I’ve been working for VIP Kid for over a year now, and it’s been a great way to make a living as a digital nomad. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at first (is it a scam? Can you actually make money??) but after my first 6 months of teaching, I determined it was a great gig and one I could see myself doing longterm.
When I first decided I wanted to travel and teach, I had no idea what to pack. What props should I use? Reward systems? And what in the world should I use as a background? I didn’t want to spend a fortune on something that was bulky or difficult to set up.
If you’re in the same situation I was, these 12 teachers share their VIP Kid classroom background to help you figure out what will work best for you!
1. USE A GIFT WRAP BACKGROUND
By Dom from Red White Adventures
I’ve been teaching online with VIP KID and traveling as a digital nomad for the past year and a half. One of the major hurdles has always been having a presentable background. It’s the first impression that counts and you always want your VIP Kid classroom to look nice.
So what I have been doing is basically whenever I set up in a new Airbnb or short term stay I buy a roll of gift wrap. It can be Christmas themed, Easter themed, or anything that has a little bit of color to it. On top of that I have a little white board where I write my name. I’ll then tape the white board to the gift wrap that’s on the wall. It’s the perfect short term setup and on top of that I have a few teddy bears I use to make the classroom feel very cozy. The kids love it!
Here is a list of all the amazing VIP Kid props I have with me when I travel. The majority of them have been absolute lifesavers during my online English teaching adventure.
2. HANG A PAPER WORLD MAP BACKGROUND
By Nic from See Nic WanderWhen I travel, my favorite online teaching background is a paper world map. It’s bright and colorful but it also folds down small, meaning it doesn’t take up a lot of space in my bag.
Because the map I use is paper, I reinforce the corners with clear packing tape and hang it using command strips. This allows me to move my background easily without tearing up my map or the walls in my accommodation.
In this picture, I’m using my usual wall map with an orange welcome banner on top of it. The map is from Amazon and the welcome banner is available in my Etsy Shop, Teach and Wander!
3. STICK 5 APPLES ALL OVER YOUR BACKGROUND
By April from Just Leaving FootprintsI’ve been teaching with VIPKid for about a year and a half now and I absolutely love it. I’m Canadian, but I live in Mexico City and VIPKid has helped me travel a ton, mainly around Mexico. Normally my teaching background in my apartment has a Chinese flag, a Canadian flag, a map of Mexico, an alphabet chart that I made, a magnetic whiteboard, a colourful piece of paper with my name ‘Teacher April’ on it, as well as apple decorations everywhere. The apples are a great way to subtly remind parents to give you a five apple review.
When I travel however my background is very minimal. I only bring my ‘Teacher April’ sign and a row of five apples and use sticky tack to put it up on a wall behind me wherever I am. I go very minimal with my traveling background so that I have space to bring a smaller whiteboard and enough props to be able to teach my classes while traveling.
4. BABY BLANKETS ARE A SIMPLE HACK
By Marlynn from Marly’s Sweet Treats
5. DON’T OVERTHINK IT – KEEP YOUR BACKGROUND SIMPLE
By Anna from Alive with AnnaMy biggest tip would be not to complicate it too much. I was so stressed about getting a “perfect” set up like I had at home, but it doesn’t affect class that much. For example, I’m in an AirBnb right now and just set up on the couch!
6. COLORFUL FRABIC WORKS LIKE A CHARM
By Desiree from Wandering WhitallsI travel with this colorful fabric I hang as a backdrop, and use mostly digital props. For rewards I use paper stars and realia (like candy, cookies, or even coins).
7. MAKE YOUR OWN POSTER AND PRINT IT
By MariahI travel in a converted school bus most of the time, but I also take this poster backdrop with me when we travel internationally! The weirdest place I’ve taught would definitely be a rest stop.
8. A COLORFUL WORLD MAP IS A FUN BACKGROUND
By Alba from Fitness LatinosI use a $25 fabric I purchased on Amazon (this one is extra large). I don’t use any props, or digital effects.
9. A POSTER WITH NUMBERS & LETTERS IS SIMPLE & EASY
By TonyI use a simple alphabet and numbers poster with some colors printed on it! I also have this whiteboard that comes in handy.
Don’t want to deal with setting up against a wall? The following teachers use VIP Kid digital backgrounds!
10. USE MANY CAM & A GREEN SCREEN
By CarlaCarla uses a portable green screen and ManyCam to create her VIP Kid virtual background. Wondering how that works? Watch Carla’s video about digital background setup!
She also shares the props she uses while traveling on her YouTube channel.
11. USE OBS & A GREEN SCREEN
By KrystaI use a green piece of fabric as a green screen and use OBS to create different virtual backgrounds. This came in extra handy as I once taught from the bathroom of my Airbnb because the lighting was better than in the bedroom!
12. USE A GREEN SCREEN
By AmyI use a green screen background in my VIP Kid classroom. This was certainly useful when I taught in my front yard at the cabin!
I hope these teachers showed you that you don’t need an extravagant or expensive backdrop for online teaching! It’s more about the quality of the teaching than the background in my opinion, anyway.
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