Cancer Resources Blog Series: Working During Cancer Treatment

One of the biggest surprises to me during the past year is the amount of support available to cancer fighters. I know about them now, but at the beginning, I had no idea the number of resources we could have been taking advantage of! When you first have a diagnosis, your brain is going a million miles a minute, and you don’t always have time to seek out these resources. To make them accessible, I am starting a weekly series highlighting some of the resources we found to be most helpful. These will range from financial assistance, therapy and counseling, transportation aids, at-home nurses, and more. Have an organization or resource you love and want to share? Tell me about them in the comments below!

This is Week One, and I’m starting off with a big one: Working During Cancer Treatment

I wanted to write this post to shed light on a company who helped us stay afloat. I am incredibly lucky to now be running Better + Co. full time now, but when this all began a year and a half ago, we needed options for flexible, supplementary income. We have supportive and generous family and friends, but staying on top of bills was a challenge. Why?

  1. It’s hard to focus on work when you’re fighting for your life. Cancer patients have to find this difficult balance. There is a whole other world happening outside of your typical work-life schedule, and finding the time to focus on making money is tough.

  2. Treatment is time-consuming. Treatment can feel like a full-time job on its own. There are endless appointments, and they don’t always stay on a consistent schedule. Tommy would wake up early to be at his radiation and chemo appointments before heading straight to work. Luckily, his work often started later in the day, but for patients who work 9 to 5’s, scheduling can be tricky.

  3. Cancer is expensive! Even if you have amazing insurance, you are going to have extra expenses. For us, it was high monthly premiums, frequent co-pays, car services when Tommy wasn’t well enough to take the subway, expensive meal replacements and foods, hospital stays, prescriptions, and more. Even if you’re ‘covered’ you are still spending way more than you normally spend.

For the times we couldn’t work full time, we worked from home with VIPKID. VIPKID is a remote teaching company that connects you with students in China via web teaching. They design the lessons, and then you teach 25-minute English classes to students 1-on-1.

LETTING YOU KNOW BEFORE YOU READ MORE: This is not a solution for everyone. For us, it was a life saver. We really enjoyed teaching the students and loved that there is no work required outside of the lessons. You write a brief review after each class for the parents, but that’s it! There is no lesson planning, and very little prep, especially after you are used to the set-up. BUT teaching is not for everyone, so if this is not for you, tune in next week for information on one of our favorite support organizations: CancerCare!

If you want to know more, read on! I’m going to share why VIPKID can be a great option for people who need to work from home/on their own schedule.

  1. Requirements: You must have a Bachelor’s Degree. You can work from any location worldwide, as long as you have a stable internet connection. You must be set-up with a desktop, laptop, Mac, or Surface device with an HD external or HD integrated camera and a headset with a microphone. (We use normal Apple earbuds with a mic, you don’t need anything fancy!)

  2. Getting Started. There is an online application, followed by an interview. The interview can be pre-recorded or live. You will record a short mock lesson, very similar to the lessons you will teach in a real class. They provide all the necessary materials for the ‘lesson’ and show you exactly what you will need to be prepared. It can seem scary and unfamiliar, but they really do set you up for success. To begin the process, you can apply through my referral link!

  3. The Mock Class. After you pass through the interview stage, you will teach a full-length mock lesson with an evaluator. Once again, they provide everything you need, including videos of example mock lessons. This you will teach live, via video chat as if you were teaching an actual student. The reading level will be around a kindergarten/first grade level of a new English speaker. VIPKID lessons are immersive, so you will read and speak English the entire class.

  4. Start Teaching! Once your mock lesson is evaluated and approved, you can start teaching! The scheduling can be anything you need it to be. You can teach as little or as often as you want/are able to. Want to teach a class the next morning? You can make time slots available same-day, and even make bonus money for classes booked within 24 hours of the lesson! If you are feeling well one week, you can teach more, and if you’re not feeling as well the next week, you don’t have to book any classes. There is no penalty for not teaching. Tommy almost always opened his classes the night before, because we never knew how he would feel from week to week. This flexibility kept him from having to work a job while he was feeling bad, but allowed him to maximize the time when he was feeling well and wanted to work!

  5. Make Money From Home. The hourly rate for all teachers is $14-$22/hour. (Hourly rate based on two 25-minute classes per hour). The rate you are offered in your contract is based on your experience and mock lesson evaluation. You have opportunities to change your rate at each contract renewal.

How long will it take to start teaching? From application to your first class can take as little as a week, but you can also take your time with the interview process. Tommy and I had worked for VIPKID in years past when we were in between acting jobs, so we had it ready to go when we needed to pick it up again last year. You will likely not book every class time you open when you first start teaching, but will quickly be booking full schedules as you gain students and experience.

If you find yourself feeling confused or overwhelmed during the interview process, that’s okay! We were too but quickly realized how many resources there were to help us. VIPKID has TONS of teachers now, and there are a million blogs and videos to help you through.

I have so many friends who have taught and are still teaching, with VIPKID. That being said, sometimes applicants are not passed through various stages of the interview process. This does occasionally happen, but I wouldn’t let this deter you from giving it a go, and submitting your application! You have nothing to lose, and a lot of stay-at-home supplemental income to earn. Have questions? Comment below, or feel free to send me a message!