I have been researching equipment needed to start Teaching online effectively right from the outset.
Most of my current training is done via Zoom or Skype on my Mac Book Pro with built in webcam but this is not suitable for full time Teaching classes.
I have already received my Logitech C922 and looking forward to setting this up on my HP desktop. Here more details on my recommended equipment from lots of research already carried out.
1. Best webcam – Logitech C922
Use a desktop for professional Teaching
The tefl.org post video’s every week to help new Teachers get started in Teaching.
The best brand for webcams was Logitech and on further research the Logitech C922 was found to be superior to the C920.
Being a Teaching nomad and travelling while Teaching you will probably use a laptop, but for those wanting work from home Teaching online full time then the best way is to to purchase a decent webcam to attach to a desktop computer and arrange a nice comfortable set up.
Of course, have a laptop as a back up for when you want to go away and still have lessons Scheduled.
Ensure you and your students can hear properly
You need good quality audio for online classes. You maybe Teaching for up to 6 hours in a day so they have to be comfortable and durable. You may lose interest in your students if the quality is poor.
The main criteria I was looking for:
- Microphone quality – look out for breath issues
- Comfort – must sustain long teaching sessions, must not hurt your ears, is it adjustable to fit your head, is it light and the ear pieces are they comfortable, can you wear your glasses
- Build Quality – long lasting quality headsets
- Sound quality – what you hear from the students
- Price – what are you prepared to spend
- Wireless or wired
- Does it have a mute feature
- Noise cancelling.
Gaming headphones are really comfortable and come with a built in mouth piece but can be large and clunky, Hunter Spyder might be great for playing Fortnite but not so much for Teaching.
Any set of headphones that sit right on your ear lobes are going to hurt the ear after a long Teaching session, so bear in mind.
Here a few headsets that I have found from my research:
- Logitech H390 USB computer headset
- Poly Audio 400
- Levin Bluetooth 4.1 wireless sports headset, built in microphone.
- Major III Bluetooth headset, no built in microphone, can attach with wire.
- Jabra £275 is the high end of the headset market. Sensitive to breath sounds.
- usb condenser microphone 192khz/24bit uhuru cardioid pc streaming.
- Microsoft Life Chat LX 6000
- Jabra Evolve 40
- Logitech G433
- Logitech H340
- Logitech H540
- Corsair HS50 pro
- Cyber Acoustics 3.5mm stereo Headset with headphones and noise cancelling.
- Corsair Void
From researching it seems every Teacher has their own set of headsets that they like. I quite like the Jabra Evolve 40 for the quality and the Corsair Void has been recommended by a Teacher.
3. Internet Connection
High Speed connection
Having high speed, high quality internet connection is probably the most important element of Teaching online. You certainly do not want any interruptions.
You can check out the best deal on www.cable.co.uk.
Internet on the go
Teaching online offers flexibility so there will be times where we will need to Teach outside of the office.
I run a business so whenever we go away we purchase a pre-paid Dongle that plugins to our laptops and gives us internet.
This Dongle can be used pretty much anywhere. It is a portable broadband on a usb stick.
Look your best
Your students are paying customers so they expect a professional lesson, if you are sitting in a dark corner of your bedroom the students may not enjoy the lesson
Find a space in the house that is not going to get too much sunlight during the summer months but that is not too dark either. If you have a room that is dark you can buy extra lighting or move your desk to get more light. Run some dummy lessons and see who you look.
6. Comfortable Chair
Protect your back
I have a fairly small chair in my current office but it makes me sit up right and I don’t have any back issues.
Look after your back and invest in a proper chair or buy a chair adjustment you can add to a normal chair to ensure you don’t strain yourself in anyway during your lessons.
Make your own props
Make your own flash cards and images of things such as food, items such as balls etc. laminate the pictures and use them time and time again.
Draw your own pictures, laminate them and create a your very own library of props.
You can purchase a laminator for as a little as £20.
8. Classroom background
Your classroom background could be used for your class i.e. a whiteboard. Many Teachers seem to use a map of the world which looks nice.
Depending on your audience, your background could form part of your lesson so make it look smart and functional.
When I do my online training I do it on the dining room table with a blank wall behind me which is not ideal. I will need to find a new space.
Flash cards, puppets and a small white board are all useful tools to manage a one to one or group class of young children.
You should start to create a library of useful props for Teaching all ages. It will cut down on preparation time and make the classes fun.
To help maintain interest and momentum
Rewards are especially useful to keep your young learners engaged and make them feel valued.
This is good to encourage shy or nervous learners who need to build some confidence.
Stars and hearts are good, they can be stuck on the board each time they hit a target, then counted up at the end of the lesson.
Rewards can also reinforce good behaviour and to ensure the lessons stay on track.
The rewards could be simple sticky notes or you could make some stars using a laminator.
Once you complete your TEFL certification it is tempting to jump in and get going.
My plan is to do the research and decide who I want to work for or whether I want to work for myself and take time in sourcing my resources.
There are lots of opportunities to Teaching English as a Foreign Language but to make the money and to make this a career you will need to invest time and money to set yourself up properly.