Virtual English teachers gather at LaGrange College – LaGrange Daily News
A special event Saturday at LaGrange College brought together hundreds of online teachers from Georgia and Alabama.
VIPKid is a company that allows individuals to teach English to Chinese students in their spare time. Saturday’s event was considered the largest gathering of Georgia teachers in company history.
VIPKid teachers must meet certain requirements, such as a four-year degree and experience with children. Teachers have a lot of flexibility in their schedule, setting their own appointments for students to enroll. Due to the 13-hour time difference between Georgia and China, most classes are held between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. ET.
There are more than 3,500 VIPKid teachers in the state of Georgia, which ranks third overall in the company. According to the corporate sponsor of Saturday’s event, there are approximately 40 Troup County-based teachers who work for VIPKid. Melissa Miller, who hosted Saturday’s event, is a VIPKid teacher who lives in LaGrange.
“I love being able to make a difference around the world from my home office, while having the opportunity to homeschool our kids and get involved in our community,” Miller said.
Teachers are not required to have a teaching degree, but must prove they can do the job well.
“The interviewing and hiring process is tough, but it’s tough because it has to be,” Miller said. “It’s a different teaching environment. They have to teach mock lessons to mentor teachers.
Saturday’s event was aimed at bringing teachers together. Since the work is online, teachers often befriend each other through Facebook groups or other online communities, but rarely meet in person.
“Because it’s an online job, we don’t have co-workers that we see,” said Shannon Mabry, a VIPKid teacher. “So because of that, our company encourages these kinds of events where teachers meet. It can be very lonely having a job where you only talk to kids and never see real adults.
Teachers traveled from all over the state of Georgia, including as far away as Savannah, to attend. There were also several teachers from Alabama who made the short drive over the state line.
Dr. Colby Jones, assistant professor of education at LaGrange College, was the keynote speaker for the event. Joseph Miller, vice president of admissions, said the college believes the program achieves one of its global concentrations because of its focus on teaching English to speakers of other languages.