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Protecting Your Voice – Advice For The Teacher

Losing your voice is one of the most challenging times in a teacher’s career so it is important to look after it at all times.

One of the skills to learn is to project your voice well to reduce the strain on it. You may need to go to a Speech Therapist or an Art of Speech Teacher if you are unable to learn this skill.

When you have a sore throat or you are fearful of losing your voice, there are some ways in which you can protect your voice and still manage the class.

Below are a few ideas for you to consider:

Give your class a written revision test. Make sure there are enough questions to keep most of the class occupied as well as some to stretch the more able. Have a reserve activity ready for those who finish early. As well, have copies of the answers at your desk available for students to check near your desk. This sort of activity allows you to have students ‘one on one’ at your desk to check progress and to give extra assistance.
A reading exercise with a work sheet requiring answers to be written. Again this should be an exercise that all students can attempt with some challenges for the more able.
A video or DVD lesson on your current topic with a work sheet.
A student quiz. Here students are given time to make up questions on the topic being studied. They should go from easy to hard and the student must know the answer. You could appoint a chair person to oversee the quiz with you checking the questions before they are asked. Each child should get a chance to ask a question.
A study lesson. Here you need to set guidelines on how the study is done; on references to use and questions to test the success of the study session.
These are just a few starting ideas. As you become more experienced, you will have further ideas in each subject for lessons that require you to speak much less than normal.

Long Term Protection:

Here are some other ideas to consider:

Never speak to your class unless all are ready to listen.
Never shout over a noisy class. Develop a signal that the class will recognise that you want to speak.
Be careful in open air venues. You need to have the class gather around you sitting on the ground close to you. Speaking outside can strain your voice. A whistle is an excellent device for getting your class’s attention.
Create a number of physical cues designed to gain students’ attention to improve their work ethic in class. A simple one is to stand beside the student who is not on task. You could create your own; use them often, not just when your voice is failing.
Insist that no matter what the situation in the class is or with you, that class and self-discipline must be maintained.
Always reward your class for good discipline in difficult situations for them and for you.
Where possible, have students talk for you. One way is for a student to answer a question that has been asked of the teacher by another student.
Remember your voice is your greatest teaching asset. Without it, you cannot impart your knowledge to those in your charge. Look after it and you can have a long and successful career in the class room.

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