Can Teachers Turn On Your Camera On Zoom?

Zoom has become a part of almost all of our lives over these past few years. Once a relatively small and unknown video conferencing platform, it became massive thanks to the necessity for remote-communication precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, many classes and extracurricular study sessions are still being held by teachers over Zoom. Many teachers understandably require their pupils to have their video turned ON during class, so that the teacher can see their face and thus know they are participating like they should be.

However, this may make you wonder: Can teachers turn on your camera on Zoom without your permission? 

You’ll be glad to know, the answer is: No, teachers cannot turn on your camera on Zoom. Zoom does not allow anyone but you to turn on your camera. Teachers can ask that you have it turned on, but cannot enforce this. Only you can turn your camera ON and OFF. Beware, however, that not showing your face in class may result in you being marked absent, or the teacher not awarding you a participation grade.

For any more information, or if you still have questions, please see our FAQ section below. 


Why do teachers use Zoom for teaching?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools around the world had to adapt to social distancing measures, and this meant that for at least some (if not most) of 2020-22, regular schooling was dramatically disrupted. 

During the various lockdowns imposed by world governments, school teachers had to start teaching their classes online, remotely, from home, whilst the pupils also worked from home. Zoom is a conferencing and video call software which became popular during the pandemic for its ease-of-use and functionality.

Zoom is a popular choice for teachers, since it gives them and their pupils the tools they need to conduct classes remotely.

Can teachers see your screen on Zoom?

Just like how teachers cannot turn your camera on over Zoom, they also cannot see your screen. Zoom has to give its users a certain degree of privacy and security, and as such prohibits anyone but you from accessing your camera and screen without your permission.

A teacher can, however, see your screen if you choose to ‘Share Screen’ on Zoom. There is a button to share your screen in the center of the toolbar at the bottom of the screen during Zoom calls. If you’ve been asked to prepare a presentation to your class for display over Zoom, then you will have to share your screen so that everyone else on the call can see your presentation, for example.

Once you’ve finished sharing your screen, you can click ‘Stop Sharing Screen’ at any time, and Zoom will stop sharing your screen with the other participants on the call (including your teacher).

How do you turn your camera ON and OFF on Zoom?

If you’re not sure how to turn your camera on and off, don’t worry, it’s easy! In the bottom-left corner of your screen (on the far left of the toolbar along the bottom of the screen) you should see a big button when you hover your mouse in that area that says ‘Stop Video’. Simply left-click this button to stop your video and thus turn it OFF. To turn your video back ON, simple left-click it again. The button will now be labeled ‘Start Video’ however.

Do I have to show my face on Zoom?

If you have got your camera turned ON on Zoom, then whoever you’re in a meeting/chat with (whether it’s one other person or a hundred), your face will be visible to everyone involved. They may not see your face all the time, however.

If they have their view set to ‘Speaker View’ then they will only see your face on screen when you’re talking. On the other hand, if they have their view set to ‘Grid View’ then they’ll be able to see a small panel with your camera (and thus your face) in it at all times.

In terms of Zoom for class, your teacher may require you to turn your camera ON and show your face. Just like you would be visible in class at school, in-person (rather than at home), you should be visible to the teacher in an online classroom. Without this, how will the teacher know you’re taking part?

Some teachers may refuse to award you the grade for participation if you don’t show your face. We suggest talking to your teacher in private if you have difficulty showing your face on Zoom.