One Allderdice Student Has Turned On Their Camera Every Day. We Investigate This Anomaly.

Online school has been going on for far too long and I, like many others, have lost all motivation to attend my virtual classes. Most of the time they become the background noise to my daily routine. Making tea in the morning or cleaning out my closet whilst playing my classes in the background, school is pretty much the weird radio show constantly playing in the background on long road trips when your Spotify isn’t working and you’re deep in West Virginia. With all that said, every so often I’ll take a peak on my Teams video and I am astounded to see faces other than the teachers looking out at me. I think to myself, who are these students and how do they continue day after day to get out of bed, brush their hair, and wear something other than the same sweatshirt for days on end? I found myself asking these questions to myself and the others around me so I decided to sit down with one of these students and ask them their secrets and what superiority complex allowed them to be so vulnerable on camera.

Backword: I’m so glad you were willing to sit down and talk to me, I’m so interested in how your experience in online school has differed from other students who don’t use the camera function. I want to start from the beginning though, what led you to be a student who used their camera in class and how have you kept the motivation to stay that way?

Student: To be honest I never meant for it to come to this. One day I was in English class and I didn’t realize my camera had been on for the first couple minutes of class. I guess I had pressed a key on my computer by accident and it turned on. Once I realized though it was too late, I decided to leave it on just for that day, so I stared intently at the teacher for the rest of class whilst having an internal panic attack. After that I knew I would never make that mistake again, but later when I looked at my Teams messages my English teacher had sent me a note. Now let me tell you I have never received a more heartfelt letter in my life. The theme was a soldier writing to his love at home, about how much having my camera on meant to them and how they have felt such solitude and loneliness talking to a black screen. This letter went on and on and finally when I reached the bottom I knew how screwed I was because I will never be able to go to a class without my camera on again, I’ve been stuck like this ever since. 

Backword: That is wildly specific, so does that mean you only keep your camera on for the one class?

Student: That’s the worst part, now other teachers have messaged me about how great it was that I had my camera on for my English class and have asked me why I don’t do it in their classes. I have been shamed in all my classes, except homeroom, to have my camera on. 

Backword: That must be very stressful, so how do you deal? Do you feel as though you are gaining much from the classes you are in?

Student: It is definitely stressful. I know I will have to turn my camera on so in the morning I have to get ready. The hardest part is I have to do class from my desk instead of my bed and there is no way I can take naps during long lectures. In my earlier classes when the rest of my peers are sleeping I am forced to answer the questions my teacher asks because I’m the only one awake. And to answer your second question, you would think I’m learning more because I have to pay attention but in actuality I think I’m learning less. My anxiety is at an all-time high, so while the teachers are talking all I’m thinking about is the turn off camera button, it haunts my nightmares and it’s constantly showing up in the corner of my eye but when I try to look it dead on, it disappears.  

Backword: How do you think we as students can support you during this tough time?

Student: I think just understanding that you never know what’s going on in someone’s life. Stop and ask yourself, why do they keep their camera on? Is there another story behind their actions? I think just having empathy is the most important. 

Backword: That is some great insight. I’m so glad you were able to sit down and talk to me and I hope that everyone reading this is able to learn about this issue and support their peers who have been coaxed into utilizing there cameras, and just remember to fight teacher-pressure, you never know when it could happen to you.