Teaching style is unique to every teacher. This statement is true for a both a traditional and online classroom teacher. However, when it comes to teaching English online, you basically have two options: stand or sit. As a VIPKid teacher, it is important to understand that you may find yourself teaching 3 to 5 hours at a time or even more either sitting or standing. Most of these hours are spent teaching a variety of students “back-to-back”. If you are going to be teaching 14 to 16 students over multiple hours at a time, it is important to consider how you can make yourself comfortable. Our bodies are not meant to be in one position for long periods of time and so if you are going to be teaching online you might want to consider some items that will make the job easier on your body.
The first couple months of my VIPKid experience teaching online, I relied on a folding chair with a folding table. This set-up was all I needed to get started. I recommend that new VIPKid teachers spend little to no money in the beginning until they are comfortable enough to know this is a job that will be more long-term fixture in their life. I waited to make any purchases to do this job until I was comfortable in knowing I would be teaching English online more on a long-term basis (basically I signed a second contract). In the beginning, I wasn’t teaching many students and I was only working a couple of hours a week. However, as hours and bookings increased, I searched out a better option that allowed me to be comfortable while giving my students a great learning experience and I would encourage others to do so as well.
I like to move when I teach so I prefer to stand up so I tried just standing as opposed to sitting in a folding chair, however after a couple of hours my legs and back would need a rest and I was uncomfortable. Advantages and disadvantages exist whether you decide to stand or sit, however I recommend that there is a third option, I currently use a standing desk converter that allows me to do both without affecting or disrupting my teaching routine.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Sitting
While teaching online, it would be beneficial to sit because it seems to be the most laid-back approach especially if you are teaching multiple students over a span of several hours. Teaching, especially online, requires a certain level of comfort and sitting certainly would provide for that. I suspect most teachers sit for this reason. If you are teaching online, you are working from a small screen and so you have several options when it comes to sitting. You can manipulate the small space you are working in more effectively from a sitting position. However, you are limited in your ability to move and if you are working in the early morning hours, sitting can become very uncomfortable and lead to fatigue.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Standing
What about standing to teach? This is my preferred option when it comes to teaching. The benefits to teaching standing up online are numerous but standing for 3 to 5 hours or longer can be difficult on the body as well. As I mentioned, the benefits are numerous, standing allows a teacher to move freely (this is especially helpful when using TPR and props), limits the effects on health that long periods of sitting can create, and helps keep both the teacher and student active throughout each lesson. However, standing for long periods of time can be difficult on the body especially the legs and back.
A Better Option: A Standing Desk Converter
Sitting or standing comes with both pros and cons however, if you are going to be teaching for hours at a time, you may want to do what I did and invest in a standing desk converter. A standing desk converter allows you to maximize the benefits from both standing and sitting while at the same time minimizing the disadvantages of both. Furthermore, a standing desk converter is an affordable option that can allow a teacher to be comfortable while teaching multiple students over long periods of time. They attach to any desk which gives a teacher the flexibility to move to another location if needed. Most online teachers have limited space in which to work and a desk converter is a space saver by design and is great for working in enclosed spaces. I currently use a Eureka Ergonomic Standing Desk Converter, and it has made life so much easier as a VIPKid teacher. I can stand for one lesson and with a simple use of a lever I can sit for the next lesson and rotate between standing and sitting for every lesson I have with ease. I have been able to eliminate back and leg aches. I have been able to move freely and give my students a complete inactive experience without experiencing the fatigue I grew accustomed to when I would just sit for hours teaching in basically one position.
Choosing the Best Option for You
Prolonged sitting or standing is very difficult on your body, not to mention it is bad for your health. The effect of sitting down too long is well documented and you can read about it here. Aside from taking care of yourself, there is something to be said as far as giving your students your best each time you teach. It is important to stay comfortable in order to give each student the best lesson possible. If you are new and just starting out with online teaching, you may have to make do with what you have. But as you continue in this line of work and work longer hours, you may want to consider some options that allow you to sit and stand during a regular teaching session. Standing desk converters are an affordable option because there are so many to chose from. Just head over to Amazon and check them out.
Whether you are teaching or doing any other type of work from one position, standing or sitting for a prolonged period can be very uncomfortable and in many cases unhealthy. A standing desk converter can provide the flexibility of being able to stand and sit while helping to increase comfort as well as productivity. As teachers, we want to give each student the best lesson possible and we need to be comfortable doing so.