Alright y’all. You probably haven’t seen me say much about teaching at VIPKid lately, and it’s because they fired me. Yep — just like that, they terminated my contract. I brought in seven teachers, taught over 500 classes since May 2019, had a 100% timely feedback rate, and 120 5-apple feedback scores.
And YUP, VIPKid terminated me.
It was the second day of my daughter’s first week of all-day kindergarten. She goes to school right over the state line in Pennsylvania, so we don’t have the option of a bus OR the option for her to get a ride with family (because they live in Pennsylvania) or a friend (because no one else in this area attends her school in Pennsylvania).
Getting out of the house is extremely chaotic on a good day for me, the parent who does a lot of the administrative kid stuff. So, when my husband seemed overwhelmed with all of it, I decided I should step in to help get my daughter, my husband, and my one year old (along for the ride and getting dropped off to my parents’ house) out the door on time.
You know, wife and mom things that most of us do.
So, I canceled classes and sent VIPKid a ticket before I did just that. I canceled almost all of them more than 24 hours in advance. VIPKid allows teachers six “hard cancellations” per six-month contract, meaning you can miss up to six classes that are unexcused somehow. Well, I didn’t have an excuse for taking my daughter to school, so VIPKid denied my requests for soft cancellations (meaning they wouldn’t count against me, but parents could still see I cancelled class, which is ultimately bullshit IMO — if you’re going to excuse the class, then fucking excuse it…don’t leave it on our record for parents to see).
I had more than six cancellations when they were added up using VIPKid’s odd math: cancelling 1-2 classes per day = 1 cancellation for the day; cancelling more than 2 classes per day = 2 classes per day. I was maxed out because I had classes scheduled up to two weeks in advance on several different days.
So, I was fired for picking family. And that’s when I realized that maybe this isn’t a company that I want to work for.
It’s a great option if you have about three back-up plans in place. Otherwise, life will happen, and then what do you do? What do you do when you or your kids get sick enough to be in bed, but not sick enough to go to the doctor and get an excuse? What if you don’t want to make a trip to the doctor’s office and pay a co-pay (or pay the whole fee because you don’t have health insurance) just to get an excuse?
What bothers me the most about this is that VIPKid didn’t take anything else into account. The company didn’t care that I had a perfect attendance record up until now. The company didn’t care that I taught over 50 classes per week. The company didn’t care that I brought in several amazing teachers with a background in education and/or ESL. None of the mattered when the FIRED ME.
Looking back on some of what I saw during my time as a teacher, I’m a bit disturbed. No joke: Someone posted that one of her immediate family members died, and she was so worried about canceling because she didn’t want to get fired. Another posted the same when Hurricane Dorian was about to hit. REALLY? A job that is supposed to be so “flexible and convenient” legit had people asking how to make sure they didn’t get fired because of death and extreme weather. Isn’t there something wrong with that?
Maybe I jumped the gun on the company a little bit. Maybe it was better than I thought it was. When everything goes just right, it’s great. If you don’t get sick, then you’re a model VIPKid teacher! If you have perfect internet that never goes out, hooray (which, btw, I have seen people teach from their cars in McDonald’s parking lots because they were deathly afraid of missing a class due to an internet outage).
I enjoyed working with my regular students, and I built up a following quickly. I was almost fully booked by my third week with the company. I attended 75% of all the workshops VIPKid has to offer, and I registered to host a MeetUp with other local teachers. I ran courses on how to refer other teachers. And guess what? None. Of. It. Mattered.
So, goodbye, VIPKid! I’ll work here for American companies that don’t expect me to continue teaching through every circumstance ever.