With becoming an effective and professional online teacher, you’re going to need a quality teacher background/backdrop for your online class. Not only does it help set the tone for class, it’s a small thing that sets you apart from other teachers. So do you need to go and create something complicated and expensive? No way.
There are so many budget ideas our teachers use for their online classes and in this teacher background for online classes buying guide, we’re going to share with you some of the best, most practical things you can use for your online class.
Your Background Needs to Be Distraction Free
At a minimum, your background needs to be distraction free. No dirty laundry, no random objects not related to teaching, no messy bed or posters. While most teachers opt for creating a nice background for their class, some teachers skip out on this and just go with a plain old wall or the room items behind them.
This is fine, but it’s always a good idea to add something, anything related to teaching related at a minimum.
Make a mobile back drop potentially
While a lot of use teachers opt for a home office, it is nice having the flexibility to maintain a consistent teaching experience no matter where you go.
You do this by developing a mobile back drop you can take with you. Typically this involves a cloth background with teaching related items you can put behind you.
Keep it simple
Thoughtful backgrounds with various teaching objects are wonderful. If you have the space to build out a little classroom then go for it. But at the same time, don’t stress too much over creating some sort of overly complicated background. It’s fine to keep it simple.
A map, the ABC’s, pictures of you teaching class at school are all acceptable.
7 Online Class Background Ideas for Online Teachers
So what are some of the best background ideas for your online class? Here is Teach and Go’s list of the most helpful and essential background ideas for teaching online students be it children or adults.
- Tri Fold Board
- Chinese Flag
- Decorative Lighting
- ESL Items
Maps – The standard background item
The simplest background item to use is a world map. Maps are affordable, easy to carry and easy to hang up on any wall or whiteboard. Maps make your online class look a bit more like a classroom and can help form the basic setup for your online teaching background for online class.
They are also appropriate for adults and young learners a like.
Consider getting a map that is big but not too big. You don’t want it to dominate the entire background, you just want it to be an element of your background that adds color, purpose and relevancy for you as a teacher.
We suggest a classroom friendly map that is colorful but appropriate for all ages.
Flags – State flags or the national flags
Flags are a fun way to personalize and decorate your teaching background. A flag is not only colorful, it also allows you to show off a little bit of your personality.
One of our teachers from New Mexico hangs the New Mexico state flag as part of his online teaching background as well as the American flag.
As he is he is part time teacher based in Vietnam, a flag is a nice simple thing to carry in a backpack with you as you travel to help make up your teacher background consistent. You can get various lawn flags and state flags at any big box store like Wal-Mart or you can order a proper flag online that is a big bigger, including state flags.
In addition to a map, a flag is a wonderful and relevant addition to your teaching background.
Whiteboards – The essential item for any teacher
Whiteboards are one of those things that any teacher will find useful. While we have a dedicated guide to the best whiteboards for teachers, the ideal whiteboard for a teaching background should be a small and affordable whiteboard.
The way teachers use small whiteboards as part of their teaching background is for something simple like writing their name, the date as well as pictures or the name of the online teaching company they are with.
ABC’s Wall Decor – The kid friendly background
Depending on the type of students you normally teach, this can be a good idea or a really bad idea. A big mistake a lot of online teachers make is to create a background that is too focused on young learners. A 10 year old boy with a decent command of English is not going to like rainbows and the color pink.
If your students tend to be a bit older, then I would not include this as part of your background. It’s your call, just make it age appropriate. We particularly like this ABC wall decor option because it’s got a classic design that is perfect for any age of student.
Tri Fold Board – The travelers, digital nomad background
While most teachers like the flag, map and lighting combination – a lot of teachers opt for a simple tri fold board. These boards can be decorated with ease with items related to online teaching. Stickers, pictures and different types of decorations can be added with ease.
The best part of a tri fold board too is that it folds up for ease storage and travel.
Chinese flag – For Chinese based online companies
Like all countries, Chinese are proud of their country and including a Chinese flag in addition to an American flag and an appropriate map along with the ABC’s is a simple way to personalize your online class.
No need to get a massive, 3×5 foot long flag of course. A small, law flag that you can tape to your wall behind you is fine.
Lighting is essential for online class as you want to look fresh faced and energetic. Checkout our guide on the best lighting for video and online class. For decorative purposes, lighting works well too if you want to create a bright and colorful background.
For lighting you have a few options, you can use something as simple as Christmas lights or you can go for a more professional lighting setup.
- Christmas lights
- Panel Light
- Stage light
Christmas Lights – Cheap and easy background option
Christmas lights, particularly plain white lights make for an excellent background option. They make your background more bright an beautiful and they are an affordable option.
Christmas lights also come in really handy if you find yourself teaching early mornings and want a nice soft light in your classroom instead of those ugly, harsh fluorescent lights that most homes have.
Panel Light – The colorful option
Ever watch a YouTube video an notice that they have a colorful light in the background. Colors like purple, red or green. If you’re curious about how this is achieved, it’s done so by the use of a panel light or stage light.
A panel light is light that can be mounted on a camera or tossed into the background when you’re making a video. Panel lights are also used to compliment soft boxes which are professional grade lighting for proper video productions.
Stage Light – Colorful lighting for backgrounds
Stage lights are typically more expensive than panel lights but they are designed to be used as background lighting. Stage lights typically come in sets of 2 to 4 lights with the option to switch between various colors.
If you’re teaching online and are looking for something to add a lot of color without breaking the bank, consider getting a set of stage lights.
You can strategically place on light behind you shining up at the wall to give some added color.
ESL Items – The personal touch
Last is to simply add items unique to you as a teacher. As part of my personal background I have various pictures of ESL classes I taught personally in Thailand. Like having state flag, it’s an excellent ideal to include any ESL items that add a personal touch of professionalism and fun to your background as a teacher.
Again, with your background you want to create something unique that stands out a bit. Too many teachers want to be told what to specifically do and miss the point that you were hired for your unique teaching style.
Embrace your uniqueness and provide a different experience when compared to other teachers. This is what the parents and students want. They don’t want carbon copies where all the teachers look the same and act the same. While it’s a good strategy to follow best practices as success leaves clues – do try to be yourself.
Teaching background for adults
The nice thing about teaching adults is that no one cares about your background for the most part. You could have a plain wall behind you which would be fine.
However, you’re a professional teacher so what should you consider adding in? Here is what we suggest as an online teacher background for adults.
- Corkboard – Yes a corkboard. We like this combination white board and cork board but it’s your decision. Having a cork board is ideal because you can pin graphs, charts and other related teaching material.
- Whiteboard – Again, we already mention whiteboards but for adults we would include something small.
- Bookshelf – A bookshelf filled with books and personal items related to teaching work well as a backdrop.
- Teacher decorations – Various decorations you would use to decorate your desk at school work great in an online environment.
Conclusion – The best online teaching background ideas
So there you have it. Some of the best online teaching background ideas. While you don’t need everything on this list, the goal of this buying guide it to help you get a few select items that can help you craft a fun, colorful and simple background.
If you don’t know where to start I would begin by getting a one or two whiteboards, a map and the ABC’s. On the whiteboard write your name. Something like “teacher Amy.” Then I would consider getting a map, and maybe the ABC’s if you’re teaching young learners.
Last I would get a small ring light as an essential item. They are not expensive and make your life easy when teaching early in the morning. You need good lighting on your face, get a light that is designed for this instead of lamp which won’t give you that bright, fresh faced look.
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Teacher background inspiration
Need some more inspiration for how to make a background for online teaching? Checkout some of these excellent ideas on Pintrest: