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. Last, consider using a teacher planner to stay on top of notes for your online class as well as any ideas you get to enhance your background.
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 want it to be an element of your experience 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 colorful and 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 a part-time teacher based in Vietnam, a flag is a nice simple thing to carry in a backpack 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 Walmart, or you can order a proper banner online that is a bit 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 helpful. While we have a dedicated guide to the best teacher whiteboards, the ideal whiteboard for a teaching background should be small and affordable.
Teachers use small whiteboards as part of their teaching backgroundfor 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 usually teach, this can be a good or bad idea. A big mistake many online teachers make is creating a background that needs to focus more on young learners. A 10-year-old boy with a decent command of English will prefer something other than rainbows and pink.
If your students are a bit older, I recommend not including this as part of your background. It’s your call; 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 student.
Tri Fold Board – The travelers, digital nomad background
While most teachers like the flag, map, and lighting combination, many opt for a simple tri-fold board. These boards can be decorated with ease with items related to online teaching. Stickers, pictures, and different decorations can be easily added.
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, the Chinese are proud of their country, and including a Chinese flag in addition to an American flag and an appropriate map along with the ABCs is a simple way to personalize your online class.
You don’t need to get a massive, 3×5-foot-long flag. A small law flag you can tape behind your wall is OK.
Lighting is essential for online classes as you want to look fresh-faced and energetic. Please review our guide on the best lighting for video and online courses. For decorative purposes, lighting works well, too, if you want to create a bright and colorful background.
You have a few options for lighting: you can use something as simple as Christmas lights or go for a more professional lighting setup.
- Christmas lights
- Panel Light
- Stage light
Christmas Lights – Cheap and easy background option
Christmas, mainly plain white, makes for an excellent background option. They make your background more bright and more beautiful and are affordable.
Christmas lights also come in handy if you find yourself teaching early morning and want a nice soft glow in your classroom instead of those ugly, harsh fluorescent lights that most homes have.
Panel Light – The colorful option
Have you Ever watched a YouTube video and noticed 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 using a panel or stage light.
A panel light is a 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 and professional-grade lighting for proper video productions.
Stage Light – Colorful lighting for backgrounds
Stage lights are typically more expensive than panel lights but are designed for background lighting. Stage lights usually come in sets of 2 to 4 lights with the option to switch 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 the light behind you, shining up at the wall to add color.
ESL Items – The personal touch
Last is to add items unique to you as a teacher. As part of my background, I have various pictures of ESL classes I taught in Thailand. Like having a state flag, it’s an excellent idea 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. Too many teachers want to be told what to do precisely and miss the point that they were hired for their 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 and act alike. While it’s an excellent strategy to follow best practices as success leaves clues, 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 whiteboard and corkboard combination, but it’s your decision. A corkboard is ideal because you can pin graphs, charts, and other teaching material.
- Whiteboard – Again, we already mentioned whiteboards, but we would include something small for adults.
- Bookshelf – A bookshelf filled with books and personal items related to teaching works 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 some of the best online teaching background ideas. While you don’t need everything on this list, this buying guide aims 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 will get one or two whiteboards, a map, and the ABCs. On the whiteboard, write your name. Something like “teacher Amy.” Then I suggest getting a map and the ABCs if you teach young learners.
Last, I would get a small ring light as an essential item. They are inexpensive and make your life easy when teaching early in the morning. It would help if you had good lighting on your face; get a light designed for this instead of a 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: