Having the proper supplies and teaching environment can make a big difference to your teaching abilities. For those of us that are teaching many hours, we need to ensure that have an environment that is just right.
We have listed out various items that online ESL teachers need to properly do their job. For those of you that do not teach children, you can skip through some of the top suggestions.
Please do write in the comments letting us know some of the items that you use in your teaching environment. We would love to hear from you!
View Table of Contents
- 1 Headest
- 2 Dry Erase Board
- 3 Puppets and Stuffed Animals
- 4 Flash Cards
- 5 Computers
- 6 Desks
- 7 Chair
- 8 Standup Desk
- 9 Laptop Stand
- 10 Lighting
- 11 Surge Protector
- 12 Cable Management
- 13 Suggestions
One of the main tools that you will be using is a good quality headset. Make sure you choose wisely and understand that this is an important investment.
Keep in mind that if you have a Mac, you need to get a USB or Bluetooth headset. The exception is if you have a MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro supports audio input as well as output so you can use a typical three pin headset with microphone.
Many teachers go with the Logitech series of headsets. They seem to be the most reliable out of all of them. There are other brands to keep in mind such as Plantronics and Microsoft. Surprisingly enough, Microsoft makes high-quality headsets for teaching online including the LifeChat LX3000 which is preferred by iTutor.
There is a full article on the top headsets for online teaching that you can find here. The list of headsets at the bottom of the article is based on real-time information.
Recommended Headsets with Microphones
Dry Erase Board
If you are teaching kids that can be helpful to have a dry erase board handy. The larger magnetic dry erase boards are good to have behind you so that you give the kids the feeling of being in the classroom.
Having one that is not mounted behind you, where you can write on it can be good as well. Some teachers find it practical to use a smaller dry erase board, while others see it as being too cumbersome for the net effect that it has on a student.
Here is an interesting video of a teacher who bought multiple whiteboards and uses them to teach on YouTube.
Puppets and Stuffed Animals
For those of you that are teaching children, puppets can come in handy. By handy, I do mean hand puppets. Some teachers go the DIY route and make their own, while others find it easier to buy them online. Having at least one stuffed animal around will help keep the students interested as well.
Some of the Chinese schools where they teach children also require flash cards. These come in all different shapes and sizes, so make sure that you find ones that are practical and show up clearly on your web camera. You can look at the various types of flashcards for basic concepts, reading and writing, and general study aids. This pack seems to have all that you would need:
- ✔ four flash cards sets - these 4 sets will teach your 3-5 year old math, language and basic skills.
- ✔ math, basic skills and language - the numbers set will teach your child math. The colors & shapes will teach your child basic skills and the first words and alphabets will teach them language.
- ✔ rings included - this set of flash cards includes a ring for every set to keep it neat and organized and for easy sorting.
- ✔ large fonts with realistic art - these flash cards are the perfect hand-held size with large, clear and bold fonts so it easy to see even from afar. The realistic art makes it exciting and practical for teaching your child.
- ✔ teach and review - it is deal for teaching, reviewing and practicing sight words, in the classroom as a whole or each child individually or in groups, at their level.
Are you a Mac user or a Windows user? In the past, when many of the Chinese schools first came online, most of their applications were built only in Windows. Luckily, this does not seem to be an issue anymore. There are a few online schools where you can teach on your smartphone.
We have an article written on this topic in case you are interested to read it here. Just like the article on headsets, there is a list of the top laptops for educators that can be found at the bottom.
HP, Asus, Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, and Dell are among the best sellers for lower cost, yet quality laptops. The updated list can be found here. Furthermore, most of the Chromebooks at the proper specifications for teaching English online. Here are automatically updated lists of best selling and new laptops for HP, Asus, Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, and Dell.
For an automatically updated list of the top-selling laptops, you can go here.
Depending on if you are working part-time or full-time, having a proper desk can make a huge difference. The problem as well is with the cost associated with some of the better desks.
Make sure that your desk is large enough to accommodate various props and other items if you are teaching children. If your teaching adults, you should not be as concerned.
As a teacher, your main concern when selecting a desk is how your body is situated to your camera and computer. Take the time to figure out what works best for you. Unlike others, keep in mind the amount of time spent as a semi-performer.
Another factor to look for is that your hands are resting both flat and straight on your keyboard and mouse, or trackpad for those of you that have a Mac. Along with that, your elbows should be close to your sides, instead of reaching out at the desk and computer.
Amazon has a list of the best selling computer desks that you can find here. The list is automatically updated so you will see the best sellers based on current ratings. Even if you do not buy a desk from there, you are still able to see what others have had success with.
A comfortable chair that is also ergonomic is another important part of your office. Look for one that has multiple adjustments while still being able to have the firm fitting. Read plenty of reviews as well, to find the ones that last the longest.
Having a creaky chair can take away from the learning experience of your students. Unless you have a super clear noise reduction microphone on your headset, you might just pick up the extra noise of the leaning back or forward in your chair. Here is a list of the top-selling computer chairs.
Recommended Computer Chairs
For those of you who are adventurous, you might want to look into a standup desk. Many people are finding that using a standup desk helps to keep your energy up, while also helping with better posture.
A new standup desk can be a significant investment, and one that if you don’t use will be hard to resell. Kind of like when people buy treadmills for their new year’s resolution, and up using it to hang clothes on.
There also desks that function as a traditional desk, and can then be cranked up to be used as a standup desk. If you’re just starting out this might be the best choice if you have the funds.
If you are still interested in standup desks, then be sure to check out the various mats that are used while standing up. Some people get away with just using a typical yoga mat.
To get you started you might want to start off with a simple adjustable standing desk riser/converter.
Recommended Desk Converters
Recommended Standup Desks
Having an adjustable laptop stand can be a benefit as well. In case you do use a standing desk this will be something that is essential.
If your digital nomad, their small portable laptop stands they can easily fit in your bag. This will help to offset the issue of depending on desks in hotel rooms and rooms that you rent out through Airbnb.
Recommended Laptop Stands
Recommended Travel Laptop Stands
The proper lighting is essential for your students to see you effectively, and to ensure that you do not strain your eyes. Fortunately, this is not as big of an investment as a desk, chair, or new laptop.
Lighting is one of the topics that we discuss in the article on how to stay healthy while teaching.https://oetjobs.com/stay-healthy-teaching-online/
Look into an adjustable LED desk lamp. One of the best and most cost-effective is the Effy Lumos. If that is not what you are looking for then check out an updated list of the best selling desktop lamps.
Couple that, with the use of bias lighting that sits behind your monitor or laptop. Having this sort of set up makes a huge difference for those of us that are working long hours.
Recommended Desktop Lighting
Unfortunately, this is an item that some people overlook. Doing so can result in the loss of a laptop or at least a burnt up charger. For those of you that don’t know, most of the chargers newer laptops have built-in surge protectors. Having extra protection never hurts.
There are various Battery Backup Uninterruptible Power Supply in cases where you have fluctuations in power. Depending on the one you buy, they can stay on for another 10 to 20 minutes if the power goes completely out. Here are the top sellers that are automatically updated.
If you are travelling teacher, you should have a surge protector or two. A wise investment is this one from Belkin that is also an adapter and comes with two USB charging ports.
Recommended Surge Protectors
Now that you have all these devices you will have to figure out what to do with all the wires. To me, this is one of the biggest hassles especially when you’re on the road.
Our lists of recommended products can always use some help from other teachers just like you. Please do let us know what you suggest other teachers should use through the comments below.
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Last update on 2018-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API