For everyone 7 top tips to take care of your voice
- Around 20% of teachers need to take time off because of vocal issues
- That’s three to five times more likely than the general population
- The majority of these voice problems are easily preventable
Your voice is one of your most valuable assets as a teacher. That means it’s vitally important you do everything you can to look after it. We get that there are plenty of hurdles to overcome, from raising it loud enough to be heard over the din of rowdy students to reciting Shakespearean sonnets or simply having to talk all day every day.
Here are seven ways you can keep those vocal cords happy:
1. Take talk breaks
It pays to factor chat breaks into your lesson plan, alternating activities that need you to get vocal with ones that don’t. That way your tonsils get regular downtime throughout the day.
2. Perfect projection
Standing in front of a captive classroom all day can be a little like performing on stage, with the audience just as unpredictable. Make like an actor and practice speaking from your diaphragm to minimise vocal stress.
3. Saved by the bell
When you do need to cut through the noise and command attention, consider using a handy aid like an old school counter bell, clapping or a game show-like buzzer to save you some of the pain.
4. Watch the whispers
It’s a no-brainer that minimising hollering will help reduce the stress on your vocal cords, but did you know that whispering can put pressure on them too? The extra breathiness involved exacerbates almost as much as shouting, so keep extremes to a minimum, loud or low.
5. Clear off
The same is true of clearing your throat. We all do the mini-cough instinctively when we’re feeling a bit choked, but it’s basically a vocal slam your cords can do without. Try swallowing softly instead.
6. Keep hydrated
Just like the pot plants in your classroom, vocal cords need to be watered too. We get you don’t want to be caught short either, but regular sips throughout the day will help keep dulcet tones in tip-top form.
7. Rest up
Don’t fight it when your voice isn’t up to the gig. You know your body better than anyone. When you can’t speak up, don’t be afraid of asking for a much-needed sick day so your vocal cords heal quicker.