In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are arguably few professions that have had to make more radical changes to their routines and their basic approach to what they do than educators. It can be, as the saying goes, a lot, especially as it sinks in that the realities of this immense distance-learning experiment aren't going away anytime soon. Luckily, though, you can take some basic steps to optimize your physical teaching environment.
Visually, for your students, your space and your backdrop are the classroom now. You can physically redecorate your space to look bright and welcoming in just the same way you'd do with a normal classroom. Colourful and creative backdrops, for example, can be a great way to display inspirational messages or lesson plans or celebrate student-created content. Just as importantly, make sure that you have the lighting, sound and tech solutions you need to connect with and record effective content for your students.
Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways. Interactive whiteboard apps are nice if you can afford the time required for you and your students to learn how to use them effectively, but a quality dry-erase whiteboard is still the simplest way to keep track of your daily schedules and conduct lessons in action on Zoom and other video chat platforms.
If your lessons involve crafts or other kinds of physical demonstrations, make sure to clear a worktable or bench that you can capture with good quality light on your webcam setup. Arts and crafts and other practical, hands-on projects are a great way to get students really engaged with the material, and arts-integrated teaching can boost students of any discipline, including STEM fields. To get the most out of this approach, you'll also want to make sure you have a good source of crafting supplies.
Even though you're teaching online, it's still essential to have access to reliable and high-quality printer technology. For one thing, it's far easier to print out and manage lesson plans on paper than to try to switch back and forth between multiple documents and browser windows on your computer. It's also still a boon to produce large-print outlines for follow-along story time with younger age groups or to print signs, samples or pictures that you can use on your backdrops for lesson content. Make sure you're getting your printer and its associated supplies from a trusted source that can ensure good prices and service.
Or tea, if you're not a coffee drinker. The point being, don't be shy about kick-starting your day with the foods or beverages that help you stay alert and be at your best.