Most of you know I have been grinding away at the freelance contracts for the last few years. I started out devoting myself solely to writing, but I realized I had a lot more success (and I was a lot happier) when I diversified the types of contracts I took. Now I'm teaching ESL. Applying to VIPKID may be the best decision I made in 2018.
This post contains my VIPKID referral link and code.
What about writing?
I've been freelance writing for over two years now. I have grown a ton as a writer, I have regular clients, and I love it. The problem is, by the time I finish working on projects for my clients, I have very little energy left to devote to fiction, which is the kind of writing I've always wanted to do.
I'll still be writing a ton for the internet, but I am hoping to find a little more time to tell stories than I've had over the last two years. Applying to VIPKID doesn't mean I've given up on writing. I've just become a smarter entrepreneur than I was when I started out. I knew I needed more options (and more fun!) to keep my work sustainable.
Before I was a writer, I was a teacher
Before military life changed the way I do everything, I taught upper elementary school. I loved that job, but I've had to PCS just about every year since my husband joined the Navy. Saying goodbye to my students and their families in South Dakota was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I may not have been one of the teachers of Instagram, but doggone it, I really loved my kids and their families.
I decided not to re-enter the brick and mortar classroom when my husband was stationed in San Diego. It's just too dang hard to go through the first year at a new school every year. It's too hard to form connections and say goodbye. Plus, our move schedule has not exactly coincided with the academic calendar. With such an unpredictable life schedule, I knew I needed a career that could adapt as much as I had to.
The siren song of my teaching certificate
Even though I wasn't actively teaching, I've still needed my teaching certificate here and there. It helped me land a few contracts in the education industry. It also reminded me that I had not only successfully taught, but I'd also put in the effort to prove my chops if I should ever be in a position to return to the classroom.
I kept thinking about the classes I'd need to take to keep my certificate active. I plotted out how I would make use of the myCAA scholarship for military spouses to cover the cost of me keeping this certification alive on the off chance that I might settle down somewhere long enough to get back into a school.
Meanwhile, a company called VIPKID kept popping up on my radar. This company, which offers English instruction to kiddos in China, was in my YouTube feed. It was one of the top-ranked remote jobs. It was featured in both Forbes and Flexjobs. It seemed like there was VIPKID orange everywhere I looked. All this buzz was either the result of successful marketing, excellence, or both. I didn't know a lick of Chinese, but the idea of teaching online became more and more appealing. I started to get curious.
I watched a bunch of videos about the company, started my application, and then got cold feet. To be precise, I got curious in November, but vetoed the idea since I was in the middle of a PCS. Then, I filled out part of my application in March, but chickened out before I could finish. It wasn't until July that I finally decided I was going to dive in and make this happen.
When the rejection is the worst that could happen, you may as well try
Much of my nervousness was rooted in this fear of being bad at teaching. I was a little out of practice. Since I left South Dakota, I have taught some yoga classes, but this is not the same as delivering academic content. The other part of my reluctance had to do with perfectionist tendencies.
Teaching is waaaay personal. I had to start thinking about this VIPKID application the way I looked at all my other contracts. I've learned to take a few knocks upside my noggin for my writing. I could smile at students with all the warmth and kindness of someone who loves to teach, but for the sake of the application, I had to remember that the same thick skin that kept me going for the last few years was also going to cover me for this. "Here goes nothing," was all I could think as I set up my background for the demo video.
The worst didn't happen
After going through the interview express process and two mock classes, I am happy to say that I was hired. HOORAY! This was an exciting and terrifying prospect. I was impressed with how efficiently the company's onboarding process was. Within two weeks, I had completed all the hiring tasks, and it was time to open up my schedule.
The same nerves I felt when I first stepped into a brick and mortar classroom hit me as I waited to open my camera. On the other side of that screen would be a child on the other side of the world. The waves of nausea were almost unbearable. This was stage-fright. The countdown timer clicked by to warn me that I had 4 seconds until class started. I flipped on my camera and pasted on a smile. Within a few seconds, my nervousness disappeared. I was exactly where I needed to be.
Joining the VIPKID family has been a whirlwind, life-changing experience for me. If you don't have a referrer, please feel free to use my referral link. I'll happily help you through the application process. If you've signed up but don't have a referrer, you can also use my referral code: 07VJN8.