If the first step to balancing teaching for IQBar and being a student was organising your schedule, the next is most certainly setting up the ideal teaching space. It goes without saying that having a clear workspace equals a clear mind for working. When you are a student, living in perhaps less ideal living environments and moving around a lot, it can sometimes be difficult to nail a teaching space conducive to a positive working atmosphere. When your space is distracting or messy, this can negatively impact the quality of your teaching, or even your study.

There are several important features to have in your working environment that aren’t negotiable. Of course you need a solid Internet connection to be able to work for IQBar, so you must set your desk area up in a place that you know can get good Wi-Fi. I recently had to rearrange my space at home in order to reach the Internet-it seems simple, but the connection can vary through a house, and so this must be thought of first. I found this to be less of a challenge in my University accommodation, as my whole flat had pretty good connection.

The next thing to consider when setting up your space is lighting. It is a requirement to be well lit when teaching, so Breadies can see your face properly, and generally to show a professional environment. I prefer to teach next to a window, as the light is good. If, like me, you are living in England, it might be necessary to have a good desk lamp to substitute good light when the weather is bad! It brings me joy to be able to look outside while I am sat at my desk. Moreover, I would suggest having things on your desk that makes you happy, whether that is personal photographs, postcards, images or keepsakes. I teach and study better when I enjoy the space I’m in, so it’s important that I enjoy my desk area. This being said, it’s crucial to keep the amount of things on your desk to a minimum to avoid distractions.

Like a lot of Buddies at IQBar, I have a notebook for teaching that I have had since the start, and use during every lesson. In this I record notes on the lessons, with things Breadies did well or need to improve on that I will write in the review. I also use it to write which unit and page we studied from in the lesson, whether or not they did their homework and what their homework will be next time. This is one of the only things I travel with when I move from university to home on the weekends and holidays, as I keep track of all things IQBar related in this notebook. As well as having this on my workspace, I keep my diary close so I never forget what my plans are whether I am at university or at home.

Backgrounds and props are important at IQBar, and I try to make sure my background is as interesting as possible in both of my work locations. This can be challenging, as neither spaces are necessarily mine, and I don’t live in them for long. I try to make sure I have something there, but generally try not to worry about it too much: the focus for me is absolutely the quality of the teaching. I always have some small props to hand in, such as cuddly toys, which can be easily adapted to any lesson I may teach to a young child. In summary, although these things are important to a lesson, don’t put too much pressure on yourself if your work environment does not make it easy for you to fulfil the requirements.

Something I would suggest if you are a student teaching for IQBar is to have another space to study. I would often try to study at my teaching space, and find it to be too much of a challenge. I needed to get out of the house after a couple of intense hours teaching in order to refocus my mind, and so would gravitate towards the library or a coffee shop, or even a friend’s house to study in. It can be difficult to go straight from teaching to studying sat in exactly the same place, and I would end up procrastinating after work. This may not be something you struggle with, but in my experience it helped the quality of my study to be able to do it somewhere else.

Hopefully any potential student Buddies may have picked up some tips here about how to set up an ideal environment for work and study! The key is to work with the space you have and not pressure yourself to have a full classroom or study when that is not an option for your room. If you feel happy and productive in your space, that’s truly all that matters!

Written by Molly Clark, a Buddy and full-time History of Art student who balances writing essays with teaching a whole host of happy Breadies.