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We are about halfway through 2021 and in the spirit of ongoing transparency, we wanted to provide an update on the latest Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work on the VIPKid platform. Creating a more equitable community and platform experience is a top priority for VIPKid, and we want to remain accountable by sharing the steps teams are taking across the organization.
If you’re new to the VIPKid community or simply want a refresh of the work that’s been done over the last year, you can read our previous DEI update emails and blog posts here. You can also visit our DEI webpage to learn more about our commitment to this very important work.
With this spirit of compassion and community, please see below for the latest updates on VIPKid’s DEI work.
Diversity Speaker Series
In honor of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, on May 20, Juju Chang, Emmy-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline, shared her personal experiences as an Asian American living in the United States. The second installment in VIPKid’s Diversity Speaker Series, Chang also discussed the importance of recognizing unconscious bias and being able to “see one another’s humanity” during these challenging times.
This series is a quarterly program of virtual events that will provide teachers with opportunities to hear from unique perspectives and viewpoints, challenge personal paradigms, and celebrate diversity. Thought leaders and experts will be invited to speak on a variety of topics that could include race, ethnicity, gender, identity, religion, age, veteran status, ability status, and social justice.
Check out the reactions from teachers who attended this event on the Hutong thread here.
Pride Month in the VIPKid teacher community
Throughout the month of June, VIPKid recognized Pride month—a time to celebrate and support the beauty and diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. During this month, we spotlighted LGBTQIA+ teachers in the Weekly Teacher Update and in our online communities, created two new community banners for our Official Facebook group featuring pictures of the VIPKid LGBTQIA+ community and allies, and held Pride-themed teacher-led meetups.
As this is the first time VIPKid has celebrated Pride, we know we have a long way to go. We are thankful for the courageous teachers who shared their stories with us, and the encouraging response from the community. Our aim is to create a teacher community where everyone feels included and can be their authentic selves. We look forward to continuing to build a supportive, welcoming environment that exists throughout a teacher’s experience on the VIPKid platform.
To honor the tremendous array of lived experiences in our teacher community, this past year we launched a series of teacher spotlights featuring diverse narratives and experiences.
We have featured teachers in the Weekly Teacher Update and across VIPKid social media. In case you missed any of these stories, you can check out all Teacher Spotlights here.
We are excited to continue featuring amazing educators throughout the year, and share all the wonderful stories from our community.
Check out upcoming Weekly Teacher Updates for the form to nominate teachers (or yourself!) to be spotlighted in this ongoing series.
Onboarding of the Diversity Council
In May, we opened applications for teachers to apply for the Diversity Council, which was previously part of the Teacher Advisory Council. There were no prerequisites for joining this program, as everyone should have a voice in our DEI work.
We were incredibly grateful to receive an impressive volume of applications from teachers and were inspired to learn of the commitment in the community towards advancing DEI at VIPKid.
We are very excited to announce that we have selected the new Spring 2021 Cohort of the Diversity Council. This iteration of the council represents passionate teacher leaders from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives in the VIPKid community. We look forward to the upcoming months and our work together. We will make sure to keep the teacher community updated on the work and impact of the Diversity Council.
This is a four-month-long cohort, and we encourage teachers to apply for the next cycle when applications open in the fall. If you are not part of the Diversity Council and would like to share feedback with the team, please do not hesitate to send a ticket to our Teacher Voice Team.
We are so grateful to continue working together with educators to make VIPKid a diverse, equitable, safe, and inclusive community.
Diversity Workshops for VIPKid Employees in Our China and US Offices, and for Teacher Community Leaders
In early June, VIPKid staff in our China and US Offices completed workshops on understanding and recognizing unconscious bias. In addition, around 100 VIPKid teachers completed a workshop hosted by Bold Culture on developing inclusive communication skills, offered to Community Social Directory admins, mentors and coaches.
Hear from community leaders who attended the event here:
“I appreciate that I had to learn about being an active listener as well as ways that I can use language that is unbiased. It was an eye-opening experience, and I truly appreciated the opportunity to participate. I look forward to more opportunities to learn and have conversations regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion-related topics.”
“The workshop was excellent! Not only did it present areas where we can improve our own communications, but it gave many practical ways to effectively communicate in a more inclusive way.”
We hope to make these types of workshops available to all teachers on the platform and hope to have more information about this opportunity and the timeline soon. Learning opportunities and more inclusive spaces will allow for a diverse set of voices to become leaders in the community. Stay tuned for more information!
Let Us Know How We Can Best Support Teachers in the Community
These updates are a few of the recent highlights that demonstrate our ongoing commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive community. In the second half of the year, our teams are continuing to examine ways we can improve the experience of our entire community, in addition to persisting in our work to better create and define policies to address discrimination in the classroom.
If you have any feedback or would like to share your ideas, send in a ticket to the Teacher Voice team and select the “Diversity and Inclusion” dropdown. We’re grateful for your feedback on this topic that is a priority for our community.