Parents can sign up for 3 free classes with VIPKID before they purchase classes. If you are the last teacher to teach the child before they sign up, you get a $5 bonus! But, you have to add the trial class certification to be able to teach these classes.
To add the certification, go to the teacher portal, click on Resources, Certifications, Major Course, then MC Trials 3.0. It will have you do some reading, take a quiz, and then you will enter a VIPKID practice classroom and teach a 10-minute lesson. There will NOT be anyone in the classroom with you while you make your recording.
Part of the purpose of the trial class is to make sure we have the student placed in the appropriate level. You will determine that in the lesson by choosing the correct level based on their ability. In the new Trials 3.0 classes, there are 6 lessons from which to choose.
Level 2 Beginner
Level 2 Advanced
They are labeled strangely though. The code on your booking will show something like this: T1-U4-LC1-L3. The last part of that is the level – level 3. But the list has this:
L1 is Previp
L2 is beginner level 2
L3 is advanced level 2
L4 is level 3
L5 is level 4
L6 is level 5
L7 is level 6.
Just remember that it is bumped up a number because level 2 has two different PowerPoints.
There is also a PreVIP (Level 1) but it has to be booked as a PreVIP trial. You cannot access the PreVIP lesson unless it is booked that way.
You need to be familiar with all of the lessons, particularly the lower level ones since they are used most often. You can see all the lessons in the training material under certifications and in the materials link on the booking.
Have some basic props ready that can be used for any level: alphabet flashcards, whiteboard, puppet/stuffed animal, Meg and Mike print out, reward system for any age. Often these classes are assigned at the last minute so be ready for anything!
If you have the trials certification, you can teach any level of trial class, even if you are not certified to teach that level. You can only teach the Level 1 trial if you have the level 1 certification.
Trial Class Bookings
When you are booked for the class, the booking will say which level to use. In the pic above, you see 2 trial classes listed. The first has the lesson code “T1-U4-LC1-L4” but then below it is has “Level 3 Unit 1” listed. This means the student did a placement test that says they should be a Level 3 student. The student below is placed as a level 2 Unit 1 student. This is an initial placement but may not be the best place to start.
When you go into the classroom, click on “Student Info” at the top of the page and see if there is a placement test result. The kids are supposed to do a placement test before their first class. These placement tests may or may not be accurate. Oftentimes the parent helps them so they end up placing higher than they really are. Sometimes they don’t take the placement test at all and the sales team makes a guess on their level based on their age.
Sometimes they do the test right before class so check the student info right before class to see if there is a computer test placement. Always use the computer test result if it is there to start off with but know that you may need to adjust that up or down. If there is no computer placement, start with the one in the course listing on your classrooms tab.
When you go into the classroom for a trial, the slides suggested in the classrooms list will probably load automatically. It will be a page similar to this. It just tells the parents what they will be learning.
If the slides do not load or you need to switch to another slide set, click on “Docs” on the left upper side in the old classroom format.
Another box will appear with 4 tabs: Upload new one (never use this!), Uploaded by myself, Default Courseware (never use this), and Interactive lesson. Click on Interactive Lesson.
This screen shot shows several presentations to choose from for the different levels. Click on Open for the one you want.
Finding the right level.
Once you get the student in class, it might be too easy or too hard. Mom and Dad may have helped them on the computer placement. You can switch to another set of slides, up or down, once you get a feel for the child. The first few slides on each presentation are designed to figure that out. I’ve even changed sets a few times during the lesson to make sure I have the right one. I’ve also changed up a unit and then back down and that’s ok too! If your student comes in speaking full sentences with correct grammar but they are placed in level 2, you definitely will move them up!
If you are in the new classroom format, click on “slides” at the bottom left of the slides area and choose the lesson level you want.
The Level 1 lesson is not shown in this shot. It has to be booked as a Level 1 (PreVIP) class to have access to that lesson. If it’s booked as a Level 1 trial, you can’t access the upper levels!
I know it’s awkward to change in a lesson but just say, “Let’s sing!” and start the ABCs or ask “What did you do today after school?” for an older student while you change.
Keep in mind that the difference between level 2 beginner and advanced is 48 lessons. Then another 96 lessons up to level 3 and another 144 lessons up to level 4. So these are huge leaps between levels!
Penny’s cheatsheet. These are generalizations, especially with the ages. I have some 5 year olds that are finishing level 3 and some 12 year olds that are still in level 2. It all depends on when they started lessons.
- PreVIP Level 1 – 5 years old or younger, no English at all!
- Level 1 beginner – 5-8 years old, does not know letters, sounds or words
- Level 2 Advanced – 5-8 years old, knows letters and sounds, some words, reads a few sight words and 3 letter phonics words. “This is an apple. It is a ball. I am 5 years old.”
- Level 3 – 6-9 years old, reads simple words and sentences. Can answer simple questions. “What day is it today? Today is Tuesday. Tuesday is the first day of the week.”
- Level 4 – 7-10 years old, more fluent in reading and conversation. Can create their own sentences using the vocabulary words. Understands and uses past tense and future tense verbs easily.
- Level 5 – 8-12 years old, can read anything on the page but may need help with more complex words or vocabulary. Able to hold in depth conversations using complex sentences and multiple verb tenses.
- Level 6 – 9-14 years old, high level conversation and reading abilities. Focuses on conversation, extension and high-level grammar.
VIPKID often overbooks trial classes. This is when they book you for a class even before they have a student for you. You will see a booking that says, “booked – info pending.” This means that they have booked you in anticipation of getting a trial class student for you. The actual student will be assigned hours or even minutes before class. They may even add a student a couple of minutes into your class time! This is why you must be familiar with all the slides.
If they have still not assigned a student to the class when it is class time, go into the classroom anyway and wait. Click on “Start Class” before 0 to prove that you were there. It will most likely be a student no show, but you have to go into the classroom anyway.
Procedure for trials.
- Have 2 tabs open in your browser on the portal. Open your class in 1 tab and have the other tab on your classrooms listing page.
- If you are using the app, be in the classroom on the app but have your classrooms list open on Chrome.
- If you go into the classroom and there is still no info and no student assigned, refresh the page (reload, circle arrow at the top of your browser window or app) at 5 minutes before and 1 minute before to see if they have added a student. Refresh the classrooms page too.
- Click on “Start Class” at 15 seconds before 0. This will open your camera and turn on your mic.
- If your student is there, teach the class.
- If your student is not there, screenshot to prove that you were there (windows key and PrtScr on a PC, Shift Command 4 on a Mac).
- At 1 minute, you can put a sticky note over the camera and mute your mic. Remember it is recording you.
- If no student is there, go to your classrooms page in the browser and refresh it. If it still shows “booked – info pending,” you will probably have a no show but refresh again at 1 minute and 3 minutes to make sure.
- At 1 minute, click “Contact Firemen” just above the screen where the slides should be and then select “Can’t see student” and submit. They may or may not respond to you.
- Keep refreshing the classroom tab and the class itself until it says “finished” or “student no show” on the classrooms list. It will usually switch over about 6 minutes into the class.
- I have started writing in the chat box: “No student in classroom at 1:00. Still listed as Booked – info pending.” Then that text appears in my screenshots too.
- Be sure and do the computer screenshot as it captures the system time. If you take a pic of the screen with your phone it is not considered proof of the time.
- Once it is marked finished or SNS, you can exit the classroom. Screen shot both the classroom and classrooms list showing the Finished marking.
- If it doesn’t switch over to finished, you have to stay for 15 minutes. Then screen shot the classroom and leave.
- If for some reason they assign a student even a couple of minutes into class and you don’t refresh and see it, you will be charged with a Teacher No Show which is very bad!!!
- You do not have to leave feedback for a no show.
More tips for trials
If your student is very young (4-5) they may struggle even with the level 2 beginner lesson. You can’t access the Level 1 lesson unless it is booked as a level 1 trial. Go ahead and do the Level 2 beginner lesson as much as you can and then you can suggest in the feedback that they be placed in PreVIP. You must be certified for Level 1 to teach it. It must be booked as a PreVIP trial to get that slide set.
You do NOT have to finish all the slides on a trial! It may take you a little bit to figure out the level so you can’t get to all the slides. At 25 minutes, skip to the goodbye slide using the box at the bottom of the screen and end class.
This is Sales! You are selling VIPKID and Yourself!
You want the student to have fun and learn something so that the parents will buy classes. You are selling VIPKid and yourself because you want these students to become your regular students.
Give your very best lesson so they will be excited about how much their child is learning. We want the child to say, “Mommy, I want to take more lessons with Teacher Penny! She’s fun. Did you hear me? I was speaking English!”
Rest assured that Mom and Dad are right there watching the entire lesson. They want to be impressed too! Here’s what they are looking for:
Have fun! Make sure they have fun. Particularly for lower levels, use lots of TPR and props and over the top teaching! For the upper levels, lots of conversation and grammar correction.
Your sales continues in the feedback after the class. Submit it as soon as possible after class. In the feedback, start off with “Welcome to VIPKID!” Emphasize how much fun they had and how much they learned! Talk about what VIPKID and you can offer their child. Ask them to practice something before their next class. Write it assuming that they will be taking another lesson. “In Johnny’s next class, he will continue to work on____ and we will practice conversations using the new words he has learned.”
As a part of the feedback, you will also choose a placement level for the student if they took the placement test. After entering the feedback for parents and the next teacher, click on the level you think they should be at and a new screen will appear. Choose the unit you would place them at.
If they did not take the computer placement test, don’t choose a level but do put in the teacher feedback which level you ended up using and if it was too hard or easy.
Trials and No Shows
Trials are notorious for being Student No Shows. Since they are not paying, it’s not a priority. It may be marked on your schedule before class starts as “Finished – student no show.” Be careful though, as they may rebook another student in that slot. They can replace a canceled trial class with another trial at the very last second or even a few minutes into the time slot so still go into the classroom or you could be charged with a Teacher No Show. Follow the procedure above in the classroom.
If they don’t show, you will still get paid 50% for not teaching. You do not need to send feedback for a no show. You have to stay in the classroom until it is marked as a no show on your classrooms list or until 15 minutes.
You do not need to send the screenshots in to VIPKID unless they mark it as the wrong finish type. The no shows still count toward the participation and finished class bonuses!
Once you get the hang of it, trials are easy and a fun way to get confidence in the classroom. Usually, the $5 sign-up bonus balances out getting 50% for the no shows.
Watch this video for a tutorial on Trial Classes but note that this was done about a year ago so some of the screenshots will look different: