ESL Classroom Setup Tips
Some companies have stricter rules for how they want your ESL classroom set up than others, so it’s important to read the instructions that yours has given you thoroughly before logging on for your first class. But if you already know what your company is looking for and you’re ready to proceed, here are some hacks to make your background more efficient and appealing!
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Use Your Name
While some ESL companies require this and others don’t, you should always have your name clearly hanging up behind you for your student to see. You want them to be able to use your name, so it’s important that they can see it at all times. You can use construction paper to cut and paste colorful letters, or simply draw it on white paper using markers. Alternatively, you can buy premade letters to stick on your wall. Whatever you do, make sure it’s large and easy to read on camera.
Use the Company Logo
Again, some companies require that you do this, but it’s nice to do even if they don’t. Most all of the online ESL schools have their own characters that they’ve created for the lessons, and/or a specific logo that they like to use throughout all of their content. Print the best image out that you can find and stick it up on the wall (or poster board, see below) behind you in your classroom.
Get a Movable Background
Sometimes teachers don’t have access to a plain wall that they’ve got the ability to decorate and use as their background. If this is you, there are some alternatives that you can use to ensure you’ve still got something you can decorate for your students. One of the best ways to do this is by using a large magnetic whiteboard. These are awesome for multiple reasons as an online teacher. Not only can you use them with your magnets, but you can use them to draw, which drastically cuts down on your need for other props.
Keep it Simple and Adaptable
In many cases, teachers work with multiple companies at the same time. So you don’t want to create a wall that’s filled with characters from one company, because that won’t fly when you go to teach with the next one. You want to keep your background simple, with just a few staples, like your name and a couple of images that are used across the board. Weather, colors, shapes and the alphabet are all good basic components for ESL classroom setup. Also, make sure you’re using something that is easy to remove to stick everything to the wall. I like this blue sticky tack, but I know a lot of teachers that choose to use Velcro or magnets and a magnetic board. This whiteboard is magnetic is doubles as something to write and draw on for your students, which comes in very handy during class.
Change With the Seasons
Pretty much every ESL teacher is guilty of forgetting to change out their backgrounds at the end of a holiday season, or after some event which they specially decorated for. For example, everyone loves to decorate their classroom for Chinese New Year – but it’s important to remember to change everything at the end of the celebrations. This is also why it’s a good idea to keep everything fairly simple when deciding how to handle your ESL classroom setup. Just add a couple of things here and there for the holidays, so they are easier to remember to remove (and less noticeable, if you forget!)
Are you looking for a new online English teaching position?
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Erika Sellmer is a digital content specialist with a master’s degree in public relations and over five years of experience in the online media industry.
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