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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Work From Home Job...VIPKID One Year Later


Today I am celebrating my 1 year anniversary of working for VIPKID!  I can hardly believe that 365 days have flown by.  What an amazing opportunity and adventure this has been for this stay at home mama of four!  VIPKID is a company that pairs native English speaking teachers with Chinese students.  The students are taught in a full immersion English class; one-to-one.  The company has continued to grow over this past year.  When I was hired there were around 5,000 teachers.  That number has grown to nearly 20,000 teachers and 200,000 active students this past year.  I had the privilege of just signing my third contract.  Teachers are contracted for 6 month periods of time.

This is what my set up looked like in the very beginning (Jan 2017).  I was downstairs moving the computer back and forth between desks so I could use the wall for props.  It wasn't the most effective.  I can recall the heart banner falling down in the middle of a class.  LOL. And it got old real quick moving the computer back and forth. 

My next move was to our upstairs walk in closet.  I taught classes between February and July in the closet.  It was the perfect set up for awhile.  I could contain all of my things and shut the door so my kiddos couldn't "help" re-arrange my teaching materials.

I was very happy in my new space.  I got the swing of the program and began building a base of regular students.  I also enjoyed only being steps from my bedroom and sleeping kiddos.  

Props are a part of this job.  They help bring the curriculum alive for the students and enhance the lessons.  I think I really enjoy props.  I have a few! 
VIPKID is a very fun, young company to work for.  Here I was participating in a prop contest for the VIPKID Instagram account.  I didn't win this contest, but I have received $275 extra dollars for incentives and bonuses through the company this past year.  VIPKID sends teachers to China twice per year, and offers all sorts of fun prizes and incentives throughout the year.  
I enjoyed and currently enjoy designing and improving my virtual classroom.  I love being my own boss, setting my own schedule and hours.  The flexibility has been wonderful, and I mostly teach while my kiddos are sleeping.  You can see a glimpse of the platform.  The PowerPoint is on the left and video chatting with both of us would be on the right in the blue boxes.  There are currently 6 levels of certification in VIPKID.  Some of the levels are even interactive.
In July I made a move downstairs next to a window.  LOL.  After months in a stuffy closet, it was so nice to have airflow and fresh air.  The set up has allowed me to be closer to the router to plug in, and further away from those that wish to sleep.  LOL.

VIPKID has also allowed my children and I to experience and learn about a different culture.  They are always asking my questions about who I am teaching and what they are doing.  This little blonde cutie wants to visit China as much as I do.  
I think she might also aspire to be an online teacher.  I've caught her practicing many times.

I couldn't be more thrilled with this opportunity to really work from home, in my PJ pants while my kids sleep.  I have been paid on time and correctly every month for the past year.  The money is direct deposited into my account the same time each month.  There are a few requirements that you need to be hired for this company.  You must have a 4 year degree (it doesn't have to be in education).  You also need to have a year experience teaching children.  You do NOT need a teaching certificate.  If you think this opportunity might work for you, I encourage you to try it out.  It has given our family a little bit of extra money each month.  You can visit the website here and apply VIPKID WEBSITE.  If you decided to sign up you can copy and paste my referral code.  I will get a small bonus if you apply and are hired.  Here is my referral code: https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=3266666
I would also be available for anyone that has questions.  My email address is misscarissa@hotmail.com

This past year has been an exciting experience and I look forward to this next 365 days, as I start as a veteran teacher of VIPKID.  I can't wait to see how much more I grow.  Thank you VIPKID!



Saturday, January 13, 2018

Week Two @ The Dahlhouse




I started week 2 at the Dahlhouse with a little bit of panic.  I had taken all the kiddos to the Dollar Tree for a treat.  They LOVE to find all sorts of treasures.  Man Cub was enthralled by these Valentine's beads.  Watching necklaces swing back and forth is one of his visual stems.  So I grabbed these for him, and he was very happy.  Fast forward an hour, and I am getting him ready for a nap at home.  I notice him trying to itch his arm.  I look down to see that he is covered in hives.  This quickly spread over to his other arm, and then anywhere the beads had touched him, he had hives.  It was slightly scary for a few minutes.  I quickly put him in a baking soda bath and called my good friend who walked me through what to do and even sent over liquid Benadryl.  Thank you!  Within an hour the hives had subsided and he was back to himself.  Bella and Matthew are my allergy kiddos.  They both struggle with environmental allergies.  Bella has her inhalers, and Matthew already has eczema.  So now I am carrying liquid Benadryl with me wherever I go, because I never know what is going to make him break out.  

This girl keeps me hopping and laughing.  Seriously...she loves all things fashion and makeup and this blonde wig was right up her ally.  I needed a good laugh after the hive incident.  




Matthew has kept me busy and tired this week.  He has this fabulous idea that getting up in the middle of the night for a visit is a great idea.  He has also decided that our bed is a lot more fun than his crib.  Him and I are going to have a long talk.   LOL.  He continued with therapy this week.  We are currently waiting for a referral for an occupational evaluation.    


Miss B continues to gain independence.  On Friday she walked herself into school by herself.  I'm both proud and sad.  I enjoy our morning walks into the classroom, and my morning walks back out to the van carrying a screaming toddler who doesn't want to leave first grade.  Hahaha.  She is also my mini me in so many ways.  I caught her "teaching" to her students.  I sure do heart this girl.

Chinese New Year is quickly approaching and I took the opportunity to send some cards, stickers and postcards to five of my regular students I see the most.  I was worried about how much it would cost to send this envelope to China, but much to my surprise it was only about $6 dollars.  The cards had nothing of value in them so I didn't need a customs form.  Hoping the cards make there way to my students.  The big envelope gets sent to the VIPKID office, and then they distribute the cards to the students.   
My latest read is the book pictured above Little Soldiers by Lenora Chu.  I am almost finished with it and the book has been a fascinated read.  It has allowed me to have a glimpse into the Chinese education system, how they are educated, the philosophy and what pressures my students I am teaching are facing.  I have really enjoyed reading this book.  I didn't quite meet my goal of 12 books last year...I was two short.  This year my goal is to read 24 books (2 each month).  As Matthew becomes older, I am able to spend more time reading (which I really, really enjoy).
I saved the best story for last...I am so excited to announce that Luke is going to Washington DC with his 8th grade class!  This handsome guy wanted to go so badly this past fall.  And when Mark and I told him "no" it nearly broke his heart.  We ultimately decided that given Luke's special needs(meds, schedules, organizational skills), either Mark or I would need to go with him.  Mark's work schedule is crazy, and I am parenting a 1 year old that wouldn't understand if I was gone for 9 days.  It was a difficult decision to make.  

Last week we were approached by a staff member that volunteered to be Luke's personal chaperone for the trip.  This person has had a lot of experience with special needs and understands Luke.  They asked us to reconsider.  I was so honored that this staff member would do this for Luke, however the huge hurdle was the cost.  We hadn't been saving for the trip because we had decide he wasn't going. It wasn't even on our radar.  And the money was due...well...now.  The trip is in 6 weeks.  
My heart was really heavy. As a special needs mama you want your children to be able to do and participate in things that "typical" children do.  You want the same experiences and opportunities.  Many times it just doesn't happen. A lot of times the answer is "no".  Sports is one such example.  Luke would love to play baseball and basketball.  He physically can't run very fast and the eye/ball/bat/hit combo is difficult for him with pitches that are thrown over hand and boys that much bigger than him.  He does play baseball in a special league and we've really encouraged golf, which he adores.   I cried a lot of tears over wanting to Luke to have this opportunity to go to DC now that it was an option.  
We decided to get creative...we had enough money for half of the trip ourselves, and the school had a partial scholarship but that left us $600 short.  I have a hard time asking for help, but I decided I could put my pride aside for Luke.  I am willing to do anything for him.  So I set up a go fund me and poured my heart out.  Within ONE day, the entire $600 was funded and we even got a little extra so he has spending money and we can go to Ross and buy a small suitcase for him.  So many people came together to support Luke, and make this a possibility.  The text messages and phone calls and offers blew me away!  Money was given from people I barley knew, and from people that believe in special needs kiddos having opportunities like these.  I felt so incredibly loved.  So in a matter of one week...Luke got his big wish.  I couldn't have done it by myself, and I will forever tuck this victory away, so that I can think back on it during times when I feel discouraged.  In a world where Luke experiences so many "no's"...this one got to be a YES! 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Week #1 @ The Dahlhouse













Happy 2018!  It is a new year, and with a new year comes new goals and plans.  One of my goals, is to complete a weekly update on the blog.  I started with good intentions last year, but never could keep caught up.  So this year...here I am...making it a goal of mine to complete all 52 weeks.

I have to admit though, the Christmas holiday did not turn out the way I planned or envisioned.  I ended up catching a horrendous stomach bug that lasted for 6 days!  I kid you not!!!  At one point I thought I was going to need to go to the ER for dehydration but eventually was able to keep in Gatorade.  I had all these grand plans to do with the kiddos the week prior to Christmas; however, due to my illness, we literally stayed home in PJ's.  Thankfully I felt much better by the time Christmas rolled around.

Our anniversary was January 2.  We celebrated 19 year of marriage!  How can we have been married that long!  Seriously. In my head I don't feel much older than the day we said, "I do." We celebrated by taking the kiddos to the Oregon Coast.  It was the most beautiful beach day for January.  The kids flew their little kites (even though their was no wind).  Man Cub enjoyed running around in the sand.

The kiddos returned to school January 3 and I have slowly began getting Christmas d├ęcor put away for another year.  I think it is almost finished.  Finally. 

I am dealing with the aftermath of a hit and run on our brand new van.  Went into Target to pick up prescriptions....20 minutes later came out to the back drivers side completely scratched up.  I couldn't believe it.  I went back into Target to talk to security.  Unfortunately all those camera signs that they post all over,, don't really mean much unless your vehicle is front and center.  Nothing was caught on camera.  No note left.  No witness.  I've kept a pretty decent attitude about the whole thing, and I was very proud that I didn't say anything I would regret.  My older kids were watching and I am hopeful they were able to learn a valuable lesson about honesty, consequences and people are more important than things.

Man Cub had therapy this week.  He is currently on break from feeding therapy (which has gone very well), and we are awaiting a new evaluation for occupational therapy.  I've had a new awareness of Matthew's (Man Cub's) needs.  He is showing some symptoms/signs of having a spectrum disorder.  You think with my background and education I would have put two and two together sooner, but when it is your own child (and not a student) I think sometimes you just get so caught up in life you don't stop and think.  Currently, Matthew has a language delay, feeding delay, toe walking, he has visual stems he does, lines things up, and sensory issues.  The positives are that he has great eye contact.  I am not borrowing trouble or self diagnosing.  I am only being aware of the symptoms and watching him closely.  I am very thankful that he is in early intervention. I am so glad I trusted my mom gut when I talked to the doctor when Matthew was 9 months old.

Here's to a New Year.  With all the hope, promise and blank pages waiting to be written!


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Week #41 @ The Dahlhouse





Week #41 found us attending "Apple Day" in the first grade.  I got to bring a long a little helper.  And help he did!!!  He helped re-arrange of all Miss Moore's books, and pencils and scrap paper.  He helped by climbing under all of the desks and throwing paper on the floor.  He helped by screaming in protest when it was time to leave.  He is such a good helper.  Bella's class had fun making applesauce, graphing their favorite types of apples and making apple noodles.  I really appreciate all the fun hands on learning she does in school. 




I went back out to the Vancouver Pumpkin Patch and had fun picking tomatoes and peppers and came home to make fresh salsa.  I've always wanted to this, and it was good to begin something and see it through to completion. 
This is real life most days...me cleaning and the kids coming right alongside me destroying any of my efforts. 

We had our family pictures taken.  Stay tuned!!!  I can't wait to see them. 
Keeping up with this guy!  He loves being outside and because we have had some unusually warm days we have been able to play more.
My ever growing long lists have helped keep me organized.  I enjoy seeing things get crossed off the list. 
We were excited to have Bella's teacher and her daughter over to our home for a play date.  The girls really enjoy one another's company.  They caught so many frogs in our backyard I lost count. 

We love our bun-buns and so does Matthew!

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