Teaching VipKid “Overnights”: a Survival Guide!
If you have been on our VIPKID Teacher Q & A Facebook group, you may have noticed that I often teach overnights on the weekends! This handy Q & A guide addresses many of the questions I frequently get asked.
What is an “overnight”?
An overnight is any time a teacher chooses to teach many (or all) of the slots that can be opened in a single night. I live in Florida so I could potentially teach from 9 PM to 10 AM EST, which corresponds to 9 AM to 10 PM Beijing time!
When can I teach an overnight?
Technically you can teach an overnight any day of the week if you can get booked for it! Typically this means the weekends, but you are more likely to be successful during weekdays if you teach very young students who aren’t in school yet. I teach mostly older students so I stick to the weekends. I will usually teach an overnight on Friday or Saturday night!
Why should I teach an overnight?
Well, first and foremost, I like the extra money! Especially if you open up some of the slots short notice or convert any trials that you teach, there is a lot of money to be made teaching overnight. Plus another big benefit is that it can get you in front of a lot of new students. Whether you are an established teacher or someone just starting out, it is always beneficial to meet new students and grow your base of students who want to book with you.
When and How?
When should I open my slots?
This is up to you! If you know for sure at the start of the week you are 100% going to teach an overnight, go for it! Open up those slots before the “frenzy” of bookings at noon Monday BJT! I personally do not let Monday Sydney dictate what Friday/Saturday Sydney must do. Instead, I open all of my slots as “short notice” the morning of the overnight. This has the bonus of adding an extra $2 on to every class I teach (or don’t teach, if they are a no show). Generally speaking, now that I have an established following, I tend to fill 95-100% of the slots I open!
How many slots should I open? What about breaks?
Great question! It all depends on how long you’ve been teaching, how ambitious you’re feeling, and how often you feel you need a break. I tend to stick to about 19 classes. Let me “break” it down for you (hehe, see what I did there?):
Length of Teaching:
If you have been teaching awhile and have a decent following, I would recommend only opening the slots you want to teach and leaving closed any slots where you want a break. HOWEVER! When I first started I opened all of the overnight slots, knowing that not all of them would book. As the bookings started coming in, I then closed slots as necessary to create some breaks.
I recommend watching your bookings as they come in closely so that you don’t overextend yourself. I know my limits tend to be a break every 3-5 classes. Can I do more? Absolutely, and I have! But I am not one of those superheroes in the Hutong who can teach 26 straight. That is bananas! Just be aware of how tiring teaching all night is and be prepared to adjust accordingly.
This is what I do now, a series of 3 classes, break, 3 classes, break, 3 classes, break, 5 classes, break, 5 classes. Make sure you give yourself time to eat, run to the bathroom, catch up on feedback, stretch, and maybe even take a short nap!
How do you prepare for an overnight?
Let me preface this by saying holy genie peach bellini, overnights are exhausting! I have a ton of fun with them by staying up late, talking to people on the Hutong and the Facebook group, and catching up on other things (like this blog). Make sure you are PSYCHED to teach an overnight or it will be the longggggggggest night of your life. It starts by making sure I eat food that will give me energy before my classes and I snack throughout the night. I also make sure I have plenty of water on hand to stay hydrated. Caffeine is also a good thing, if that’s your cup of tea (or coffee, or soda, etc.). I make sure my computer is updated, my props are set out, and all my technology appears to be working. I also make sure I have nothing urgent to do the next day. I will go back to sleep right after my last class and sleep ~6 hours. Sometimes I will also set up a list of things I can do to keep me engaged on my breaks!
Any tips for staying awake?
This is an incomplete list of things I have done during my breaks to keep me awake. As you can see, just about anything will do:
Listen to loud music
Talk to others on social media (the Hutong, Facebook, etc.)
Work on other tasks for work/school
Make grocery/to do lists
Watch a Netflix show I love
Impromptu dance parties a la Grey’s Anatomy
Walk my dogs
Eat (oh my gosh I eat so MUCH)
Anything else that will keep my brain ENGAGED!
Hopefully this answered some of your questions about teaching overnights! Any questions or comments? ask me during my friendly neighborhood moderator chats on the Facebook group! Happy teaching!
-Teacher Sydney & Bob the Dinosaur