At Marian University Preparatory School, we are proud to offer flexible learning opportunities where students can learn at home, at school, or on the go. Even with busy schedules, our students and teachers spend most of their academic hours working from home. Having a dedicated space for learning or teaching is one way you can set yourself up for success. Here are some of the supplies I’ve found essential for teaching, as well as recommendations for students’ workspaces.
There are some tools that are obviously needed such as your computer, a desk or table, and reliable internet, but there are also items that can make online teaching smooth and seamless. You can have a great school year with the following tools.
- A comfortable office chair—This is often the last thing people consider, but you will spend a lot of time in your chair. It is worth the investment to have a comfortable chair that supports your back and promotes good posture. Don’t overlook this important detail.
- A second screen—When you are teaching live online classes, you will want to be able to see the students and the course content at the same time. A second screen is a fantastic way to accomplish this goal and have all of your course materials, websites, notes, and online tools at your fingertips.
- A five-subject notebook—Even in a virtual world, you will still use pen and paper often. Each school year, I have one five-subject notebook that I call my “Everything Notebook” for the year. I label sections for faculty meetings, anecdotal notes, communication with parents, PLC or department meetings, committee work, to-do lists, and course notes. I keep track of schedules, grades, emails, and more online, but I still use a paper notebook for keeping organized meeting notes.
These items have been (or soon will be) so helpful for me. They are certainly not required, but they help me feel brighter, more organized, and healthier—all of which make me a better teacher.
- A ring light—Proper lighting helps you look your best on camera. Along with making sure natural lighting is in front of you, having a ring light makes a tremendous difference in how you appear on screen. It takes away shadows and lets your natural beauty shine. “Look good—feel good—do good” is a saying for a reason. Confidence looks good on everyone!
- A bulletin board—Teachers have a lot of information to keep track of. Even in 2023, it’s still okay to print schedules and post them. I don’t print everything, but I do print and post items that I will need to keep track of all year such as our school calendar, our missing work policy, and my daily schedule.
- A standing or convertible desk—This is something I have not splurged on yet, but I might build one for myself this summer. There is so much research on the importance of standing more often. Sitting is not good for our health! There are lots of options available, including adjustable surfaces that you can use standing or sitting.
Learning online can be as simple as turning on your computer and getting started. As you work through your lessons, you will find that having the following tools readily available can keep you on track. Being prepared is a great first step to help you master the content and ace your assignments.
- “Regular” school supplies—Learning virtually does not mean you will do all of your work on a computer. Students should still have pencils, pens, and notebooks. If you are fully virtual, you may not need a backpack or lunch box anymore, but if you are a hybrid student and/or you learn while traveling, you will still want a backpack that can safely carry your computer and other supplies.
- Office supplies—When learning from home, it can be easy to forget about the items that are readily available in a typical classroom. You may not need them often, but you will want to have them at the ready when you do. Be sure your space is stocked with tape, a stapler, paper clips, scrap paper, sticky notes, and the most important tool—a strong, secure, and reliable internet connection.
- Content-specific supplies—Many tools can be found online, but you will still want to have items such as a ruler, a compass and protractor, a state, country, or world map, hard copies of novels, a Bible, and PE equipment such as a jump rope or basketball. Your teachers will let you know what you need and will have resources available for you when they can.
As you are able to do so, adding the following items to your learning space can enhance your studies. These are extras, and are certainly not required, but they can be beneficial if you are able to purchase them.
- Headset—This is especially helpful if there are others in your home who are also learning or working virtually. A good headset can block out background noise and make it easier to stay focused. Having a microphone on your headset can also be beneficial for participating in class. Virtual learning is not a solo endeavor. Participating in class is vital to your success!
- Printer—There will be times when you will want to print an assignment or other school info such as calendars, schedules, or reminders. Having a printer at home is not usually required, but it can be helpful.
- Power Tower—The modern-day version of a power strip, having an outlet tower with traditional plugs and USB ports can be helpful and space-saving. You will likely have many items to keep charged and no one likes a tangled mess of cords!