365 days, 215 students, 13,525 minutes…over $4000 later, and I still love what I do and more important, I’m still at home with my baby! I made it to my one year anniversary with VIPKID! Yay! When I started this job, I was doing it more as a chance to “scratch” the “itch” I had to get back into the classroom. My husband has been a blessing to Duce and I, going to work every day, working long hours and weeks in his high demand job to provide for us. So I never NEEDED to work, but I wanted to for many reasons. One being to keep my brain working, and not let that wealth of knowledge I gained from those 2 degrees go to waste. Another reason, to make sure that I am still applicable the day I do decided to go back into the classroom or in some other form of education. But lastly, because I love teaching! It took me a long time to say that, admit it and even embrace it because I was so busy trying to fit in other’s career box for me, pleasing them, and battling defeat and misery silently. So when the opportunity came to work for VIPKID, I jumped right into the application process and haven’t looked back!
My best experiences: I have many highlights from working with VIPKID. The kids are really great! I was recently extended an invitation to come and visit a family in Beijing! Whitakers Take Beijing Family Vacation 2019? Hmmm…that sounds great! It has been so wonderful to gain regulars that I see two-three times a week that I have developed a relationship with, along with their parents and siblings. We look forward to seeing each other sharing our lives. What really warms my heart is to see the progress that my students make over an extended time. Some students have taken over 40 classes with me and are progressing wonderfully! Me, the student and the parents are ecstatic by their progress. One of my regular’s mom told me that her son went to Shanghai Disney and was able to lead the tour because she spoke such good English and knew the names and activities of the amusement park because he had discussed it in prior lessons! What a great way to apply learning! Another blessing has been the community of colleague and even friends I have formed with women from all over the world! We look out for one another, share best practices and ideas, encourage, pray, give constructive feedback and laugh together. It has really made this experience worth wild!
My most challenging experiences: One has to remember that with these type of companies you are an independent contractor. So you make your schedule and you build your clientele. With that being said, bookings can and have been a challenge for me in the past. Working for VIPKID, a company that has over 40,000 teachers now in almost 5 years of its existence, it has always been important to make sure I stood out in order to get booked by parents who get the advantage of choosing the teachers for their kids. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped me from finding new and creative ways to market myself, and enhance my classroom experience for my students so they keep coming back! Another and perhaps more difficult barrier that has aided to my low bookings in the past would be the cultural barrier and perception that China has on teachers of color. I will be honest and say that starting off wasn’t the easiest because I wasn’t informed and educated on how I could gain clientele with a base of clients that didn’t think highly of me because of my skin. Culturally, blonde hair blue eyes men and women were preferred. But once I got with the right group of ladies who looked like me and shared my experiences, I began to soar! My students love the Black Girl Magic I bring to every class and I love sharing my culture and interest, expanding their knowledge and experiences. VIPKID has been doing a great job exposing their clients to more teachers of color through their hiring, scheduling and referring of teachers and classes and receiving feedback on how to make the experience for the Teachers of Color more warm and welcoming. Some students have cried, refused to come to the camera, asked why I was so black, and so on. But that has never deterred me because I know my worth and what I have to offer each child. And because of that I have two handful of regulars who love the skin and skill I bring to their homes weekly through our virtual classes! The reality is, whether I am in the brick and mortar classroom or the virtual classroom, there are going to always be prejudices and misconceptions that I will have to challenge and correct. I have grown to welcome them because they make me stronger not as an educator, but also as a woman of God who knows “WHO’S” I am! I will never stop using my gift because someone doesn’t know how to accept it. Planting seeds has always been important to me. I may not get the chance to see them grow and evolve, but I have and will continue to do my best to nurture that time together to aid in their growth, strength, empowerment and wisdom that will carry them on their own God-given paths.
What’s next?: Well it’s funny you should ask! Ha! I have enjoyed this experience so much that I have recently dived into a new online teaching platform called SayABC! Where VIPKID is One-on-One, SayABC is a 1-to-4 ratio! Talk about really feeling like I am back in the classroom! This platform teaches children 5-12 years old through flipped classroom format. Like VIPKID, they provide all of the curriculum, and you teach the interactive classes in a 40 minute timeframe. It has been really fun so far for me! The kids are wonderful, and of course they are surprised to see me, so I pose for the camera here and there! Ha! It’s stress free in the sense where I don’t have to do lesson planning or extensive grading. I do what I love-teach! I provide feedback, great energy, fun rewards and a safe learning environment and they keep returning! SayABC books me at least 5 weeks out, which is nice, because it gives me time to plan and prepare correctly for my classes. The pay is really good for the work and time I invest as well! $15-22 per class has done me well! After a few months I will provide a more detailed review and even compare the company more to VIPKID! Right now, I can say that I love it and am happy to have been introduced to this company by another fellow teacher.
The online teaching community is very large! There are more opportunities available then I could have ever imagined! There is something for every kind of person and personality, and I am excited to see how I benefit and impact in the virtual world. Right now, my main focus is to develop a great balance between the two companies, while devoting more time to blogging and writing! My main focus will always be my son and husband, and “working” is always after. The flexibility that the jobs offer makes it so easy to love on and care for my first loves (Brandon and Duce); I no longer have anxiety about “hurrying back to the classroom.” This last year, I have seen God all over this new teaching journey and I am truly blessed by it. It is not about the added income that has helped us pay off debt, fund vacations and more-which is all great and I am thankful for it. For me, it is more about living out my purpose and passions, being fulfilled in my own path. -Ephesians 2:10
If you are interested in either company, want to hear more about my experiences, or just want to know more information about virtual employment opportunities, you can contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are my referral links to apply! I would love to walk you through the application and interview process so you can join in on all the fun! No pressure, just opportunity!
VIPKID Code: 0369TH
SayABC Code: EFT2B
-Soli deo Gloria💜
Copyright © 2018 by Da’Quisha Whitaker
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