I have been developing and presenting training courses for my entire career…and trust me when I say that’s a really long time.
Back in the day, I used a very large training room, butcher paper or flip chart paper (you thought I was going to say chalkboard, didn’t you?), a lectern and a permanent microphone.
I have a tad bit of energy and can rarely stand still so the lectern and microphone attached to it were rarely used because I needed to walk around while I taught. I projected my voice while training to compensate for the lack of microphone.
This doesn’t sound that bad, does it? For the most part, it wasn’t bad! I enjoyed my job, but it did have some consequences.
- I had polyps from years of abusing my vocal chords as a cheerleader, singer and bartender, but my job as a corporate trainer aggravated that condition. I ended up needing two surgeries to repair my failing chords.
- I struggled with chronic headaches on training days due to that fact I was yelling, albeit courteously, all day.
- Even though my voice was raised during the training event, I found myself repeating myself often, which had a negative effect on my mood, and my effectiveness to the students for that matter.
- Students offered numerous comments about noise problems, whether it was the echo of my raised voice, ambient noise distractions or failure to hear other students when needed.
I’d like you to imagine the similarities between me your child’s teacher.
I was teaching classes ranging from two hours to eight hours once or twice per week. Teachers are in front of their students five days a week, for up to eight hours each day.
My class size ranged from 15-30 adults who, for the most part, were courteous, didn’t interrupt, didn’t seek attention, etc. Teachers have class sizes of 20-30 students who, unfortunately, pull hair, shoot spit wads, giggle, act like clowns and/or talk out of turn all day long.
I had the ability to call a break when I needed one, get a student facilitating or the whole class discussing topics amongst themselves so I could take a miniature holiday from speaking. Teachers, especially those for young children, cannot do that.
I was lucky and used effective training rooms specifically designed for current learning environments and, while I didn’t use them, the rooms were equipped with the necessary microphones and speakers. Teachers use spaces that were built decades ago and, while they may have been designed for learning environments, are incredibly antiquated today.
My training rooms/conference spaces were in corporate areas set apart from the hub-bub of operational activity. Teachers’ rooms are side-by-side, with busy hallways, gyms and all-purpose rooms within a few feet from where the teacher is standing.
I loved, still love, my job. I believe I was put on this earth to do research, develop and present my ideas and insights to others. However, I grew to resent training days because of my voice issues, my headaches, my frustration, etc.
Teachers must be passionate about teaching…why else would they take this thankless job? But teachers are experiencing voice (vocal chord) fatigue and problems, frustration with noise levels and burnout/sick days more now than they ever have.
Comparatively speaking, I had it easy!
If teachers grow to resent teaching as much as I did, our children are all in a world of hurt!
Let’s amplify their voices!
If educators need to yell and raise their voice, putting them at risk for vocal fatigue or health issues, let us amplify their voices.
If educators have to constantly repeat themselves because students can’t hear them correctly and, therefore, are not performing at the expected level, let us amplify their voices.
If educators don’t have the luxury of giving their vocal chords a much needed break, let us amplify their voices.
If educators aren’t lucky enough to work in spaces specifically designed for today’s learning environment, let us amplify their voices.
If educators have to compete with excessive ambient and environmental noise, let us amplify their voices.
Voice amplification will help our teachers effectively teach!
Voice amplification equipment typically includes an amplifier connected to ceiling mounted or individual/desk/table mounted speakers and microphones. Some systems have wires and some use infrared or radio frequency signal technology.
Recent developments now include security alert functionality on the teacher’s pendant, enabling the office to be notified of an emergency. The speaker’s voice can be heard and recorded remotely by school administrators and emergency personnel. The latest systems also allow for connection to other audio-visual devices in the classrooms and the creation of podcasts from the lessons that are presented. That’s super cool!
- decreases the need for the teacher, trainer or educator to yell or raise his/her voice during the lesson;
- helps everyone in the space, whether it’s the student or educator, hear more accurately;
- supports better teacher-student interaction and understanding;
- encourages student participation;
- decreases chances for vocal chord damage;
- decreases frustration levels of teachers due to hearing and mental energy problems; and
- helps to decrease teacher burnout and turnover.
I am an educator, and I love the above benefits.
I bet your kid’s teachers would love them too…and I believe if teachers are happy, your kid will learn more.
Feel free to read another post, When You Can’t Be Quiet, Amplify! It is also about voice amplification but written from the students/parents’ perspective.