ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) " Christie Coulon gives up a few hours of sleep each morning to teach English immersion classes to students in China. She's not the only one in Louisiana to have found a second job in a successful Beijing company.

As more than 200,000 Mandarin-speaking students turn to VIPKID and videoconferencing technology to learn a second language, Coulon and fellow educators across the U.S. and Canada are benefiting, as well.

VIPKID is growing in popularity with current and retired teachers, moms and others looking to work from home or earn a little extra money.

It recently earned the top spot on a Forbes list for remote jobs.

The company advertises one-on-one lessons based on Common Core Standards for Chinese students between the ages of 4 and 12.

"I absolutely love it," said Coulon, whose full-time job is with the Rapides Parish School District as a technology facilitator.

Classes are early in the morning here because of the time difference, so it doesn't interfere with the typical day job.

Coulon offers two 25-minute bookings on weekdays and a few on the weekends. She teaches from her bedroom in Alexandria while the rest of her family sleeps.

Sometimes, Coulon has to remind herself to greet students by asking how their day was instead of by saying "good morning."

"I have been out of the classroom for a while, and this puts me back in that teaching environment," she said.

Job requirements include a college degree (it doesn't have to be in education), a year of experience teaching or mentoring, reliable internet and a six-month contract.

Otherwise, VIPKID does the rest of the work.

"The things that are really great about it are the one-on-one (instruction) and the fact that all of the lessons are already built and put together for you," said Christine Prejean, a speech therapist and from the Breaux Bridge area. "We're not having to create any curriculum. I don't have to grade any papers."

An enthusiastic personality and being engaging on camera helps, too.

"You have to work through the barrier of the screen and them being on the other side of the world," said Kara Williams, a first-grade teacher in Rapides Parish.

Sonya Johnson is retired from a two-decade career teaching in St. Mary Parish and works for VIPKID now. It took her a few weeks to get used to being on camera, but she enjoys it now.

"You have to be expressive. You can't be boring," she said, adding, "I sing. I dance. It's so much fun."

VIPKID pay is based on performance and ranges from $14 to $22 an hour. Williams is a mom of two young children and said being able to earn extra money without having to pay for a baby sitter is a huge bonus.

"I tell everyone that I recruit the worst thing about it is you will want to die when your alarm goes off at 3:30 in the morning," she said. "Other than that, once you get into teaching, the job is fun."

Johnson, who said her experience with the company has been positive, recently had the opportunity to share feedback with the company's co-founder.

She's noticed people are unsure about having international employer and they tend to think the job sounds too good to be true.

"They don't think it's a real thing," she said. "They look at it and say 'You actually get paid for this?'"

"It's a really great second job," Prejean said. "The students are generally really motivated and very respectful."

Teachers said the emphasis Chinese families place on education is evident.

"I've learned a lot about the culture," Johnson said. "It's very competitive there, and that's why they take English classes."

Coulon said many of her students already have a decent understanding of English vocabulary, and it's their pronunciation that needs work.

"I teach the older kids, and they really want to get on there and learn," she said. "They are very driven."

"I'm getting some regulars that I teach all the time, and, of course, that's way more fun and rewarding," Williams said. " . The parents are on screen at the beginning, and they wave and you develop a relationship."

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com