Students Prefer to Attend Virtual Class Without Cameras On


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While teachers prefer that students turn on their cameras for class, many students prefer not to.

Bailey Smith, Staff Reporter

The global pandemic has affected many students all across the country, especially in terms of how they learn.  Virtual school became a common practice for many school districts in an effort to prevent covid from spreading.  During this virtual learning period, Zoom meetings and Google meets have been a part of every student’s way of learning. In every meeting, no matter the topic, size, or length, teachers at GCHS have reported that they all have one thing in common: students prefer to have their cameras turned off for the entire portion of class. 

High school teachers have noticed that few, if any, of their students are willing to turn the camera on for class, while teachers of younger students have stated that their students typically join class with their cameras on, and sometimes with their microphones on as well, anxious and excited to interact with both their teachers and their peers.  Why would this be? Why wouldn’t high school students want their teachers and classmates to be able to see them for class? Why are elementary students more willing to turn them on?  

Western Elementary School student Peyton Scaggs, a fifth grader, arrives at his virtual class with his camera on each day.  Scaggs stated,I like to turn it on in the beginning and off at the end. I mostly like to keep it on in the beginning, so they know that I’m there.”  

Teachers prefer students to have their cameras turned on in class. Social Studies teacher at Great Crossing High School, Erica Blair, prefers for her students to have their cameras on. “I love teaching, and I miss having face-to-face interactions with my students.” 

Ms. Blair stated, “At times it feels awkward talking to blank screens, and it’s almost impossible to tell if students are understanding the content or not.” While Blair hopes that most of her students will turn on their cameras for class, she understands why many choose not to. “They may feel uncomfortable turning their camera on if no one else is,” Blair said. “Or they may have just  woken up to join the zoom call, or the background is chaotic.” 

GCHS senior Alaina Fueda seldom turns her camera on for class.  “I prefer having my camera off mainly because I am super insecure about how I look, I am mainly insecure because there are a lot of very judgemental people who will judge you so quickly. I also feel super awkward and am super shy whenever I have my camera on.”

Another teacher at GCHS, Leslie Murphy witnessed firsthand the difference between what she sees with her high school students and with her third grader’s classmates.  My son Daniel has only had to do virtual school for three weeks this school year, and when we were all doing virtual school from home, it was so surprising for me to see that ALL the third graders logged on for class with cameras on.  Daniel loves to have it on so he can see his friends.  His teacher also gave them breaks where everyone could stay logged on and talk.  All those third graders were talking at once over each other–and they didn’t care because they were together.  It just showed me that we all crave interaction with others, especially the younger students.”