Monday, September 2, 2019

VIPKID: My Classroom

One of the first things you will do when beginning to teach English online is to set up your classroom.  The great thing about your classroom is that you literally just need a quiet space and a wall or corner anywhere (although I have seen people teach from their car and even in a quiet area of Disney World!).

This post has been updated as of 12/31/2019 because we bought a house and I now have an office to teach from!  Those pictures and my teaching space now have been updated at the bottom of this post. So here is how my classroom has changed over the last 11 months of teaching!

I have seen some pretty great classrooms, and I definitely have some major classroom goals but currently my living situation requires some flexibility and a lot of simplicity.  I hope as you read this post that it will give you ideas of where you can teach and that it will be an encouragement that you really can teach ANYWHERE!

We are currently living with my parents (and have been since I started teaching 6 months ago)  while we look to buy a place of our own so I have had to be flexible with my classroom. 

When I first began teaching, I transformed the dining room every night... 

...into this.
After dinner was cleaned up, I would set up my "classroom" and lay out everything for my classes the next morning. This honestly took only a few minutes.

My mom found that map at Hobby Lobby or Home Goods a few years ago and so I used that as my background. I made sure to have my teacher name displayed and then I used the board with the cupcakes (a magnetic board that came with the alphabet from Target) to display my student's name and my rewards. 

I would say the longest part of my set-up was during my prep when I would have to find all the letters to spell each student's name for the next morning (I prep everything the night before- -stay tuned for next week's blog post!). After I would teach in the morning, I would take everything down and restore the dining room back to it's original state. Sure it took a little work, but believe me it has been worth it! 

Here is my set-up and if you can believe it, I used to be able to store everything I needed to teach in that bin that my laptop is sitting on. Now I do use a lot of my kids' toys as props so I don't store those but there are some toys/play food/plastic animals etc that I use quite often and do keep with my VIPKID teaching stuff.

This set-up worked great for awhile, but then it started to get more difficult. Since the dining room is one of the main hubs of the house, everyone had to be really quiet when I was teaching (for about 75% of the time they were sleeping and it really wasn't a problem) but I hated for my family to have to tip-toe around while I taught. Because of this, it also limited the times I could teach and I needed to check in with everyone to make sure I could open slots at certain times (Friday evenings and then later mornings). So one day the thought came to me that maybe I could teach in the basement in the laundry room. 

So then my "new" classroom was born! This is what my students see...

And here are the behind the scenes. My set-up is a little different because I decided to teach standing up. I love it so much more. It keeps me awake, moving, and I feel like I can be more interactive (especially with those Level 1 students!).

My set up is right next to the washer.

I keep all of my equipment/props in the bins and then use a fab fit fun box to boost my laptop up to the height I need it. (Tip: find items around your house to use!)

The washer is to my left so I now put my props for the class I am teaching on the black chalkboard to contain everything.

Behind me is a dresser where I set out props for each class. In between classes, I bring the props for my next class to the chalkboard on my washer.

When I am done teaching I put everything back in the bins and tuck this little table next to the dresser.

and I am DONE!

See it is nothing fancy but it gets the job done and this is what my student sees (without the props in the background and my name isn't partly cut out)...
And now for the update:

At the end of October, we closed on a house and my classroom changed once again! I now teach from our office, and I do have to say it is very nice to not have to take down and set up every single day. My teaching background is still  almost exactly the same (I don't think any of my students even knew I moved).

I still teach standing up. I prefer it, and I can move around much better. I use the white cube to lay out my props for each class, and it keeps me very organized!

And this (below) is what my students see :)

I hope this is an encouragement that you CAN teach from anywhere! So tell me...what do you have in your classroom? And how do you keep it organized?

Check back here next Monday to see how I prepare for my classes.
And check out last week's post HERE for an introduction to VIPKID and to read how I got started teaching.

Have questions?!?! email me at

If you would like to apply, you can use referral code ERIN00532
(that's erin-zero-zero-five-three-two)

I personally walk my referrals through each step of the application process and support them as they begin to teach. I have additional resources and tips to help my referrals be successful and save them time. If you are interested in teaching ESL, I would love to help you get started because this has been a huge blessing to me!

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