Over 500 Teachers Gather in Chicago for VIPKid’s High-Energy “Journey” Conference


This month, we were so excited to host our fourth regional Journey conference in Chicago, Illinois, a city known for its innovation, culture and of course, deep dish pizza. After hosting Journey in Salt Lake City, Dallas and Orlando, we knew we had to give the Midwest some love. Illinois is home to over 2,000 teachers on the VIPKid platform, with thousands more in surrounding states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. We loved hearing stories from teachers that traveled to Journey by cars, trains and even planes; their dedication and passion for VIPKid was palpable!

Over 500 attendees from 38 states packed into the Hilton Chicago to hear from VIPKid Founder and CEO Cindy Mi and City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Cindy Mi spoke about the power of VIPKid in teachers’ lives, as well as the positive impact that the teachers can have on their communities. “What unifies us is our mission of inspiring and empowering every child for the future. We hope Journey will help you maximize your VIPKid experience as you become a better teacher and citizen of the world.”

Throughout the day, teachers enjoyed workshops (many of them led by fellow teachers!) on a wide range of topics, including student experience, tips and tricks for veteran teachers, using technology in the classroom and Chinese culture. Between sessions, teachers participated in Chinese calligraphy lessons, hung with ever-popular Dino and visited booths for The Rural Education Project and Lingo Bus. Later, acclaimed Chicago-based comedy troupe The Second City performed and led fun interactive exercises on improvisation.

Perhaps the best part of any Journey is the new connections that are forged between teachers. Our goal is to have every teacher leave Journey with at least one new friend. One highlight of the weekend was learning about three teachers who discovered through teacher-to-teacher feedback that they shared one student and met in person for the first time at Journey. Susan (Minnesota), Hannah (Ohio) and Christina (Illinois) have learned how powerful a small team of teachers can be for one student!

After Journey concluded, teacher Kenneisha L. Williams wrote: “Now that I’ve experienced my first Journey, in my hometown, the city that birthed and raised me…wow! The passion, the energy, the drive to make a positive cultural change! My mind is still racing from such a rejuvenating, soul reaching, fun, compassionate event.”

We hope that every VIPKid teacher has a chance to join us at Journey. Stay tuned for updates on our next location this summer!


  1. What a party! I think this would be so empowering to be around so many other VIPKid teachers who share the same passion as you!

  2. I found out about it a few weeks before it was happening, so i was unable to attend, but I hope to make it to the next one!

  3. This conference seems like a great time. I love that T2T feedback brought those three teachers together. Let’s do one in Raleigh, NC!!

  4. I went and it was amazing! I am finding out more and more awesome facts about Chicago now. Wow! I can’t move there, but I’m glad to be somewhat close!

  5. This is seriously one of the most inspiring articles I have seen. I can’t wait to attend my first meetup. As a newbie I have not had much time to plan on attending 🙂 but I most definitely want to very soon.

  6. I hope they have one in Texas soon. I started last summer and love it as a part-time job. I love teaching the kids and I love the collaborate community of teachers. It takes a village to raise a child.

  7. Sounds like an amazing experience, sad I missed it! Looking forward to next year- this is my first week with VIPKID and I’m excited to see where this journey will take me

  8. Journey was the best professional conference experience I’ve had in a long time. The program was inspiring and the facility was terrific. Thank you for bringing Journey to Chicago! It was only 3 hours from my home in Michigan and I’m always happy to visit the Windy City.

  9. I’m looking forward to attending one of these sometime. I was excited to see the posts from this conference in Chicago. It must be amazing to meet up with other VIPKID teachers!

  10. I loved every minute of Journey!! This was my first Journey and I cannot wait to hear where the next one will be held. It is so empowering to be around other VIPKID teachers that share the same passion and encourage one another!!

  11. Journey was amazing! I can’t wait to go again! The highlight of my trip was meeting Christina and Nancy! They are just as nice in person as they are on YouTube. And, I made a really great new friend, Janet! Thank you, VIPKid for arranging this wonderful event!

  12. Journey was so much fun to interact with other teachers. We were able to talk about different lessons and how we reinforce some of those difficult terms or concepts in English. It was a conference with a lot of laughter and learning.


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