Cameras: On, Feelings: Conflicted


Image provided by Google.

Cassidy Lo, Staff Writer

  Since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, students’ camera status has been a continuous  issue with online learning. Teachers are struggling to keep their students engaged and students are struggling to remain focused in class. 

  Students keeping their cameras off can lead to distractions during class time. It also prevents them from forming a connection with their teachers.

  Mrs. Bhaskar, a veteran biology teacher at Aliso Niguel commented “I feel that the students’ and the teachers’ connection is where the learning really happens.” She added “When I sit there and I interact with [students] and I can see [them]… it immediately gives me an idea about whether [they’re] understanding or not because I can see [their] facial expressions.” 

  Another teacher, Mr. Powers, stated “Humans make better connections and feel happier when face to face.” 

  It is apparent that many teachers believe that both themselves and students would benefit from keeping cameras on. However, the student’s perspective is very different.

 Sanvi Kumar (12) explained “I don’t like it because I feel like it isn’t going to make me work harder to make any actual change academically.” 

  This may not be true for all students. Only those who can be trusted to pay attention while not being under a teacher’s supervision would relate to Sanvi. Others who might need a little nudge would likely benefit from keeping their camera on. 

  The district seems to have come up with a new rule to restrict students’ freedom to choose whether their camera stays on or off. Many teachers have announced that the district is now requiring students to keep cameras on in order to be marked “engaged” for that class period.

  However, this new rule comes with its own set of problems. There are certain circumstances in which students should not be required to turn on their cameras. 

  Rougin Jalalian (11) stated “I could see why some people are upset by it because everyone’s home life varies.” 

  Many teachers recognize this. Mrs. Reilly, an AP U.S. History teacher, commented “There’s always exceptions to the rule and legitimate reasons for exceptions… we always have to be empathetic to meet the needs of students.” 

  Mrs. Bhaskar had something similar to say, “there are some circumstances where the home circumstances can be hard and I totally hear that… A lot of the time, students don’t mind if teachers see, but students don’t like it when peers are able to see their circumstance and I think that’s what bothers students.”

  People learn best when they feel comfortable and secure. It is important students know that teachers understand their situations and are willing to be reasonable.