So You've Lost Your Voice and You're A Teacher... Now What?

Hey guys! I don't know about you, but recently I have been watching Hack My Life on TruTV. If you weren't aware I am a major nerd and love education/informational TV. (Not to mention my Doctor Who and Sherlock obsession!) On Hack My Life they do a segment called "Now What" where they give different scenarios of hacks. So today I ask you.. So you've lost your voice and you're a teacher, NOW WHAT?

When your a teacher, your voice is one of the most important tools. When it's gone, it can be very difficult to instruct, question, and to maintain good behavior management. I know I can't just take 5 days off to "rest my voice" like my doctor always seems to recommend. Adapting is the name of the game and here are a few things I do differently when I've lost my voice.

Getting Their Attention:
On a normal day I love a call and response attention getter such as the famous "Class, Class..Yes,Yes". When I've lost my voice this seems nearly impossible! In this case, I love to use a service bell. I ding my bell twice as a replacement of my normal "class, class". This works well because it's loud enough that they can hear it.

You could also use preemptive measures by not using a call and response attention getter. You could implement the clap call and response, where the teacher claps and the students echo the clapping pattern. If this was already in place, the teacher wouldn't need to change anything. I personally just prefer a vocal call and response!

We try to make quick transitions between one activity to another. Our goal is to be at our new destination and ready in 7 counts, but we have to 10 counts before we get in trouble. (See The Essential 55 by Ron Clark) I usually count out loud the numbers, but I have been known to just count using my hand. I use American Sign Language to count to 10 because it only requires 1 hand. The kids love it, and I don't have to strain my voice to count!

Behavior Management:
Class Dojo is a great behavior management tool that works whether you have a voice or not! Some things I love particularly when I don't have a voice are;
                           It gives a noise when you give or take away a point which reminds the kids about 
                           their behavior.
                           I can display it on the ActivBoard so students can monitor how they are doing.
                           I can give or take points on my ipad and it shows up on the active board.
                           One thing I love, whether I have a voice or not, is that when I'm teaching, Class 
                           Dojo is not up on my board, but will still make a noise when I give or take points
                           Students  have no idea who I am giving or taking points from, but they automatically
                           begin self monitoring their behavior!

When you don't have a voice it's a great time to use peer tutors. I love using peer tutors often anyway, but it comes in handy to let them help me "teach" their neighbor the concepts!

These are just a few ways that might be able to help you! Don't forget to drink lots of hot tea! Do you have any hacks that help you get through a few days with no voice?


  1. This exact scenario happened to me a few weeks ago. I had a terrible cold and lost my voice completely. Your suggestions are pretty much how I survived, with just a few differences. I did let a couple of my more talkative students serve as my announcers. I would whisper the instructions to them or write them out and they would share with the rest of the class.

    Losing your voice as a teacher is definitely a test of how well you have taught routines and expectations!

  2. I had this happen the first two weeks of my solo student teaching. It was a bear!


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