Thursday, September 29, 2016

Reflections on Teaching Without a Voice

I have mostly recovered from the surgery I had a couple of weeks ago, but this week I developed a cold and lost my voice.  It's challenging to teach without a voice, but I have managed to make it to Thursday.  In the process, I came to the following conclusions:

1.  I have excellent students.  It's amazing to me how cooperative they have been.  One seventh grader offered to teach the class, and while I didn't take her up on that, I appreciated her concern for me.  I have been putting up slides with instructions to save my voice, and they have, for the most part, rolled with it.  Last year I had an unusually great crop of kids, too, so sometimes I forget this is not always the case.  In fact, there's something about me being quiet that occasionally caused them to be quieter than usual this week, but that didn't work all the time.  (If it did, I'd just whisper from here on out.)

2.  I have done a good job in training my kids on the classroom routines.  My classes have some predictable things, things we do every day.  Sometimes I find myself reminding kids of procedures in April, but this year the students really seem to know what to expect.  They won't let me skip the Word of the Day, at least not without pointing out my mistake to me.  And it feels as though the class momentum keeps moving even when I'm not at my best.

3.  I am not the star in my classroom.  The kids are.  It's not at all a bad thing to hear less of my voice and more of theirs.  They need me to guide, but not to get there for them.  They learn to read by reading, and to write by writing.  Yes, my students need pointers and help from me, an experienced reader and writer, but there are plenty of days when I talk entirely too much.  This week I couldn't do that!

(Here are some of my students doing silent reading today.  I have some much better pictures of the ones who were lying on the floor and reading in comfort, but those show the students' faces, which I don't want to do on the internet without their knowledge and permission.)

4.  On the other hand, I really miss reading aloud.  It's one of my favorite things to do, and I always have a read-aloud going in both 7th and 8th grade.  (Right now we're reading Gary D. Schmidt at both levels: The Wednesday Wars in 7th and Trouble in 8th.)  I'm looking forward to getting back to the books, and judging by the kids' comments this week, so are they!

1 comment:

SW said...

You teach much better without your voice than most teachers do with their voices! So glad the students are responding well to the excellent instruction! Hang in there and get better soon!