How do I set up my online TEFL classroom?

Whether you have joined an online teaching platform or have chosen a solo path, one of your first tasks will be to construct an ideal online classroom setting. While some may envisage teaching from a hammock in their backyard while donned in beachwear, the actual scenario tends to be quite different. To retain existing students and attract new ones, it is essential that your online classroom strikes the perfect chord. Thankfully, achieving this isn't too challenging, and we are here to guide you with some valuable tips.

Choosing a teaching space

The most critical aspect when picking your teaching location is that it should be quiet and devoid of possible disruptions. If you are teaching from home, you can utilize a spare room, an office, or even a quiet corner of the living room. An ideal setup would be a desk or table with a wall behind to eliminate distractions and display any educational resources required for your lessons. The space should be well-lit at all times.

Also read: Which platforms hire online English teachers?

Having the right equipment

While it might seem like a given, having the correct equipment for online teaching is crucial. The largest and usually priciest necessity is a PC or laptop, ideally placed at eye level (a laptop stand proves beneficial for many). Another indispensable requirement is a speedy and dependable internet connection. If you join a teaching platform, they typically check this to ensure it meets the required standards. Additionally, a comfortable chair that supports long hours of sitting is a must.

The importance of the back wall

As stated, it is advisable to have a wall behind you to manage potential distractions. For young learners, it is a fantastic idea to make the wall an interactive feature of the lesson. This could be achieved with pictures of alphabets, numbers, the weather forecast, or date, which can be swapped as per the day's lesson. Some companies even provide guidance on wall decorations, simplifying your decision-making. For older students, consider mounting a world map or whiteboard for use during the lessons.

Also read: How much can I earn teaching English online?

The importance of props

Sitting and speaking in front of a screen for an extended period can become monotonous for your students, making props a crucial tool for online teaching. Young students may lose interest quickly, so incorporating a couple of puppets or toys into your lesson can significantly enhance engagement. Even older students can tire of constant lecturing, but smart use of images and tangible items can keep them engaged.

The virtual classroom

Most online teaching platforms offer their own virtual classrooms, which lessens the stress of creating your virtual space. However, embedding numerous images, video clips, and memes in your lessons will make them more engaging than a plain white screen. Improving your virtual classroom is a straightforward process, thanks to the wealth of resources available online.

Also read: Can I teach English online without any teaching experience?

The image of the teacher

While it may seem tempting to dismiss the significance of a teacher's appearance in an online setting compared to a physical classroom, it is equally important. Your upper body will always be in view, so it is advisable to wear smart yet simple attire. Avoid potential distractions such as flashy jewelry or heavy makeup. Some platforms have established guidelines on appearance, removing any uncertainty about this matter.

Having followed these tips, you should now be equipped to start your online teaching journey!