Full disclosure: at the beginning of the school year, I was a camera-off kind of girl and I loved it.
No one had to see that I was still in my pajamas or that I hadn’t done my hair. Not to mention, I could finally sleep through a boring lesson without being abruptly awakened by the school bell or the teacher shouting at me (not that I ever did, it was just nice to have the option). I can confidently say that I could’ve spent the entire school year camera-off. In fact, a part of me still wants to, because it is the most awkward thing in the world to be the only person with their camera on in class. The forty minutes spent knowing that my teacher (and everyone in the class) is staring at me is agonizing. It’s so uncomfortable that, even with the best of intentions, I still find myself switching the camera on and off for the entire hour.
Despite how embarrassing having my camera on can feel, I’m determined to keep it on as often as I can, and I think you should too. You see, somewhere mid-first semester I came to the realization that when I consider whether or not to have my camera on, I shouldn’t be thinking about myself. I should be thinking about my teachers. Men and women who show up to school in the middle of a pandemic to teach us in a way they’ve never taught before. I hate to think that most of them – people I have come to know and care about – spend the day talking at rows of little black boxes that are supposed to represent their students.
Our teachers want to connect with us, to really get to know us, but it’s nearly impossible for them to do that when they can’t even see our faces. So please, if you can, turn your camera on. I’m sure your teachers will thank you for it.