The most important thing to know about VIPKid Journey is that you should go if you can. It is 100% worth it. I went to the VIPKid Journey Chicago conference in March 2019 and I give it a 5 star review without even thinking twice about it.
In this review I will tell you all about the VIPKid Journey conference agenda, what you can gain from going to VIPKid Journey, and the highlights of my Journey experience.
The VIPKid Journey Conference Agenda
VIPKid did not reveal the agenda until the week before the event. We got to choose which breakout sessions we wanted to go to and we were asked to select several choices for each of the three breakout sessions on a Google form. I was very curious about how the whole conference would run, so I am sharing the agenda with you. Even after choosing breakout sessions, it is pretty relaxed in terms of switching where you go. I popped in to several session which were not assigned to me.
Here is a rundown of the program
- 8:00-8:45 Check in (super fast and efficient) and Continental Breakfast
- 9:00 Journey Kickoff (see the clip below) – Video of Dino in Chicago, Speech from Cindy Mi, Calisthenics Practice, Teacher Shout-outs
- 9:55 First Breakout Session
- 11:00 Second Breakout Session
- 12:05 Fireside Chat with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (VIPKid is now going to have teachers from China teach students in Chicago)
- 12:40 Lunch (provided by VIPKid -Thank you!)
- 1:55 Third Breakout Session
- 3:00 Performance from the Second City
- 4:30-6:00 Reception (Dinner and a Drink provided by VIPKid – Thank you!)
The event was at the Hilton and it was a perfect space because the main ballroom was big enough to fit all 500 of us without feeling cramped. The breakout sessions were on the other side of the hotel which was perfect for getting in some steps. One of the sessions I went to was a little overcrowded. A few people were standing in the back of the room, but we could hear and see everything well. Everything ran very smoothly. I was impressed with the organization. Each session started and ended on time.
What You Can Gain from VIPKid Journey
When you go to VIPKid Journey you will gain a better sense of the company’s mission and learn more about current company goals. You will learn from experienced teachers in the break out sessions. Above all, you will connect with your colleagues.
A Better Sense of the Company’s Mission
VIPKid already does a great job of expressing their mission in company updates and on their website, but hearing Cindy Mi speak brings a whole other level to understanding the company’s mission. Her speech gave me a sense of who she is as a person and how much she really cares about education. She wants VIPKid to help students not just in China, but around the world.
Because Cindy cares so much about education, she has a lot of appreciation for us as teachers. She understands that without us the company cannot survive. Not only did she tell us that she cares about the teachers, but she is showing that she cares by creating an event like Journey and by providing us with excellent training from the moment we become VIPKid teachers. Not only did Cindy Mi represent the company’s mission in her speech, but teachers were also able to connect more with leaders and staff from headquarters in an intimate breakout session.
One of the breakout sessions was a VIPKid Speed Meeting where teachers got the opportunity to sit down and chat with people from headquarters. It was speed dating style. I did not attend this meeting, but I spoke with several teachers who attended and they absolutely loved it.
One of my friends told me how she was able to connect with one of the leaders of the company and tell him about her goals to grow at VIPKid. Another friend told me that she was able to provide feedback about areas where VIPKid can improve. What an amazing opportunity!
Learn From Experienced Teachers in Breakout Sessions
The breakout sessions that I went to provided tips for teaching and tips for growing at the company. In the session called “Beyond the Classroom” with Raychel Yokem I learned about how she connected with a student using a reward system that completely changed the energy level in her class. Raychel explained how she asked her student what reward she preferred and how that allowed her to better connect with her student.
Raychel also talked about how we need to meet student where they are and this is a philosophy that resonates with me. So many times we want students to respond based on their level instead of where they are actually at cognitively. We cannot force kids to be at a certain level. We have to meet them where they are at based on their current needs. Life is much easier for both the teacher and the student when we help kids based on their needs.
Next I went to Nancy Taylor’s Finding Your VIPKid Identity which was all about how you can contribute to the company and take on different roles based on who you are and what works best for you. Both Nancy’s and Raychel’s sessions inspired me because they made me want to be a better teacher and work toward my goals in the online teaching industry.
Connecting with Colleagues
I did not go the the third breakout session because I was walking around with Carol having a blast being silly on camera.
I have known Carol since I first started at VIPKid in 2016. She was one of my first YouTube subscribers. It was so cool to connect in person with a teacher I have known since the beginning of my online teaching journey. It was amazing to connect with colleagues I met on Facebook or Instagram and it was so nice to meet people for the first time at the conference.
VIPKid Journey Review Highlights
The biggest highlight was meeting my friends from social media and making new friends. I took a train into the city with my new friend, Kate and we had a blast talking about our teaching experiences. When we arrived I ran into another new friend I met at a Teachers Pay Teachers conference. Overall, I was so excited to see both new faces and people I am already connected with.
To learn more about the VIPKid Journey experience, check out my vlog.