Below, I’ve put together a list of educational resources, important tech, and various other links that should be beneficial for online teachers of all fields.
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR ONLINE ENGLISH TEACHERS
(REMOVED FOR NOW – LOOKING FOR ANOTHER) *** RECOMMENDED TEFL CERTIFICATION – This is the Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certification that I have studied up on and suggest. It is affordable, accredited, and online-based.
ROSETTA STONE (FOR ONLINE ENGLISH TEACHERS) – THIS IS NOT REQUIRED to teach English online (usually) when working for most online English teaching platforms. For instance, with VIPKID, you do not need to know an ounce of Chinese because the curriculum is designed so well. However, I just think it is cool to learn at least the basics, and learning Chinese is a personal goal of mine. Again, this is not a “must-have”!
VIPKID – This is the company that I work for. If you have a bachelor’s degree, are eligible to work in the United States or Canada, speak fluent English, and have “experience” teaching (this is a very loose requirement) – then you can apply via my affiliate link here.
HELPFUL TECH FOR ONLINE TEACHERS
HOTSPOT – Even though my Internet at home is reliable most of the time, I have had a couple of instances that it just stopped randomly for hours. This device saved me from canceling classes. I would use my cellphone’s HotSpot feature, but my cell signal isn’t the greatest at home, so I have a HotSpot device, from a different service provider, JUST IN CASE. Amazon hotspot link here.
ETHERNET CABLE – I highly recommend that you use an Ethernet cable to connect your laptop or computer directly to your modem/router. Doing this will help make your Internet speed not only faster but more consistent when compared to WiFi. In fact, VIPKID highly recommends this and they actually asked me if I had an Ethernet cable during my interview. Which I did. Because my classroom is a long way away from my modem, I have a 100 foot Ethernet cable that I got off of Amazon. (No you don’t have to get one that long). Amazon ethernet link here.
“BEGINNER” HEADSET – Let’s face it, there are some expensive headsets out there. If you’re new to teaching online, there is no need to spend extra money on an “upgraded” headset IF you’re not even sure that you’ll like teaching online (or get enough bookings to justify a more expensive headset). This is the headset that I started out with and it lasted me almost two years before it gave out (even after teaching almost 5,000 VIPKid classes on it). Amazon “beginner” headset link here.
“UPGRADED” HEADSET – After my “beginner” headset gave out, I ordered this headset. It’s wireless and it is definitely way more comfortable on my ears and picks up much less background noise. However, it is more expensive and I would not suggest it if you’re not really committed to teaching online full-time. Amazon “upgraded” headset link here.
ELBOW PAD – For real, this is kind of a big deal! I NEVER would have thought that this would be an issue, but after thousands of hours spent teaching online… it is, in fact, a big issue! This elbow pad is worth getting in my opinion. Amazon elbow link here.
EXTERNAL HD WEBCAM – I personally have a great HD internal webcam on my MacBook Pro, however, this is a great external HD webcam that I see people in the community using and the reviews on it seem to verify the quality as well. I think that this would be the webcam I would get if my laptop didn’t have such a good internal one. Amazon webcam link here.
EASY SWITCH WEBCAM COVER – This is another little thing that I didn’t know how AWESOME it was until I had it. When I enter a classroom early, I don’t want to have the webcam on me until it is actually time to start the class (even if I’m early by only 30 seconds). With this little cover, I can switch it over in like one second. It’s by no means a “necessity“, but it will come in handy as you start teaching more and more classes… especially when you’re early to class (which I always recommend). Amazon easy switch webcam cover here.
CLASSROOM BACKDROP – You can absolutely make your own background with as little as a map, some cut-out apples, and a few other printable things, but I personally wanted to just get a portable background made that I could easily hang up, move, or change altogether. Here is a great one that you can check out that I would use if I hadn’t have designed my own. Amazon classroom backdrop link here.
CLASSROOM LIGHTING – Proper lighting can make a big difference for your classroom setup and for your student’s overall experience when they’re in your virtual classroom. When I first started, I just used bright white bulbs in two lamps with the shades taken off, but now I use two of these softboxes because it’s less stressful on my eyes and illuminates me and my classroom extremely well (without getting hot either). Again, this isn’t a must and isn’t a top priority, but is something to think about down the road. Amazon classroom lighting 3-piece kit link here.