How to get over the anxiety of turning your mic on and speaking during a virtual class

A few steps could help change your perspective about the virtual environment

Christina H

Do you ever find yourself wanting to share your answer to the class but stop yourself? Do you hesitate to answer because you think people will judge the way you sound so you keep your comments to yourself? COVID-19 has impacted everyone this year whether it is a job loss, cancelled events, or transitioning to virtual learning. Many schools had to go virtual, or hybrid, for safety reasons. Students are learning and participating in online school from the comfort of their own home. Students went from having normal interactions every day to almost none, and this came with its own set of problems. The school setting has changed so much and caused many students to have issues whether it is now being behind or having to speak and turn cameras on. Speaking and turning cameras on during class is no problem for some, for others, it is not so easy. A few tips that can help you can overcome your fear of speaking during class.

Do not overthink it
The first thing you should realize is how small of a problem speaking during class really is. Now, of course students may have their own personal problems at home whether it is background noise or things going on behind the scenes. But if you have a comment or a question, I encourage you to speak up! Speaking with your class is a great way of staying engaged. Do not overwhelm yourself with the thought of speaking or turning your cameras on because I can guarantee that no one in your class cares what you look or sound like. Unless you have a friend in your class, they might tease you a bit. “Relax, take deep breaths and calm down a bit and not think about what others will think when they see their camera or mic is on,” student Hidee Luis said.

No one is judging you
Everyone is probably in the same boat as you are and is thinking the same thing. I know that many people are self-conscious about the way they sound to other people online or the noises in their home, but If you would like to and are comfortable, speak during class! I find speaking during class is much better than using the chat because I am having actual voice conversations. Your teacher might be surprised and will enjoy having actual conversations with students. You would find that speaking is easier than you might have thought. This could encourage more students to start speaking up during class. “Kids think they are going to get judged by their looks or voice,” student Anamika Darjee said. “Not all people live in the same environment so some kids might be embarrassed to show their rooms.”

Spice things up!
Making light of the situation might help as well. Everyone is on edge during these crazy times. If you are comfortable with turning your camera on, choose a funny background. You could give your teacher a good laugh and make them feel as if they are not alone while speaking to small dots. This could also encourage other students to do the same. This is a good way of staying engaged with your teacher and your classmates. You could also put on a funny hat or make funny little quirks throughout class. Who knows? This could settle everyone’s nerves from feeling stressed about this crazy school year. “All I do is tell my students I miss them and would love to see their smiling faces,” Spanish Teacher Ms. Macdonald said. “Honestly, I don’t think as long as it’s an expectation at DMPS that we aren’t requiring cameras there will be many students who don’t turn them on no matter what.”
Virtual learning is a whole new experience for all of us. We have to work our way around and try to adapt to new changes. Learning can be very stressful for some, but it doesn’t have to be. Make the most of your virtual experience and remember that nothing lasts forever. Hopefully in the near future we are able to return to a proper school setting.