HOW TO PREVENT VIPKID TEACHER BURNOUT

Even though there are so many awesome features of teaching for VIPKid, at the end of the day it is still a job. It is still work. If the money that you earn from VIPKid is absolutely essential to your family finances, it can be even easier to feel pressure and possibly even burn out.

I’m writing this post because I’ve been there.

I have experienced complete VIPKid teacher burnout.

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After taking a break from teaching, I’m back to feeling awesome about things! However, my much-needed time off did not do good things for our family’s finances, so I wanted to share with you a few things that I wish I had done to PREVENT burnout in the first place. Hopefully this helps you stay plugging along toward being debt-free without having to take any burnout detours.

SET YOUR WORKING HOURS AND STICK TO THEM

At the beginning of your VIPKid journey, your referring teacher probably encouraged you to open pretty much every slot that you could possibly teach in order to increase your odds of getting your first bookings.

This is a smart strategy when you’re first getting started!

However, there comes a point when you need to set your working hours and stick to them. This can be really hard when you grow to love a student in a particular time slot! When you get that priority booking request, it can be so HARD to decline them when they are outside your ideal working hours!

After my first few weeks of crazy hours, I cut back to my ideal schedule. However, since I had taught at weird times just recently, I was still getting priority booking requests here and there for odd times that weren’t in my ideal hours. I should have declined them, but I was still feeling the “booking fear” of a new teacher so I accepted them. Which led to future priority booking requests for those odd times. Vicious cycle.

Also, when it comes to working hours I highly suggest trying to streamline your class prep time and feedback-writing time. When you’re putting in tons of time “off the clock,” it can definitely wear on morale.

GET REST

I know that this seems like common sense, but this is a huge contributor to VIPKid teacher burnout!

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When I started working for VIPKid, the early mornings didn’t bother me all that much. Since I was waking up just fine and feeling okay during the day, I didn’t stress over my bedtime.

Big mistake!

I was slowly……ever so slowly…..losing my mind.

Since the sleep deprivation wasn’t drastic, it took some time before I noticed what was going on. But I finally had to look at my insanity and realize that I just wasn’t getting enough sleep.

Now that I’m back to teaching, I make a conscious effort to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Yes, my evenings are lame and I feel like I don’t have a life sometimes, but it’s essential for me. That leads to my next point.

SCHEDULE TIME OFF

If you PLAN for your time off in advance, there really is no need to fear for your bookings. Plan those days (or even weeks) off and take them! Give yourself a night or two a month to stay up late and sleep in. Do whatever works for you and your finances/schedule!

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Looking at your bank account, it might seem impossible to take a day or two off from teaching. That might be true in your financial situation! However, having missed two MONTHS of income while I regrouped, my opinion is that it’s worth taking a couple of days here and there to prevent burnout.

CHANGE FACEBOOK SETTINGS

VIPKid Facebook groups are awesome resources! I highly recommend that you participate in them (hopefully you’re already a member of the VIPKid on a Budget group).

However, the constant notifications and conversations from these groups can become intrusive. It makes life feel a little bit “All VIPKid, All the Time.” Change your Facebook settings so that you can check the groups on YOUR terms and not have these threads taking over your newsfeed.

The threads that get put in front of you are what Facebook’s algorithms deem to be “newsworthy,” which is based in part on the number of comments in the discussion. If you’ve hung out on Facebook before, you probably know that this means the “drama” threads! It’s exhausting to have these threads put at the top of your newsfeed when you’re just trying to check on your family and friends’ news.

It’s similar to avoiding the teacher lounge at school when you’re just not in the mood to hear griping and complaining. It can drag you down when you’re already feeling exhausted!

I’ve also heard of teachers setting up a new Facebook profile for their VIPKid “self,” to keep their work feed separate from their personal feed. That could be an option, as well!

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

When I was starting to feel the burnout, one thing that helped was to take some time and do a VIPKid-related task that I loved. For me, that was laminating props!

For you, that might mean switching up your backdrop. Or maybe you love to create printables to share with other teachers. Whatever it is, give yourself some time to rekindle your love of VIPKid by doing some of the fun tasks related to the job!

EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO “DECLINE”

Priority booking requests are just that: Requests. You do NOT have to continually accept bookings from students that just plain wear you out. With so many contracted VIPKid teachers, there is bound to be a teacher who is a perfect fit for that student.

Yes, it would be nice to completely jive with every student who pops up on your screen, but sometimes it’s just not a good fit (for whatever reason).

When you’re first starting out with VIPKid, I wouldn’t suggest being super choosy when it comes to priority bookings. I also don’t suggest making a decision about how you “mesh” with a student based on one class. Everyone has an off day! But I DO think it’s worth exercising your “right to decline” once you’re established with the company, especially if you’re starting to feel a little burned out.

Saying no to one or two exhausting students is better than saying no to EVERYONE after burning out.

**And just as a note for new teachers: By opening a slot, you are making yourself available to teach any student who books that time slot. You really can’t pick and choose who books with you. (The parents ARE the paying customers, after all.) In the section above, I am talking about accepting and declining priority booking requests. These are the requests that pop up prior to the booking frenzy. It is totally possible that you decline a priority booking request and the student still books you during frenzy. You always have the option to cancel the class, but that will count against your contract and that student could still turn around and book a different time slot with you. There are some different strategies that teachers use when they continue to be booked by a student who does not seem to be enjoying their classes, but we can talk about those in another post.**

EXERCISE…PERIOD!

Taking care of your physical health makes a big difference in your overall outlook! Pay attention to what you eat, drink lots of water, and get some exercise!

REMOVE CERTIFICATIONS

I know it might sound crazy to ask for a certification to be removed from your account, especially after all of the work put into getting these certifications in the first place!

While I don’t recommend removing certifications unless absolutely necessary, I did want to mention it as an option if you’re starting to feel burned out.

Some people don’t realize how draining Level One classes can truly be until they are teaching them every morning.

Some people might not be as comfortable teaching Free Talk as they thought they would be, so the stress is wearing them out.

Some people learn after certifying in many levels that there are only a couple of levels that they enjoy teaching.

No matter the reason, if there is a certification level that you’ve tried to love and you just CAN’T, it is possible to ask for that certification to be removed from your account.

BE CONSISTENT

This will sound similar to my other tips about scheduling and sleep, but it’s another important point: If at all possible, keep your schedule consistent so that your sleep can be consistent.

An inconsistent schedule was “the beginning of the end” for me.

Remember when I mentioned that I was slowly losing my mind due to lack of sleep? Well, my response after discovering this was to work fewer early mornings, but then tack on a super long marathon on Friday nights (18 classes in a row) to make up for the lost income.

Big mistake.

I should have just chosen one or the other: Overnights or early mornings.

In my opinion, jumping around in your schedule allows resentment to set in because it opens you up to “the-grass-is-greener-itis” (scientific term). I began to dread evening classes on days when I would have rather worked in the morning and gotten it over with. But then when my alarm went off on my early mornings, I would wish that I had just scheduled more evening classes.

On top of this, jumping around does bad things to your sleep pattern, which (as I’ve mentioned before) is a key factor in burnout. The above picture was posted to my personal Facebook page shortly before my long break from VIPKid. I was just sitting down to teach on a long Friday night after bouncing between morning and evening classes for several weeks.

The caption? “I’m feeling a bit like my poor letter C tonight.”

I was a mess, my friends! Seriously…from the bags under my eyes to the haphazard and wrinkled backdrop, all signs were pointing to Teacher Stephanie needing a break.

Long story short: Be kind to yourself! Paying off debt is a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, it is good to have gazelle-like intensity (like our friend Dave Ramsey talks about), but you can’t earn money if you burn out from your source of income.

Take it from me, who lost two months of income and set our family back quite a bit financially. Several of the factors above contributed to my personal burnout with VIPKid. I was exhausted, stretched thin, and dealing with inconsistent bookings (from my own scheduling AND due to Chinese New Year). So when my laptop died in February, I didn’t rush out to replace it.

I was burned out and I needed a LONG break, so I let my broken computer be my “excuse” for much longer than it needed to be.

However, I don’t want my experience and tips to detract from the fact that I absolutely love this job. I LOVE seeing my students’ sweet faces pop up on my screen every morning. I love seeing the progress that they make!

I never thought I would be in the camp of teachers who just needed to take a step back, because I am so grateful to be part of this company. But burnout is a real thing, especially in this unique working situation. My love for this job is the reason I wrote this post: It is possible to experience burnout at VIPKid even though it’s the best job ever!

I hope that these tips are helpful to you, so that you can avoid VIPKid teacher burnout and keep moving toward your financial goals! Please join (or start) the discussion below and tell us how you avoid VIPKid teacher burnout!

2 thoughts on “HOW TO PREVENT VIPKID TEACHER BURNOUT”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these tips! It’s so great to find another mom who is following Dave Ramsey and trying to not overdo it! We are in our third house across 3 states in 8 years. I totally relate with moving costs! Moving to a more expensive area now is what prompted me to work from home while homeschooling our kids. We were debt free 7 years ago and then made bad decisions in our second move that added about $30,000 in debt. But we only have about $14,000 left to go and are knocking it out quickly this year! Then building up the emergency fund to get back to steps 4, 5 & 6.

    1. YES!!! I’m so excited to hear about your success. That’s what spurred me into finally sharing our journey, because it is so motivating to hear from others who are going through the same thing. Best wishes to you as you try to be gazelle intense without experiencing VIPKid teacher burnout!

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