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Monday, January 8, 2018

How to Teach When You’ve Lost Your Voice

How do you teach if you can't talk?  It's that time of year again where the germs are everywhere and even the most seasoned teacher is susceptible to getting sick.  If you're looking for some tips on how to keep the learning going when you're not feeling well, then this post is for you!

How to Teach When You’ve Lost Your Voice

Step 1: Take care of yourself
If you are truly sick and feeling awful, take a day off and get yourself rested!  No one wants to share germs and you won't get better if you push yourself beyond your limits.  And while you're at it, DON'T bring any work home.  You're not resting if you're working.

With that being said, if you still feel well enough to push on, here are some strategies to get you through the day.

Drink hot tea with honey and magnesium.  
Click here to read about how I make my tea.

How to Teach When You’ve Lost Your Voice: Magnesium Tea

Diffuse essential oils to combat your sore throat.
My favorite blend for this is lemon, lavender, and peppermint.

How to Teach When You’ve Lost Your Voice: Singer's Spray

Step 2:  Be Honest With Students
Just being honest and asking the students for a personal favor of being quiet and paying close attention has always worked for me.

Step 3:  Write and display your directions to the class
Some ways to do this:

  • PowerPoint slides 
  • Posters
  • If students have access to computers, put your directions on an online repository so students can read the directions and move at their own pace

I’ve typed my directions as I go and projected them on the screen so kids have to read to know what to do. 

Step 4: Assign students as class leaders to relay directions

Step 5: Use visual cues to get students attention
These could include:

  • Clapping for their attention
  • Flicking the lights on and off
  • Raise your hand and have your class leaders quiet those around them

Step 6: Use Self-Guided Stations
Be sure to have some of these ready BEFORE you get sick.  Teach your students how to use them ahead of time.  It's not going to work well to try to teach students how to complete the stations when you have no voice.

Step 7: Use Class Incentives
As a last resort, I have a “prize bag” that floats from desk to desk of students who are paying attention. They get their name in a raffle for a small reward at the end of the day. They get super quiet when they see me walk over and put the bag on a student’s desk.

What do you do when you have to teach with no voice?  I can always use more tricks up my sleeve!

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