The VIPKID Booking Frenzy & Tips
Congratulations new VIPKID teachers! Learn how to leverage the VIPKID booking frenzy to start strong with bookings. Don’t forget the 8 other ways to increase your bookings.
If you’re not a VIPKID teacher yet, we’ll get you there in no time. This article, however, will teach new VIPKID teachers how to fill up their bookings using the VIPKID booking frenzy and other proven methods.
Packing Your Own Lunch
Only 10% of applicants become VIPKID teachers. So you’ve definitely earned a mini dance party.
However, you still need to teach classes for it be official. Many new teachers have a hard time getting booked in the beginning.
Unfortunately, VIPKID doesn’t pack your lunch and walk you to the school bus on day one. But we’re a tight group and hundreds of teachers have shared their experiences and techniques so you can learn.
Here I’ve included some of the best booking methods and explained what the VIPKID booking frenzy is, how it affects your bookings, and how to use it to line up a full classroom on day one. In other words, you’ll learn how to pack your own lunch.
The VIPKID Booking Schedule
Before we get into the VIPKID booking frenzy, we need a strong grasp of the basics.
Below is a screenshot of the booking schedule you will see under the “Bookings” tab in your teacher portal.
To open a booking, you first need to hit the orange “Unlock” button on the top right. Now you can select any time/booking slot you want to open for class.
The unlock/lock function is so teachers don’t accidentally open classes and miss them without ever realizing they had a class.
You’ll notice the word “Hot” in some slots. These are the most popular slots for parents to book. The “Hot” slots with the orange flame (7 pm-9 pm Beijing time) are the most popular and best times to get booked.
These slots seriously pay out and you’ll hit a jackpot before going broke for sure. It’s in the house’s favor. The rest will most likely go unbooked unless you have regulars or a high feedback rating, putting you in higher demand.
When you open a time slot, it’ll turn blue meaning it can be booked until 24 hours before the class. The first blue slot on the 23rd above says “Short Notice.” This means it can be booked within 24 hours of class time.
This is such a HUGE small thing. “Short Notice” slots earn you an extra $2 for the class if it’s booked within the 24 hour window. They are also way more likely to get booked because VIPKID HQ uses these to book trial students.
You can make a class “Short Notice” by clicking the class time you want to open, clicking the button for “Course,” then clicking the button for “Short Notice” right below it.
If you open a class time within the 24 hour window, it will automatically be set as a “Short Notice” class. Don’t leave money on the table; use “Short Notice” when you can. But be ready to teach if you do.
Booked classes display in green with the student’s “name.” Their “name” is usually not their real name.
I’ve had a student whose “name” was “Spider-Man”. I have another one who insists I call him “Potato”. So go ahead and ask their name from the start. It’s good practice for them and will save you from an awkward class.
Once a class is booked, you can go to the the “Classrooms” tab to find all the information about your upcoming class. It will have the lesson material you will be teaching, the student’s past performance with teacher’s notes (old version), and the actual “classroom” link you can enter when it’s time to teach.
A gray student slot means that the class is a “Student No Show”. Don’t take it personally. Usually they’ll rebook you if you have the same slot open the following week.
VIPKID HQ can sometimes fill the slot with a trial student if the slot is marked “Short Notice.” What’s cool is you still get paid 50% for “Student No Show” classes, and don’t forget the extra $2 for it being “Short Notice.”
Best case: get paid to inspire a student with your incredible teaching. Worst case: get paid 50% to show up looking good.
This covers the basics when viewing the schedule. Next, we’ll get into the lunch lady special: how to book ’em faster than Danno.
I’ll tell you everything I did, and everything I’ve learned since, that worked. In addition to everything I know that causes low bookings. There’s a breakdown at the end if you prefer bite-sized chunks. But these suggestions are worth savoring.
VIPKID BOOKING FRENZY!!
Here it is! The VIPKID booking frenzy: a make or break for any teacher’s schedule.
The VIPKID booking frenzy is when parents are first given access to select class bookings. When it’s open, parents can book teacher’s up to two weeks before the class time. It happens every Monday at noon Beijing time. Below are the correlated times for major time zones in the U.S.
- EST: 11 pm Sunday (13 hours before)
- CST: 10 pm Sunday (14 hours before)
- MST: 9 pm Sunday (15 hours before)
- PST: 8 pm Sunday (16 hours before)
This is why it’s recommended new teachers open their teaching schedule at least two weeks in advance.
For example, the VIPKID booking frenzy on Monday 1st will give parents first access to teacher bookings the following week, Monday 8th-14th. Parents cannot book teachers past the 14th until Monday the 8th at noon. Then they can book teachers up to the 21st.
Getting a piece of this booking volume is like getting a third serving on Thanksgiving; you won’t have the room for it.
New teachers need to be available for this if they want to succeed with VIPKID. Otherwise, it’s possible you won’t get any classes for the first few weeks because most parents have already booked their classes.
That’s really all there is to it. It’s a shockingly simple thing most new teachers overlook or never learn. But it’s one of the most important things to consider in your schedule until you build a following of regulars.
At that point, you can open classes tomorrow, wait a few hours, and see your schedule for the day filled (it’s good to be needed.)
The VIPKID booking frenzy is necessary to consider when setting your schedule for classes. This will increase your regular class bookings. However, trial classes should be a focus in your schedule.
Let’s say the VIPKID booking frenzy is the sandwich in your successful bookings lunchbox. It’s the central part of your meal. If that’s the case, trial classes are the bag of chips. The sandwich is filling, but the chips make it a meal.
In case that wasn’t clear, trial classes are a big deal. They are booked by VIPKID HQ which means they can be scheduled for any open slot. While rare, this includes slots two or three weeks in advance. This is the best way to build a following of regular students.
Trial classes are the first experience kids will have with VIPKID which means it’s your time to shine. If a trial class student likes your class, they’ll sign up for VIPKID and likely book you again. Also, you get paid an extra $5 if they sign up after your class.
Trial classes are also fantastic for new teachers getting used to the platform. They cover basic intro lessons, and the parents can’t give a rating or feedback for the class, so no pressure to be a five-star rock star on day one.
When you teach regular classes, parents can leave feedback and a rating on the lesson you taught. These are valuable because they increase your rankings on the VIPKID platform. But you really shouldn’t stress over this in the beginning.
When you teach enough trial classes, build confidence, and build a following, feedback and five-apple ratings will come organically. And yes, teachers get apples, students get stars.
Are you certified to teach? Make sure your certifications are visible. If you can’t see them, neither can parents. You can find them in the “Home” tab underneath your profile picture and the number of classes/students taught.
It’s really important you have the MC Trial 3.0 certification because that’s the new trial certification. Without it, you cannot teach trial classes. Your level specific certifications should reflect your choice after passing the mock class.
Go to the Certification Center if you don’t see the appropriate certifications. Go there anyway because there are a ton great opportunities to increase your exposure. Under the “Certifications” tab, you’ll see five sub-categories. Each has value, but “Major Course” are the certifications to teach level-specific classes.
Most of these certifications have prerequisites, but I recommend getting as many as you can. Teaching more levels means more parents can book your class. For example, I do not have my Level 3 Certification which means level 3 students cannot book me.
I always recommend new teachers get more certifications because it will offer more student volume. It’s possible to stay within a level you like and do well though.
I only teach levels 1 and 2 with VIPKID. Now these lessons are like the popcorn setting on the microwave. They’re automatic with consistent class times and quality, so I specialized. As a result, I have a reliable stream of 5-apple ratings which improves my ranking.
In the end, you should teach to your strengths. Lower level students are young, so they will need more active engagement, pronunciation correction, TPR (total physical response), and repetition.
Higher level students are mostly familiar with English so teachers need to converse at the appropriate level, extend beyond the lesson material, and explain higher level grammatical rules.
You will get experience teaching both through trial classes. Even if you’re only certified for lower levels, you’ll get some level 4 or 5 trial students and vice versa. You get to choose which works for you, or choose to teach all levels if you’re a VIPKID all-star. More power to ya!
Writing feedback for students is one area that every new teacher needs to master. You can have a fun class, make a connection with a student, and leave an impression. However, you’re writing a goodbye letter if your feedback is not good enough.
Think about it; parents are paying for a teaching service. They’re happy that their child loves you and has fun. But, “Good job! Can’t wait to see them again,” isn’t good enough. That feels unprofessional and lacking. They want to know areas of improvement, where their child excels, and exercises to practice.
Writing effective feedback isn’t discussed thoroughly outside a few workshops. This means you will stand out if you know how to write thoughtful feedback that can lead to real improvements.
VIPKID has a program called LingoBus. It’s the same idea in reverse. On LingoBus, English-speaking students learn Chinese from native Chinese teachers. I read reviews about it because I wanted to apply to learn Chinese. But, like VIPKID, it’s geared only for kids 4-14. Sad panda. 😥
However, I learned the biggest complaint from American parents: feedback. Some feedback was pretty good as far as quality and ways to improve. The problem is that these recommendations don’t translate well.
It’s one thing to say a child needs to practice memorizing the alphabet. It’s another to say they failed to repeat the alphabet properly. And parents won’t consider translation quality when they read their child didn’t do good enough. Most parents are naturally sensitive to criticism about their kids so recommend, don’t condemn.
I use Google translate to get an idea how my feedback sounds. VIPKID does not manually translate feedback for parents. They use an automated translator. I haven’t been able to confirm if it’s Google, WeChat, or someone else, but Google translate sets a good standard.
Obviously, this isn’t foolproof. But it gives insight on how English is interpreted in Chinese. For example, “silly” can be interpreted as “stupid” in Chinese. Something playful can quickly come across as negative. It’s free, takes two minutes, and increases the chances of another class, so why not?
So how do you actually write good feedback? This can mean a lot of things. I take it one slide at a time:
- Start with a greeting. E.g.
- “Hello! It was great to meet Emily.”
- Mention general things they did well like pronunciation, participation, or behavior.
- “She participated very well. She is able to repeat the material very clearly.”
- Take it one slide at a time. I add a comment, positive or improvement, on each teaching slide we reviewed.
- “She was able to match all the uppercase and lowercase letters correctly. She was able to recite the alphabet with some help. I recommend she continue practicing the alphabet so she become more familiar.”
- After the last teaching slide, a brief summary of all the improvements and exercises they should review.
- “Great work! I recommend she practice the alphabet so she becomes more familiar. I suggest she also practice the vocab so she doesn’t forget.”
- It’s a great idea to add what we will continue to practice in future lessons. This also shows that you’re invested in the child’s long-term learning.
- “Her pronunciation has improved. We will continue practice pronouncing the /f/ sound in upcoming lessons.”
- Say goodbye. Add something unique like a reminder of her reward. Also, be sure to include your name at the bottom so they remember you when they rebook.
- “Thanks for the opportunity to teach her today. I look forward to seeing her again. Five flowers, smileys, stickers, etc… -Teacher Luis”
I don’t recommend getting too creative with your feedback. Like I mentioned, certain words and phrases don’t translate well. Focus on getting your message across clearly and then add the frosting.
My First Month with VIPKID
I’d like to share my first month at VIPKID so you can have a better idea of my initial experience. Busy is one word to describe it. Hectic would be a more accurate way to put it.
I was working for a multi-level marketing company, a pyramid scheme, before VIPKID. I’d lost money, time, and several relationships before learning the truth about the company.
I was ready to ask for my old serving job back before I found VIPKID. Down to my last $500, I had less than 30 days to make it work or I’d be evicted.
After full days and nights studying their hiring procedure, watching YouTube videos, and reading blogs, I scheduled my interview and passed. I managed to pass my mock class shortly after.
Below is a peek at my second week with VIPKID. I was all in. I opened every slot I could leaving enough time in between for a few hours of sleep. Most of my classes focused around the peak peak times of 7 pm- 9 pm Beijing time. Weekends were also very busy.
My case is an extreme example. I understand that most people can’t drop everything and devote their first month to teaching. However, that is the fastest way to build your student base when you first start. You don’t have to teach like your life depends on it. But you do need to make a serious commitment if you’re expecting a serious return.
I’ve never had trouble getting booked after this first month. After you see enough students, you’ll build a reliable following. You’ll also collect some parent feedback to attract new students. The sooner this happens, the more control you’ll have over your schedule.
The most important things for your schedule when you start is that you’re available and consistent. I cut my hours a lot after this first month, but I always kept the busiest slots open for weeks in advance.
One, Two, Three More Things…
We’ve covered a lot. There are only a few more points to cover. Congratulations to the readers who’ve made the journey with me. I have a summary of this information at the bottom. However, there’s more to gain by reading the whole article.
Finally, we have your profile picture, biography, and introduction video. There are some things you’ll definitely want to include in each. These three things are a parent’s first impression of you. Excluding your apple ratings, these have the most direct influence on a parent’s decision to book you.
Fortunately, you can easily change these at any time. So if something isn’t working, change it up. Add updates to your life, focus on that summer you volunteered with kids, test pictures of you in a forest with the ones of you on a mountain. VIPKID has to approve changes, but there’s no limit to how often you change things.
Professional is the name of the game. But don’t make the call for a pro photographer just yet. Professional in this case means clean, clear, and excluding friends or family.
I highly recommend a picture that includes your classroom. This will let parents see what to expect. Does your classroom look like an episode of The Wiggles or Elmo’s World? Be sure to let parents see it!
You can use a picture from outside the classroom, but a classroom picture kind of tells it all. Of course, if you have an amazing picture of yourself doing something unique like skydiving or climbing a mountain, that could draw some attention. Although not sure if those fall under professional.
VIPKID will screen your image and let you know if it’s suitable. If not, they will ask for a different one or use one of the additional photos you submit. Your goal should be to stand out. A photo of your classroom can do this well if you put some time into its design.
However, a photo of you receiving an award could also send a powerful message. Your profile picture is a window into your personality. You decide if they’re looking into the patio window or the bathroom window.
Now’s the time to shine! Here’s where you convince parents you can teach their kids better than anyone else. This is when you “WOW” them with your life’s goals, dreams, and aspirations… in under 800 characters.
The fact is you can’t say it all with this limit. So you need to focus on what they want to hear. Focus on your education and experience. That should be the backbone of your “About me” section. If you have more space, add something unique about your teaching style or classroom.
You can include a personal story if you think parents will connect to it. But the safest bet is to focus on your qualifications and hype your experience. Parents are shopping for a teacher to suit their child’s learning needs. Make it clear what you have to offer.
This is needs to be short. Like thirty seconds or less, freaky fast delivery short. VIPKID recommends between 15-20 seconds. But you can get to 30 seconds and be fine.
I would not go past this. It’s best to keep it short and sweet, or fiery and focused. Focus on your experience and your teaching style. Be fired up when you record. Show off a few of your props and give them a catchy sign off.
The goal here is to display your classroom and personality. However, you can still make it personal by adding your own spice to the mix. Family members and pets are allowed to make guest appearances too. If you can edit videos, make a commercial. Have fun with it. You can always change it later.
Did you start teaching in February? Chances are you didn’t see very many bookings your first month. You started when China celebrates their Spring Festival when student’s are on break.
The time you start teaching can have a huge impact on your bookings. There are several large holidays in China that affect nearly every teacher. Below is a short list of them with dates.
If you’d like to see a complete, detailed list of Chinese holidays that could affect your bookings for the next two years, see the Chinese Public Holiday Calendar.
Don’t give up if you don’t see bookings right away. There are so many factors to consider when increasing your bookings. We’ve explored several but VIPKID is constantly growing. What works today may not work tomorrow. Let us know in the comments if there is something we missed so others have the chance to change a student’s life.
- Explore the VIPKID platform and open some bookings. Open as many as you can comfortably manage. Try to open a few time slots a week or two in advance.
- Don’t forget to enable “Short Notice” to increase your bookings if you’re available to teach within 24 hours of opening a slot. Also, an extra $2 per “Short Notice” adds up.
- The VIPKID booking frenzy can increase your bookings when you open classes two weeks in advance before noon Beijing time. See “VIPKID Booking Frenzy!!” above for different time zones.
- Get certified for trial classes and make them your regulars showing them a fun VIPKID class. Watch trial classes turn into major courses as you become a better VIPKID teacher.
- Get certified in everything you can. Or at least every thing you’re comfortable teaching. Certify to teach younger students, older students, or both under the “Certifications” tab.
- Write thoughtful, actionable feedback for your students. Explain where they excel and where they need to improve. Know how to say this in a clear, translatable way. Google Translate is your friend.
- Choose a professional, clean profile picture. No guests in the photo.
- Write about your teaching credentials and experience in your biography, or “About Me” section.
- Make a short video showing your classroom, personality, props, enthusiasm, and anything else you want to share so parents know why they should book you. Thirty seconds or less.
- Be patient. Unless you’re opening a dozen classes a day two weeks in advance, it’ll take time to build momentum. Did you start during a Chinese holiday?
Want to Apply?
If you already know you want to work for VIPKID, apply here. I can help you every step of the way! I’ve already gone through the process myself. I’ve also helped several others become VIPKID teachers.
Still curious? Learn how VIPKID started from the founder, CEO Cindy Mi.
Still have some questions? Feel free to message us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.