Monday, September 9, 2019

VIPKID: How I Prepare for Classes

Happy Monday! Today, I am sharing how I prepare for my VIPKID classes. I typically teach 5 classes a day so I have a system down to streamline my prep and make it go pretty quick!  Before I share how I prep for my daily classes let's talk about preparing for Trial classes.

Trial Classes:
If you have a Trial certification, I suggest preparing for EACH trial class (there are 6) when you get the certification and then you never have to again! You should have access to Trial lessons on your teaching portal (at a quick glance I can find Level 1, Level 2 Beginner, and Level 2 Advanced). Prepare for all of these one time by keeping a note card/piece of paper/computer document for the class and saving it so each time you are booked for a Trial class you can just pull out your notes.

You need to be prepared for each trial class because you never know if it is going to switch on you. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a Trial class for a certain level only to be switched to a different classroom and student (often a different level) when class starts. If you are prepared for all of the trial lessons, you won't be stressed out if you get switched to a different lesson last minute. I should mention that the trial lessons are very basic and very easy to teach so don't stress about them!

Last, I wrote up a feedback template for each Trial lesson and saved it so when I teach a trial student I can just copy and paste my template into the feedback box, put the student's name in to personalize it, and then send it off. My template briefly describes what we did in the lesson and then tells the parent how VIPKID would benefit their child.

Ok now onto..

How I Prepare for My Classes:

1. Prepare for class within 24 hours of class time
Parents can cancel class anytime but if they do so within 24 hours of the class starting then you still get paid! I don't mind if I have prepped, class is canceled, and I am still getting paid. I do not want to spend time prepping and then have class canceled and not get paid (and most likely then have to prep for another class when that time slot gets filled again).  Side note: if a parent cancels a class within 24 hours of the class time, the slot is marked as finished, and you are paid. Enjoy a paid break!

2. Look at Student Information/Read Teacher Notes
I first look at the student information and read through some of the teaching notes. Now, I take the teaching notes with a grain of salt but I do like a heads up if a student is more difficult or there are behavior issues just so I am a little more prepared (p.s. this doesn't necessarily mean they will have behavior issues for me!). It is also so nice when a teacher mentions some things the student is interested in and it is wonderful when a teacher leaves notes on how to pronounce the student's Chinese name (if they aren't using an American name!).

3. Take a note card/piece of paper and write the following:
Class time
Student Name
Student Age
Additional Student notes
Slide Numbers

Student name: if the student is using their Chinese name, I write in parenthesis how it is pronounced.

Student Age: I like to have this in front of me because at every class (even for my regulars) we practice introductions. If the student doesn't know their age or doesn't know what I am asking, I have the age in front of me to help them practice "I am ____ years old".

Additional Student Notes: I most of the time write these down for my regulars if I have told their parents we would work on something in particular that they have struggled with or make note of something they need extra practice with so if we have time at the end of class (or even throughout class), it is there to remind me to work on it.

Reward: I always pick my reward during my prep and note it so I am not frantically trying to find something between classes. I always make note of the reward I use in Teacher Feedback so I can see what I have already used when teaching the student again.

Props: I make note of all of my props because it makes for easier set up the night before. If I am using certain props for extension, I note the slide number I am using them on as well.

Slide Numbers: ALWAYS note your goodbye song slide number and the goodbye slide number. If the student is moving through the lesson slower and you need to finish class you can skip ahead to these.

4. Write Feedback
To save myself time during my actual teaching hours, I prepare part of my feedback BEFORE class! I have done feedback a few different ways and about 4 months into teaching I came across this YouTube video about writing effective feedback. I love this way because it is simple and has been very effective for me!

As part of my prep, I look over the lesson and come up with the Surprise line (from the feedback template she introduces in the video) and then I write my part of my closing thanking the parent for choosing me to teach their child. I submit feedback most of the time from my phone so I just save the feedback into my notes. When class is over I go into my notes and write out the rest of my feedback and then copy and paste it into the student's feedback in the app. For UA's, I fill out the rubric while the student completes the UA and then I type out my feedback after class (we are currently unable to submit UA feedback on our phones).

And last, here is what my class prep looks like. I get small note cards at the Dollar Store or Target and use them front/back for each class.

I use the rest of the space to write notes during class. Here is my prep and then the one note I took during class last week.

I keep my system simple, and it has worked out great!

Now tell me, how do you prepare for your ESL classes?

Have questions?!?! email me at

If you would like to apply, you can do so HERE or use referral code ERIN00532
(that's erin-zero-zero-five-three-two)

I personally walk my referrals through each step of the application process and support them as they begin to teach. I have additional resources and tips to help my referrals be successful and save them time. If you are interested in teaching ESL, I would love to help you get started because this has been a huge blessing to me!

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