Doing the Unexpected: Meet VIPKid Teacher Lori

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Last month we hit the road to find out a little more about one of our long-time teachers, Teacher Lori.

Teaching with VIPKid means many things to many people: financial freedom, flexibility, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to shape young minds, or just a passion for the color orange due to a mild Cheetos obsession developed in early childhood. For Lori however, well, read on…

“The past year I’ve had opportunities I never thought I’d have…”

Lori began teaching with VIPKid just over a year ago. As a stay-at-home mom, it was a way to spend her time meaningfully and also a chance to go back to doing something she loved – teaching. But her journey with VIPKid was far more than just smiling and waving through a screen.

“This past year I’ve had opportunities I never thought I’d have, including starring in a commercial for VIPKid! (Check out larger-than-life Lori here). I also went to the Journey Event in Utah. I never thought I would do any of these things, which is a really fun aspect of working with VIPKid. We never know where life is going to take us!”

“I think it’s good for my kids…”

For Lori, being a stay-at-home mom also had the unintended consequence of her children developing the innocent perception that mom equals a personal organizer, chef, house cleaner and occasional psychologist. Lori recounts a situation where she told her 4-year old how she actually “doesn’t love cleaning” to which the overwhelmingly rational response was “Oh you love cleaning mum, you always do it!” But once she began working with VIPKid, it meant her kids could see “I have something important too.”

“It’s fulfilling and something for myself”

Before VIPKid, Lori sought to get back into education by grading tests online. It’s not quite as boring as testing the temperature of frozen peas, but Laurie was a little demotivated without actual interaction with students. Once she found VIPKid she was able to reconnect with students. She found something she could “succeed at and is pretty fulfilling as well as a good way to start my day. Like having something for myself.

There aren’t many jobs that require you to wake up with the birds, yet still make you feel like a million bucks. But for Lori, like so many others, “once you start teaching and you see the kids it’s really easy to wake up, the kids are great”.

“Creating Global Citizens”

“I love learning about their culture and them learning about our culture. Creating global citizens as they say. They’re more aware of our culture and maybe more understanding of our culture and we’re more understanding of their culture. I really love that about VIPKid.”

Having traveled and lived outside of the US herself, Lori knows just how important the exchange of cultures can be. The idea that foreigners aren’t scary is a central part of how Lori views this cultural exchange.

Another interesting aspect Lori noticed in her students, was just how similar they are to kids at home. Just listen to this magical exchange that occurred with one of her students:

“There’s another kid named Jerry. He likes to read books with his camera on before class starts. Occasionally I’ll see what he’s reading just as I enter the class. One time I noticed he was reading the Chinese version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid – which my nine-year old reads too. One day I grabbed the book before class started, and pretended to be reading it myself when he entered the classroom. Jerry was so surprised, and just like that you’ve made a unique connection and the class starts off really well.”

“You have to develop a style that works for you”

Just like you’ll (almost) never find fortune cookies in China, neither is there only one way to teach online. Laurie debunks the notion that flapping your arms wildly and grinning like the Cheshire cat is the only way to engage with little kids through a screen.

“Each kid is different and you have to adapt your teaching style to that particular child to try and bring out the fun or the happiness in the individual. It’s a fun challenge for me, and while some kids are pretty easy to interact with, there are also a few stoic and very serious children and it’s always my goal to get them to smile or laugh.”

Recognizing that everyone has their own style, it took Lori only a few classes to realize whacky wasn’t for her. Instead, she works hard to build unique rapport with every child she teaches, and through this has developed a bunch of special relationships with her students.