I have been teaching ESL online for over three years now and have had the unique opportunity to work for several companies over the years. Some I've loved, some I've hated, and others were great companies but just not for me. I'm going to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly for some of the companies I have worked for over the years. Please keep in mind these are MY unique experiences, with any company you will find people who love it and people who hate it. Each of us are looking for something different when searching for an online ESL company to work for. Also by the time you are reading these reviews it is highly possible things have changed within the companies so be sure to check with someone currently working there for more updated information. I am happy to refer you to any company I am currently working for! Below is my review for VIPKID:
Curriculum- The VIPKID curriculum is probably one of the top in the industry, over the last three years they have continued to improve it. The new interactive platform that has rolled out in the younger levels allows students to drag things around the screen and provides an on screen reward system the teacher can use. It covers reading, phonics, math, science, and social studies and is very thorough--building off what the student has previously learned.
Pay- VIPKID pays twice a month and they have a payment tracker on the portal that allows you to see your earnings each day. Pay is on time and reliable. They offer a pay rate that is pretty standard for the industry $7-9 per 25 min class plus up to $2 incentive per class. They have short notice pay of an additional $2 per class if you take a class under 24 hours which is really awesome especially if you are working with additional companies. They often offer incentives to open more slots and they provide referral and milestone bonuses if you bring in new teachers.
Training- Vipkid has extensive training for teachers and provides mock classes after your interview where you can practice and receive feedback. They offer tons of workshops on a variety of topics. They also have a large collection of training videos offering tips and suggestions on different levels and topics within the portal.
Vipkid has "The Hutong" which is like a company message board. You can check out resources, ask questions, engage with the community and earn prizes and rewards. They also have a strong social media presence to engage with the teaching community through videos and live q&a sessions.
They have begun holding conferences across the US and locally there are meet-ups for teachers to get together and hang out in a variety of ways.
Although they have an awesome curriculum there can be A LOT to cover in 25 minutes and parents can get upset if you do not get through all of the slides. There isn't much room to extend or "go off script" if the student is slower or struggling. The pre-vipkid curriculum contains topics and vocabulary that is slightly odd for a young level of student.
The pay isn't the highest and I haven't heard of anyone getting the highest base pay right out of the gate. They offer raises but the criteria to get them is difficult to reach unless you work full time and have no cancellations.
New hires often have a very long wait before actually getting booked, like months. Although some are fully booked right from the beginning. My guess is its just luck of the draw if you appear towards the front to the parents when they are searching through over 60,000 teachers.
Cancelation policy is fairly strict and they charge you a fine if you cancel or no show which can be substantial if you need to cancel a whole day of classes.
You can often feel like just a number given the companies size. Teachers have been let go for too many cancellations despite perfectly understandable personal circumstances. There is a built in system for "soft cancellations" but it is rather impersonal and requires you to submit documentation through ticket that you might not be comfortable doing. Despite labeling them as soft cancelations some have not had their contract renewed.
The IT support is touch and go, sometimes they respond right away and other times it takes awhile. Teachers often complain of problems being quickly labeled as a teacher IT issue despite it not being the teachers fault.
I highly recommend VIPKID, especially in conjunction with another company since it can take awhile to get steady bookings! If you would like more information or are ready to apply click below!
Please comment below with your thoughts! What do you like/dislike about VIPKID?