teach english online

6 Essential Supplies & Classroom Props for Teaching English Online

Your online teaching supplies matters. Equip yourself with these essential teaching props & virtual teaching supplies to enhance your effectiveness as an online English teacher.

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The equipment and props you use to teach English online can make all the difference between a mediocre teaching experience and classroom setup, or a great one. 

What is the Best Online Teaching Equipment?

To be a successful online English teacher, consider investing in additional remote teaching supplies than simply a computer/laptop with a good webcam and a reliable internet connection. Some online teaching supplies must-haves include a headset, a laptop stand, markers, flashcards and even a few puppets.

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What Supplies Do Virtual Teachers Need?

There are 6 essential virtual teaching supplies and teaching props you should consider investing in:

And there's even a bonus esl prop for you: Classroom Tours.

Now let's take a look in detail at these classroom props and supplies for virtual teaching:

1. Headset

A good-quality headset will be a life-changer for your online classes. Don’t skimp out to try and save a few bucks here. Obviously, price is something to factor in, but be sure you are analyzing reviews carefully and ensure you are going for quality over a low price tag.

Some things to consider: If you have a newer MacBook, keep in mind that the headset you purchase must be either Bluetooth-compatible or plug into a 3.5mm headphone jack. Newer MacBook’s no longer have USB ports, so in order to use a USB headset, you must also have a USB-C to USB adapter.

ITA Alumni, Abigail Jacobs, teaches English online with DaDaABC


2. Laptop Stand

Depending on where you are working, an adjustable laptop stand might also be worth the investment. This applies even more so if you are constantly on the move or traveling, and might not always have a desk handy to work from. For the latter option, there are portable, collapsible models available that are compact and can easily fit into your nomadic lifestyle. 

You can view a couple of options here and here, and for more compact, collapsible models, check out this one and this one

Many online English teachers have great success with using props to complement lesson plans and help aid in successfully conveying a message or new teaching to their students. Props are more so used across a younger teaching audience, so if you are teaching adults or business professionals, this will likely be of little use to you.

3. Dry Erase Board + Markers

Dry Erase boards are great because they can be used over and over again. Simply wipe away your previous lesson, and you’re ready to start all over again. Using a range of colored markers as opposed to just one color can really help particular lessons stand out and allow students to differentiate between things. Some teachers will have a large dry-erase board propped up behind them to give that authentic classroom feeling, while others will have a smaller, more practical one on hand that they can easily grab and write on.

Magnetic dry-erase boards are also big hits within the online classroom.  If your dry-erase board doubles as a magnet board, a magnet alphabet and numbers kit like this one is worth looking into.


4. Flashcards

Flashcards go way back. They're probably the best props for students. These have proven to be very useful tools for helping them memorize what it is they are being taught – especially if they are visual learners. There are various forms of flashcards that can be purchased, but the most effective for teaching young students should include the following:

→ The alphabet
 Colors & Shapes
 First Words

A quick look on Amazon, and this Playskool 4-pack or this Star Right 4-pack ought to do the trick!

Classroom props for teaching English online


5. Puppets & Plush Animals

Using a variety of hand puppets and/or plush animals is a great way to help bring to life stories, songs, and games. If you’re on a tight budget, hand puppets can be a fun DIY project that can be created with an old sock. If wearing a sock on your hand is not your thing, there are so many different options to check out on Amazon.

You can explore some good options here, here, here, here and here!

Check out these awesome videos we came across on YouTube of teachers showing off the props they use when teaching English online with VIPKid. Sidenote: VIPKid is just one of the hundreds of online English-teaching employers:


Teacher Nikki with VIPKid



Teacher Lindsey with VIPKid



DIY Props - Teacher Lindsey with VIPKid


6. Reward Systems

A reward system is a means of motivating a student to do their best to succeed. Like most people in life, students like to be rewarded for their consistency and hard work – if they know they will be rewarded for such effort, it is likely they will continue to outperform themselves with each and every lesson. You can get as creative as you want with the reward system that you choose, but keep in mind that a simplistic and visual approach may be best for young minds. 

Not quite sure what your reward system should look like? Check out these great resources we found on YouTube of reward systems being used when teaching English online by these VIPKid teachers:

Teacher Lindsey with VIPKiD 





Teacher Tina with VIPKid



Bonus: Classroom Tours

If you need some inspiration in creating a colorful and fun online classroom for your students, or you just want to check that the classroom you’ve created is similar to what other online English teachers are using, take a look at these videos we came across on YouTube: 

Teacher Nancy with VIPKid 


Teacher Nikki with VIPKid



And just remember, there is no right or wrong classroom setup. This list of the best equipment for online teaching is a good start but don't forget to let your creative juices run free. Most importantly, aim to educate young minds and inspire their imagination!  

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