Getting Bookings: My ESL Teaching Journey

  • November 25, 2019

Hello and thank you for your support. Today, I will discuss bookings!

Many new teachers experience low bookings. I know I did! I joined and became eligible to teach in April and luckily taught only 7 classes. May, I taught 2 classes. June, 14, July there was a bump in classes and I taught 82! Big difference huh?! I remained patient and took advantage of all VIPKid has to offer for new teachers and you should too! While you have the time on your hands, instead of complaining of the lack, build your knowledge on how to gain students and grow your business. These are the ways you can increase your bookings and gain a following.

Open your slots

This is pretty self-explanatory but you never know how important it is to open your slots. Students cannot find you if you are always unavailable. So with that being said, choose time slots that you can commit to. VIPKid makes choosing slots easy and in the teacher portal, you’ll see the most popular booking times. You will see them as PPT or Peak Peak Time. They are identified by their fire emoji icon.

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Depending on your time zone, the PPT will differ. You will also notice on the bookings page, slots that read “hot”. This means that children are home and are most likely to book during these times as well. At this stage of my VIPKid career, I am 90% booked for my availability. Ya girl put in the work!! Another thing that brought success to my business, is workshops.

Workshops

Image result for workshops vipkid

Yup! I said it… WORKSHOPS! Get back to the drawing board and learn the ends and outs of online teaching through the company whether it’s VIPKid or something similar. If you are experiencing low bookings at the beginning of your contract with VIPKid, take advantage of the free workshops. You will have access to learning how to grow your VIPKid reputation by making your profile attractive to parents all the way to giving feedback after a class with a student. The workshops have taught me so much about online ESL teaching and business as a whole. There’s always an opportunity to learn and grow as a VIPKid teacher and the workshops cover every facet of your journey. I still attend workshops to this day because you’ll never know what information has changed or improved in the company. Like Solomon said, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. ” (Proverbs 7:7)

Update or revise your profile

Your profile picture is the first thing parents see when selecting a teacher for their child. What do they see? Some parents are looking for fun and energetic while others are looking for speared head and motivating. Your profile picture should let the parent know the type of teacher you are before they open your profile. Here are some examples of profile pictures and you’ll be the judge:

Let’s look at picture one. What age level is this teacher targeting? In my opinion, she can teach at any level based on this profile picture. Some parents have children who are at a different age level and would rather choose a teacher who can accommodate both children. While picture two seems to cater to children at the lower levels (ages 3-8). BUT some parents would see picture 2 and think of it as unprofessional because, at first glance, it looks as if she’s taking a selfie. Some parents would skip right over this profile for that simple fact. Picture 3 is definitely a no. Although it is a great picture to show off the camera, it doesn’t show the teacher’s face or tell a story besides “this teacher loves photography”. That’s not enough and will quickly get rejected by VIPKid before it even reaches the parents.

When taking your profile, consider these two things: Who do I want to teach and lighting!! Be sure that you are well lit and neat. If you are a woman teacher, get spruced up a bit for your picture. You don’t have to be in full-faced makeup for your picture… a little mascara and lipstick goes a long way. Now that you are picture ready, let’s look at lighting. If you are not friends with a photographer, don’t fret! Here is a simple tip to get you your perfect profile picture: LIGHT UP YOUR FACE. Be sure there are no shadows under your eyes and chin. If you have a lamp, place it in front of you to light up your face. Here’s an example of my lighting set up in the classroom, it also works for a quick profile picture:

In this screenshot of my classroom, I have one light directly in front of me, slightly overhead.

One last thing to help with bookings and staying booked is CONSISTENCY

KEEP YOUR BOOKINGS CONSISTENT

No one likes to guess when you are available or where you are, LET THEM KNOW. Parents usually book 2-3 weeks in advance. Stay on top of your bookings. be sure you are willing to commit to a schedule. This is how you get regulars. If you open your slots from 4 am to 7 am CST time constantly, the more likely those slots will be filled on a regular basis. Stay consistent. There will be times after you have set your times that a parent will request you outside of your schedule, that is solely up to you to accept the request. But the goal now is to get bookings and keep them. STAY CONSISTENT! It took me about 3 months to become fully booked and I made sure that parents saw my schedule and that I stick with that schedule to this day. I may surprise them by opening some extra slots and get those filled if I have the time, but other than that, my booking stays the same every week, all the time.

Next time, we will talk about VIPKid lingo and what does it all mean in the classroom.

Thanks for reading and I will see you soon!

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