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Equipment You Need to Teach Online
by Tonja Taylor
3/09/2021 / Career
Depending on how you look at it, it doesn't take much to get started teaching online.
You need a good refurbished laptop or desktop computer. This is one that has been previously owned, but that has been checked (and if needed, repaired) by a technician, and cleaned for resale. Unless you want to buy a new one, a refurbed machine will work very well. Just make sure it has at least two ports, for your microphone and camera to plug into.
This is if you have an external camera and microphone, like I do. However, your laptop may have a camera built into it that you could use. I have an older refurbished laptop that did not have a camera built into it, so I bought a well-known external camera that is "plug and play" and very easy to use, while taking good quality photos and videos.
My headset is from the same company and also "plug and play." When I use that term, I mean you don't have to download any software or drivers (instructions or programming) for the devices; you just plug them in and get to work.
You'll need a corner of a room, or at least a wall to stand in front of, which is plain, or, preferably, decorated in a theme suitable to a classroom setting. If it is for adults and not children, it can be a more elegant background. In addition, you'll need to be able to put your computer on top of furniture sturdy enough to hold it at the level you'll need for it to be convenient for you to operate it during your teaching time.
You can use two monitors if you need to see a class of kids or other groups while you utilize your keyboard and computer and first monitor for document or other purposes. You can switch back and forth if that is comfortable for you, and keep various windows open on your computer.
The headset needs to be noise-cancelling, or at least have a microphone that picks up the sound mostly just from your mouth. It is important also that you have a quiet environment to teach, for various noises can be very distracting to the student.
Although I'm moving out of the city limits very soon, I currently live right next to a busy street--and just a few blocks from a fire station. There have been sirens blaring as they go by during some of my tutoring sessions. I just acknowledge the noise, ask the student to forgive it, and we keep going.
By the way, you may have to overcome noises coming from the student's environment, but especially if they are children, they are usually at the mercy of their parents and whatever noises are going on around them.
However, another "tool" is to pray and ask the LORD to give them focus as well as a more quiet environment--a "peaceful habitation."
My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, in safe dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.--Isaiah 32:18, AMPC
You can also pray that over your home--and even over your body and soul!
Other equipment you will most likely need is at least a small white board and dry erase markers. The small boards are very easy to lift and put close to the camera, so the students can easily see what you put on it.
In addition, and especially with children, you will most likely need props to add a light touch, and to illustrate with tangible things what you are trying to teach. This can be especially important in teaching ESL (English as a Second Language), where learners are greatly helped by seeing pictures or items of what they are being taught.
Other things you probably need are additional lamps or brighter bulbs. Some companies are very specific in their lighting requirements, and even require a "green screen," which is a faux background, such as newscasters use, and some major online meeting programs provide.
Mostly, though, the main equipment you need is a desire to help people learn and the wisdom of God. I start by telling the LORD that I know I can do nothing and am nothing without Him, and that He is the Teacher. I ask Him to teach the students what they need, for He created them and knows them much better than anyone else could! He also gives me strategies for how to continually improve my teaching, including my thinking, to be more effective.
If you believe you are called to tutor and have the desire to do so, start asking the LORD to help you find good deals on equipment and lead you to the right open doors with the many companies that hire online tutors.
The world is waiting!
Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, via River Rain Creative Arts (You Tube, God Tube), their church, and beyond.
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