Trial Turnover and (more) VIPKid Villany

I just about expired from shock this weekend, dear reader. It was an ordinary weekend for the most part. But on Friday, the unthinkable happened. I turned a trial, much in the same way a vampire will turn a human on Supernatural. It was completely unexpected. Firstly, the kid came at minute eleven. At that point I was not at my computer. I ran over and triedo get through the material as quick as I could. It’s true, that I was teaching mostly mom and not the kid but that’s OK. Things I have learned with VIPKid: I can do anything for 25 minutes. Including act like a complete ass. In this case it happened to work. I was not sure if it would, however. You see mom said something to me in Chinese for about a minute and a half. So I thought I was a goner for sure and not only would I not turn the trial, but I would also  get a bad review. Luckily, neither of those things happened and I made five dollars. What I find really concerning and sad is that I am happy at making an extra five dollars where what I should be thinking is I’m not being paid enough for any of this. It’s also shocking because generally my trials are no-shows. And I mean at a rate of about 60%. I rarely teach them. It gives me hope that maybe I will get a few more of them that I actually teach and actually turn. But on Sunday my first class was a trial and of course it was a no-show. Still I got $4.75 out of it.

Despite this positive occurrence, the hits at VIPKid just keep coming. I’m sure that I will get backlash from many teachers when I post this on the Facebook group that I run. But I’m still gonna post it. It seems that VIPKid is opening their market to South African and Filipino teachers. And while they will be only teaching the 6:1 starlight classes, what concerns me is that that will be only the beginning. Starlight group courses allow multiple students to one teacher up to six. this doesn’t really concern me, as I don’t and won’t teach Starlight 6:1. what concerns me is that the pay rate for South African teachers is six dollars to nine dollars an hour and for Filipino teachers is three to five dollars an hour depending on experience, for teaching up to six children. I  make double that teaching one on one for VIPKid to kids in China. What is to stop my students from taking the 6 to 1 classes with a South African or Filipino teacher who cost the company much less than I do? Right now, the answer seems to be nothing. And so once again VIPKid has become even less secure. There was of course the typical assurance that this is a test program and is going to roll out very slowly. But I’m not buying it. On top of pay cuts and other changes, VIPKid seems to becoming less sustainable over the long term. And I’m not convinced that it’s Only VIPKid. I think this is a trend we’re going to see across the industry. Because while online teaching is increasing, and prominence in online education is much more In use, I think the prevalence of English language teaching online and the saturation of the market is ultimately going to cause problems for those of us who already changed their career to ELT. So now I’m scrambling to find other options.

In other news, after an inconclusive MRI that showed swelling in the spinal cord again, it’s off to radiology for a third MRI this time of my brain to make sure that everything is OK in that quarter. While I appreciate the diligence of the doctors, I’m getting heartily tired of being in an MRI machine.

The online writing sessions continue to be productive, but on a personal level they’re making me miss my in real life writing group much more than if I didn’t have them at all. There may be light at the end of the tunnel in the new year, but we’re still going to have to find a new place to write. There is hope on that horizon as well as a friend of mine has access to a space that we might be able to use on the east side of the city. I’m going to have to investigate with her after the holidays are over.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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