By: Juliette Levy-Gay (Grade 8)
You never know what might go wrong…
During these trying times, we definitely don’t need our lives to get any more chaotic, especially if it involves a horrifyingly embarrassing experience on Zoom. To make sure no one ends up like the department head who turned herself into a potato and couldn’t turn it off, or the business-woman who didn’t realize her virtual background was an image of Harry Styles until halfway through her meeting, here are 10 Zoom tips to help get you through the next few months.
1. First things first, you should definitely know how to operate all the cool functions the app has to offer. That said, you should probably explore these before, and not during class. You don’t want to end up stuck as a potato too (or perhaps something worse…)!
2. Next, try your best to be early to class. Now, I’m not saying sit there for 15 minutes, just waiting for your teacher to let you in, but is it really that hard to be there at 8:59 instead of 9:01? You wouldn’t think so.
3. Close your door. One thing you definitely don’t want interrupting class is an annoying sibling wandering into your room to make their internet debut. Not to mention a clueless pet who casually walks in front of your camera and all over your keyboard, turning on all sorts of effects that you don’t want. Now, some teachers could have a good laugh about that, but there’s definitely a few who wouldn’t find it too amusing.
4. Maybe the most important thing to remember when you’re on a zoom call is to mute yourself when you’re not talking. Even though some teachers tell you to stay unmuted so the discussion moves quicker, nothing is more awkward than the sound of a parent opening your door to tell you to clean your disgusting room or the monstrous roaring of a toilet flush in the background. Even worse, if you forget to mute yourself, the whole class could hear you watching TikToks or ranting about the latest assignment.
5. To follow up on that, make sure your room is clean! Or at least what’s visible on camera. Do you really want your whole class, not to mention your teacher, seeing your clothes all over your unmade bed or the three-day-old food moulding on your bedside table? I didn’t think so.
6. TEACHERS CAN SEE PRIVATE CHATS! This shouldn’t be a problem given that most teachers have disabled the private chat setting, but in case you can send private messages…be warned! The host of the meeting can see all the messages that are sent at the end of the meeting and they are saved onto the cloud if the meeting is recorded. So next time you want to send a message to a friend, think again.
7. Now, I know this may not seem like such a big deal, but you should probably look somewhat presentable when you show up for class. That chunk of hair sticking out of the side of your head is distracting. Try to make an effort to get out of bed at least 15 minutes before class starts in order to freshen up a little and put on some WPGA gear. I know you can’t technically get a uniform slip at the moment, but the hoodies are comfortable anyway.
TIP: If, like me, you always look like you just came out of a coma in the morning, you can use the “touch up my face” filter to look a little more awake!
8. Another detail that may not seem like something worthy of attention is the lighting. If you’re worried about your appearance, a florescent, ghost white face definitely won’t help. Also, try not to sit directly in front or behind a window to avoid your face from becoming merely a silhouette.
9. Be conscious of your virtual background. We all like to be silly every once in a while, but if you want a funny background, make a tactical choice. I’m thinking most teachers wouldn’t appreciate an image of themselves or something worse as a student’s background. If you’re going to go with a virtual background, of course make sure you know how to remove it as well.
10. The last tip I have for you today is to be careful when you are screen sharing. If you, at any point, need to share your screen, make sure what’s on your desktop is something you wouldn’t mind your whole class seeing. You probably wouldn’t want your class, let alone your teacher, to catch a glimpse of your text messages, your photos library, or what you just paused on Netflix.
I hope these tips can help prevent any catastrophic failures or incredibly awkward moments that may occur during the rest of our online school adventure. Stay safe and stay at home!
Photo credit: Zoom