Updated: Dec 12, 2020
Getting started with teaching online? You should be camera-ready and exhibit proper professionalism as soon as you turn on the camera.
I have outlined my '6 Essentials' to making a great first impression below. Follow them for each and every class to ensure both parents and students will continue booking classes with you.
👨🏫 Classroom Background
It is important to remember that your overall image size in the classroom is fairly small. So it is vital to curate and design a background that is uniquely you, and also adds visual interest in your classroom without detracting from it. I personally recommend that you add your teacher name somewhere in your background. Not only does this personalize your classroom, but it also makes you more memorable for parents and students.
📹 Camera Positioning
Think of yourself as a TV show host. You want to be well-framed and positioned. Having your shoulders on up in-frame will keep your image as the focal point in the classroom but also allow for supplementary tools and TPR to be easily seen.
Avoid being out of frame or too close (or too far) from the camera so your student will be able to see you easily at all times.
Looking the part of a teacher makes a huge difference in how parents and students perceive of you. Now this does not mean you have to wear a tuxedo or a fancy ball-gown on camera, but it does mean that you should put some effort into your overall appearance. I recommend solid colors that do not clash with your classroom background. I personally alternate between a few dark-colored polo shirts that are visually non-intrusive.
Teaching online means many late nights or very early mornings. It is natural to feel tired, but try your best to hide that on camera. This is where the importance of lighting comes in. This not only improves your overall image, but it makes you look more alive. You want to look for strong, balanced, white light that illuminates your face and avoids shadows from forming. I personally use an 18 inch circular ring light as my main source. I also have a desk lamp and overhead ceiling light if needed. Remember that lighting can be your best friend (or worst enemy), so find a lighting setup that works best for your situation.
So you've setup your classroom, but your technology is not up to par? Make sure to thoroughly check your computer equipment and internet connection. Having stable, high-speed internet access is key to teaching successfully.
Also, looking the part of a teacher also means wearing a proper headset with a microphone arm (or earbuds as an alternative). Visually this shows parents and students that you are ready and prepared to teach. This will also improve your audio quality and protect you from any audio issues that may occur.
😀 Professionalism Last, but not least, professionalism in the classroom is essential. Always remember that classes are short and they will eventually be over. Even with the most troublesome of students, it is important to never yell, curse, or exhibit behavior in the classroom that is unprofessional. Smile! Your cheeks may hurt, but having a calm and pleasant demeanor will do wonders in building rapport with your student. Need to yawn? Cover it with a prop or high-five! Avoid showing how tired you are on camera.
✅ Check out my kit with Amazon recommendations for classroom backgrounds, lighting, and supplementary tools!
💻 Online Teaching Tools: https://kit.co/davjs8/online-teaching-tools
⭐ Follow these '6 Essentials' to make an impression that lasts! Check back for more teaching-related posts in the future and send me a message if you have further questions.