We might be virtual teachers, but we still love the familiar comforts of our brick-and-mortar classrooms. I still live on a daily dose of coffee, raid the teacher section of the Dollar store every fall, and love post-its and planners. However, besides the obvious necessities like a computer and reliable internet, I have come to find a new set of items that make life as a virtual teacher a little easier. Here are the top 5: A second monitor, A good headset, a comfortable chair, a wireless mouse, and props.
What are the top 5 must-have items for virtual teachers?
#1 A Second Monitor
Having two monitors is a must when teaching in a virtual classroom. However, it also comes in handy for creating dynamic lesson plans or connecting to other classes on the same network. All of the necessary applications are designed to take full advantage of multiple monitors, but sometimes there are instances in a class where the content needs to be kept on one monitor, instead of allowing the other monitor to be a blank canvas. A quality headset can easily solve this problem. Whether it’s a wired headset like the RevU, or wireless one like the Lumu, a good headset allows you to keep the content you are viewing on a single monitor, while a blank screen will allow you to keep the other monitor as an empty canvas.
#2 A Good headset
I have heard from so many teachers that what I use is terrible, and my headset is way more comfortable. While this might be true, I still find that a well-made headset is nice to have. Not only does it give me the quality sound I need, but it also makes me feel less isolated while I work. I’m not asking for a fancy set of headphones that can convert from a speaker to a microphone, but at the bare minimum, a good pair of earbuds would be sufficient.
#3 A Comfortable Chair
If you don’t have a comfortable chair in your home or office, you will be amazed at how quickly your spine will be displaced. A great chair will allow you to relax and unwind during your prep time. Also, remember that when you have multiple classes that utilize different spaces, you will need multiple seating options to accommodate your students’ needs. So, do your homework, buy a good, comfortable chair, and make sure you have plenty of outlets around the perimeter of the room.
#4 A Wireless Mouse
Is your desk a sea of cords? Get rid of one with a wireless mouse. In addition to freeing up some space, a wireless mouse also allows you to control your computer from a distance. So if you are teaching away from your desk, you can still navigate your screen if needed.
Props make learning with students online more engaging and more FUN! Just like you’d see in a physical classroom, our virtual classroom is filled with silliness and laughter. I have quite a collection: signs, action figures, hats, puppets, and stuffed animals, to name a few. The students love when I use props and it definitely helps hold their attention!
There are no doubt a million “virtual teacher” gadgets, gadgets that are perfect for every classroom and meet every teacher’s personal needs. For me, a daily cup of coffee, comfortable chair, and great support all lead me to believe I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. However, as great as they are, none of these are the essential items to have in any classroom. What is the one item that you think is essential for every virtual teacher to have?