If you are a new teacher and you aren’t sure where to start to set up your classroom, then look no further! Starting a new job can be exciting but also a little intimidating, so why not do some research and make your online classroom one less thing to worry about. Here are a few tips to get your online classroom up and running!
Make sure you have a friendly, inviting background that represents a classroom. Make it colorful and bright so students feel excited to be in your class. Additionally, some companies require their name or certain logos in the background. For Whales English, they don’t have any requirements but I always make sure my name is showing big enough for the students to see. This ABC animal poster was a perfect poster for a backdrop. The students can associate each letter with a animal and you can use it to improve their phonetic skills.
One piece of equipment I use every day is my selfie ring light. It is SO important to have good lighting during your lessons so the students can see you properly. Some other pieces of equipment that are helpful include a webcam, headphones, an extension cord, a wifi extender, a laptop stand, and a mouse. Additionally, I recommend getting a SIM card with some data on it in case your WiFi stops working. This way you can use your phone for a personal hotspot and continue your classes without getting penalized. Of course not all of these pieces of equipment are required. Each company has different requirements so be sure to ask your interviewer what is needed.
If you are a low maintenance teacher like me, then a stack of books will work instead of a laptop stand. Fortunately, I have a MacBook Air so the webcam worked well enough to use on the platform so I didn’t have to buy one. I also used regular iPhone headphones that worked perfectly during my classes. There are many ways to get creative so you don’t have to spend those big bucks to make your classroom complete.
Check out my FREE printable props here. Otherwise, you can make your own in a word document or using Canva to print out simple props. Some common props I love are a star, happy face, sad face, dog, cat, and a “how are you?” dialogue. If you have younger students, they love puppets in the class like a Spiderman or a dog. They are very useful when you want to demonstrate something to your student like answering a question instead of repeating after you. The puppet can represent the student and you represent the teacher (duhh) and you can ask the puppet a question and have them answer. I use this method all the time when I have a new student and I want them to introduce themselves.
You can use tons of household items like a book, a cup or a hat. Ive even used a pot in my lesson to show the kids what a pot looks like! Some teachers go all out with props and have stickers, building blocks, foam letters, but if you are always on the go (or you prefer a minimal style classroom) then a few props work just as well. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t have a ton in your class. It’s all about your teaching performance rather than the amount of props you have.
If you are a new teacher, welcome to the online teaching community! Or, if you are an old teacher looking for some new tips and tricks, I hope you found something new and useful in this post. Comment below your instagram handle and we can connect on instagram!
If you are looking to get TEFL certified, check out this post where I explain what its like to get your certificate in Thailand!