The Ghost of the Classroom

The Ghost of the Classroom

Owen Boberski, Staff Writer

You join a Zoom Livestream class and all you see is a black screen with white names. It feels like you are not in school; it feels like you are in your own dark cave. You contemplate turning your camera on and looking weird, but you keep it off to fit in.

Should you have turned the camera on?

The camera makes you feel exposed and alone — until the teacher comes and orders everyone to turn their cameras on. Everyone briefly steps out of their black cave and then retreats back into it when the teacher looks away. The pattern repeats. Every time a student is asked why they continue to keep doing this, the response is always, “Technical problems.”

Is this not a technological problem, but a psychological one? As sixth grade English teacher Ms. Sarah Bell says, “It is obviously not as natural to connect with students through Zoom, so I really prefer to be able to see their faces… I’m more able to engage with them individually.”

Middle schoolers also feel the brunt of their own decisions. According to academic newspaper, The Conversation, students switching tasks between turning their camera on and switching it back off again may have slightly impaired memory or a smaller ability to focus on a task which therefore is reflected directly in participation and grades.

That is why I keep my camera on.