welcoming classroom environment, even if you’re teaching in pajama pants.
A webcam: Your built in webcam might be okay for teaching, but often they are not. If your image is dark, blurry or showing colors incorrectly, you’ll want an external camera. Fortunately, you can get one that works well without spending a fortune. The webcam I use is linked below.
What props do I need to teach for VIPKID?
In VIPKID props are the name of the game and you could go broke buying props to support all of the material that we teach. I am a bit of a teaching minimalist so I like to have a few key things on hand. (There’s an entire community of people who are into digital props, but you’ll want to wait until you are hired before you dive into that!) You will definitely want to have the following items on hand:
A whiteboard: Your whiteboard will be a hugely valuable tool in your classroom, but it doesn’t need to be an expensive one. Head to your nearest dollar store and pick up one or two and you’re good to go.
A reward system: For my interview, mock classes and the first couple of months teaching, I had one reward system – donuts! VIPKID encourages rewarding students so you’ll “give” them a prize. I found colorful illustrations of donuts, printed them on cardstock and laminated them. You can find a lot free printable reward systems in this collection of items from Teachers Pay Teachers. (There is a lot of great stuff for teachers on this list, so even if you’re not looking for a reward, this is a great resource.)
Flash cards: You can buy these or make your own, but if you’re teaching Level 1 or 2, having flashcards on hand is helpful.
A puppet or a stuffed animal: Having a puppet or a stuffed animal helps when you are modeling what you want the student to do. If you have a shy student, or one who is in the pre-verbal stage of language development, you can have the puppet do what you are hoping the student will do. My students know that my panda is my classroom pet and will often ask to see him.
Note: These are just the basics and I encourage you to start here before you go wild buying or creating props. Once you start teaching lessons you’ll get a sense for the types of props that you’ll need and use often, and often they are things that you already have on hand in your home.
What do I wear while teaching for VIPKID?
Related question: Do I need to wear orange?
No, you don’t! VIPKID asks for “professional attire” and the dress code stops there. That does not mean a suit or even business casual. Basically, that translates to a clean, solid-colored shirt or sweatshirt. Can you wear orange? Sure! Plenty of people do. I do recommend an orange shirt for your interview and mock classes. You can get one for $3 at Michael’s. I’ve been eyeing these shirts that are everywhere on Etsy and I think I might pick one up for my teaching uniform.
If you are thinking about applying to work for VIPKID but you have questions first, please feel free to email me at VIPKIDMeganSam@gmail.com and I would be happy to help!