BUT it also means I have to get a little creative with my VIP Kid background and set up sometimes. Like attaching cardboard to the back of a chair kind of creative.
And that my background has to be portable, too, and not take up too much space in my already overflowing suitcase (packing is hard, but my nomadic packing list for Europe makes life a little easier).
Here are my suggestions after a year of teaching while traveling:
WHAT SHOULD I USE AS A BACKGROUND?Lots of traveling teachers buy giant maps that they hang behind them. I happened to have my alphabet poster at home, but you can find a similar alphabet poster on Amazon.
I usually also hang my teacher name beside me. I just printed this on cardstock, laminated it, and covered it with stickers. If I feel like my background needs a little more excitement, I’ll also add some animal flashcards!
Some teachers also really like to use ManyCam, but you still need some sort of plain background behind you to use as a green screen. So, I honestly just find it easier to hang my poster somewhere.
If you’re in a bind (it happens to the best of us) and need to teach from Starbucks or the airport, just cover yourself in AR stickers. The panda one is my favorite (I feel like it covers a decent amount of the background), and the students seem to like it, too!
WHERE SHOULD I SET UP?
Being a digital nomad teacher means that I’ve taught in some pretty *interesting* places. Case studies:
- A bathroom in London (at my house sit, not a public one LOL) because the wall was tile so I knew I couldn’t ruin it and I was scarred after the Command Strip Debacle at a house sit in Germany (see below)
- A Starbucks in Thailand because I had to change accommodation
I also like to set up at a desk. I’ve sat on the floor for an entire freaking month before and I refuse to do so anymore.
So what do you do? You put on your thinking cap and ~get creative~.So sometimes that requires attaching a giant piece of cardboard to the back of a chair.
Or just hanging my alphabet poster on the back of my computer chair and putting the computer really close to my face.
Or stacking books so they pile high enough to the table for the computer to be level with my head.
Even setting up on a TV when the walls have nice wallpaper and you don’t want to ruin them…And sometimes, you get that perfect set up when the desk is situated with an ergonomic chair right up against the wall that has a beautiful background so you don’t even have to hang or move anything!!!! (…This has yet to happen, but a girl can dream)
WHAT ABOUT LIGHTING?
Good lighting is a MUST. Be sure to test out the lighting the night before, especially if you’ll be teaching in the dark (shadows are NOT your friend).
Make sure that selfie light is charged so you can shine just like the stars you give your students.
Also, turn your computer screen brightness up all the way! It’ll light up your face as well.
I’ve also found that I get the best lighting when I set up opposite a window rather than next to it or on the same wall.
WHEN SHOULD I SET UP?I’d also recommend setting up the night before, or at least a couple of hours before, just to give yourself time in case something you thought would work, didn’t. LIKE THE WIFI…
SO YEAH…WHAT ABOUT WIFI???This is the bane of all traveling teacher’s existences. WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THE WIFI??
Maybe even research some nearby cafes JUST IN CASE.
Or, buy a local SIM card and use your phone as a hotspot. I’ve done this for one of my classes in Austria and it worked like a charm.
At one of our house sits in Germany, the wifi seemed to work just fine on my phone and computer. Instagram worked. Facebook worked. But when I tried to open the VIP Kid app on either device, IT WOULD NOT OPEN.
What did I do? I did the smart thing and panicked and shed more than a few tears until my friend, bless her, asked me, “Have you tried your ethernet cord?”
No! I hadn’t!!! I tried plugging it into the router and got nothing (cue the next wave of tears), but when I plugged it into the wall – BOOM! MAGIC! CRISIS AVERTED!
So, moral of the story – ethernet cords save lives.
Well, er, not really, but they saved me from getting fired. Which is basically my life. So there you go.
And had I tried to set this up last minute, I would have certainly missed my class.
HOW SHOULD I SET UP?Use tape, my friends.
I used to use Command Strips until I peeled a chunk of paint off a wall at one of my house sits in Germany. Leave it to me to not realize there was a certain way you were supposed to remove them.
But regardless, I’m much too scared to try them again so now I just travel with a roll of tape.
TIPS FOR SET UP
- Make sure you have your laptop charger with you! I’ve left it in another room before only to realize in the middle of class that my laptop was about to die. I had to quickly tell the poor student to wait one second while I ran to grab it.
- Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. I sometimes book short notice classes, which means my alarm will go off mid-class. Oops.
If you’re interested in teaching for VIP Kid, too, feel free to reach out! I’m more than happy to answer any questions. And if you’d like to use me as a referral (full disclosure, I get a little kickback if you do this) I’d be more than happy to help coach you through the hiring process!
I can explain how VIP Kid works, help you practice for your interview, tell you exactly what VIP Kid is looking for so you can get a higher base pay, and send you a list of helpful tips and props I use for trial classes (what you’ll most likely be teaching when you first start).
Here’s my referral code: KELSE0243
You can also read my other VIP Kid articles:
- What I learned after traveling and teaching for 6 months with VIP Kid
- My minimalist props
- My favorite reward systems to use
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