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Blog takeover, Anon: Aged 13.

I am so sorry that I do not want to be on camera during my school lessons, but I hope that by reading my letter you can begin to understand why.

At the start of 2020, I was in my second year of secondary school and I was really looking forward to my first ever school trip abroad. I was working hard at school and my reports home were always of a good, hardworking student. I was looking forward to and planning to celebrate my 13th birthday.

As of March 2020, the whole country was in Lockdown, school was cancelled, and my trip abroad was off. I became home-schooled overnight and I turned 13. My body was starting to change, hormones were running wild and I was becoming much more aware of how I look. There was (and is) a constant pressure to look good at all times. My teenage hormones well and truly kicked in and my motivation was at an all time low. I could not wait to start school again in September, I really needed to be in a school environment, and I couldn’t wait to socialise with my friends.

In September I went back to school and then a classmate got Coronavirus, and then my mum, and then another classmate, and then another and I had to stay home for 4 separate periods of self-isolation. It was not the return I was hoping for.

Its now February 2021 and we are in another lockdown and I am at home again. I do not have to physically go to school, in fact I am rarely allowed to even leave my house and so some mornings, most mornings, being the teenager that I am, I get up last minute and I attend the Zoom in my pyjamas. But I turn up to class. Sometimes I try to get 5 minutes sleep in-between my classes. But I turn up to class. Sometimes I do not switch on fully to the lesson. But I turn up to class.

Please know that I do want to be in your lesson and I do want to learn but being on live camera, watching people watch me makes me extremely anxious. I am a teenager working my way from childhood to adulthood in the middle of a pandemic. I am a teenager living in a perfectly filtered, social media world and I am hormonal. I quite simply do not want to put my camera on, and I feel that I should not be penalized for this.

I understand that you need to know which students are attending your classes, and I understand that you need to know that we are engaging with the lesson, but I ask that you to find another way to do so.

Yours, Anon.

Aged 13.

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