When I first started teaching from home I had no idea what my online classroom setup should be, so I am happy to give you advice about it! There are three main aspects you need to consider: the office space, the desk, and the background. So let’s get started with advice for your online classroom setup!
The first rule of thumb is choosing a dedicated space that is quiet and comfortable. Initially, you will probably find any space that works, but after you commit to working as an online teacher you need to find an office space, not a makeshift office space.
When I first started out as an online ESL teacher I had no idea that I was going to be doing this job for two and a half years. I thought it was going to be a transition job until I established my own company. However, I actually ended up making good money teaching online, so I am taking my time with developing my side hustle instead of trying to rush through establishing it.
Needless to say, I was working in a second bedroom for 2.5 years until I finally transformed it into an office space. I got rid of the bed and unnecessary furniture. I was teaching on a small dresser and using a tray table for my props. My props and papers constantly fell because I didn’t have enough space. Luckily, I was able to afford a new standing desk, a side table, and a small filing cabinet due to getting a promotion teaching online and learning how to recruit effectively. It has been a huge blessing and I am so grateful for that. Just know that anyone can get promoted and learn to recruit so you can afford to pay off debt or transform your office space!
It’s really easy to talk yourself into a makeshift desk, but in reality, if you can afford to create an office space that fits a nice sized desk, don’t wait to do it! I waited far too long to create my office space and by a desk. When I finally did it I was thrilled.
Now I never have back pain because I got the right chair and I can stand up when I start to feel tired or if I need to get the blood flowing. As a brick and mortar teacher I was standing around 70% to 80% of the time. As an online teacher I probably stand 30% to 50% of the time. I created a makeshift standing desk before, but now that I actually have an electronic standing desk my life is so much easier. The transition from sitting to standing is smooth! I used to have to lift my computer up and down when I transitioned between sitting and standing. No more of that!
Most online ESL schools want you to have a background that is welcoming for students. They want it to be an educational environment. You can make it as simple, cozy or creative as you like.
I have two different backgrounds because iTutorGroup requires a company logo backdrop and Gogokid and VIPKid ask for an educational background. My GK and VK background are the same. I use are that I made and student are from when I was a brick and mortar teacher. I also have a map of the United States.
I understand that depending on your living situation, a dedicated office space might not be possible, but even if you can take one piece of advice for your online classroom setup I will be happy!
If you are new to online teaching, learn about all of the opportunities in my blog post about becoming a trainer, recruiter, and more.