Knowing how to protect your voice as a classroom teacher is imperative to your health and career. There have been many times where either students have needed constant re-direction, or maybe I was teaching an in-depth lesson that required me to speak more. At the end of these kinds of days, my voice was strained, and my throat was sore. Because teaching is the most important physical aspect of the job, teachers must consider their own vocal health.
6 Tips for Every Classroom Teacher on How to Protect Your Voice
While it may seem that making sure voice problems don’t happen is impossible, that is probably true. At some point in your teaching career, you may lose your voice. However, there are several tips that you can do to prevent damage to your vocal cords.
1 . Stay Hydrated!
I cannot stress enough how very important it is for teachers to drink lots of water. According to Lesley Childs M.D., drinking water is the lubrication for your vocal cords to function properly. Without constant fluids, you will suffer voice loss at some point.
2 . Avoid Speaking Too Loudly
Teacher voices can be some of the more direct and scariest ones out there. When your students are excessively loud, and you know you will have to reach above the background noise, don’t. Instead, speak with a normal voice at the front of your class until your students realize that you’re talking. Eventually, they will get the picture. I also found it helpful to use a class bell or clap to gather my students’ attention.
3 . Don’t Clear Your Throat
Some teachers clear their throats to gather attention…don’t! Did you know that throat-clearing actually causes scar tissue on the vocal cords? Ultimately, this will lead to voice problems and potentially permanent damage.
4 . Notice the Warning Signs
One of the main things you will notice is that you feel strained to speak over any noise. Another issue that teachers notice is that their voices begin to sound scratchy. If you have been talking all day and notice these issues, take a break immediately and regroup to something different.
5 . Use a Personal Voice Amplification Device
Using a voice amplifier in the classroom will allow you to be heard easily without straining your voice at all! Using one of these small but might tools will help you from straining.
6 . Vocal Chords Need Exercise Too
Many speeches and language pathologists recommend doing different exercises to strengthen those vocal cords. Your voice, like the muscles in your body, benefits from certain exercises to make them stronger and more resistant to damage.
It is important to take some time out of the classroom to recoup your strength. Using those sick days to be away from school and to allow yourself to heal is extremely important. Think outside of the box when it comes to ways to save your voice.