What is one aspect of teacher self-care that is too often overlooked? We all know that eating healthy foods and staying active are an important part of our wellness—especially in a career as busy as teaching. But taking care of your voice is another crucial aspect of self-care that can sometimes slip a little too far down the priority list.
There are a few simple ways you can proactively minimise the strain placed on your voice each day. Try giving these practical tips a go in your classroom!
Ensure you have a water bottle within reach at all times. Take sips at regular intervals. Try to limit caffeine intake (ugh, we know) as this can cause dehydration.
Plan rest breaks for your voice
When planning your day, consider which activities will require significant vocal effort and which ones won't. Try to alternate them, if possible, so that you can rest your voice throughout the day.
Stop competing with unnecessary noise
Do what you can to turn down, shut out or move away from noise in the environment when you need to speak. Stand in a place in the classroom that will make it easiest for students to hear you without straining your voice.
Use non-vocal attention grabbers
Establish routines with your class to get them used to recognising and responding to non-vocal attention getters. Try clapping rhythms, hand signals, playing music or using a whistle or bell instead of raising your voice over the top of a classroom full of noise.
Consider classroom layout
If possible, arrange your classroom so that students who may be noisy or require extra attention are closer to the front.
Try providing instructions to a small number of students who then have the responsibility to inform the rest of the class. This can also be a great way to increase student autonomy and encourage a sense of students' ownership of learning.
Departmental staff with vocal injury or disability can request a voice amplifier through our Voice Amplifier Program. Contact Organisational Safety and Wellbeing at
email@example.com for more information.
You can also
find more tips on vocal care for teachers on the
Department of Education website.