I’ve been learning about voice amplification systems this past week and have written two posts about them, one from the parents/students perspective and one from the educator’s perspective. I’ve had the pleasure of being on both of those sides and felt credible enough to write about them.
It occurred to me that while I touched upon the students, their parents and a teacher’s interest in voice amplification, I didn’t really discuss the bigger picture, the school itself! And by school, I mean the the principals.
Teachers are expected to make magic happen.
Parents give teachers their children to mold, shape and educate. Often, parents expect teachers to turn their angelic blank slates into masterpieces.
Students look to their teachers for answers to nearly everything. Why the sky is blue, where babies come from, what makes a pig oink and why Santa Claus didn’t bring them a drum set.
Principals expect their teachers to show up day after day with a smile on their face and encouragement in their voices. They expect their teachers to be filled with creative ideas, compassion, and endless patience. And finally, they expect their teachers to turn more and more of those little cherubs into geniuses each year (classroom sizes are increasing but teachers are not).
Have you ever observed an elementary classroom?
The principal does! On any given day, the principal gets to see the super cute classrooms with their little chairs and colorful tables. He/she observes the little cherubs waiting, like sponges, to absorb information. He/she notices that more than half of them are competing for the teacher’s attention. He/she also notices that at any given time, many of these sweet little children check out and start doing their own thing. He/she is fully aware of the ambient and environmental noise occurring while the teacher is trying to work through the lesson. He/she sees first hand, that the kids who are close to the teacher are more likely to pay attention and be engaged while the others are almost always disengaged and/or confused.
Have you observed a middle-school classroom?
Again, the principal gets this chance and, for the most part, checks in from time to time to stay visible to the impressionable teens and pre-teens in the classes. When he/she walks in, the first thing that stands out is the amount of conversations going on. Group work is common in this age group and the level of noise is sometimes stifling. Also common in this age group is the student’s need to identify and/or validate him/herself, and this is often done during class time. The principal knows the teacher is managing the chaos but does so at his/her own expense with a raised voice and constantly repeating him/herself. The principal worries when he/she sees that many students “check out” because noise levels make it difficult to hear and, in reality, the teacher is unlikely to notice due to his/her own activities at the time. He/she also worries about lost time because of the many “do overs” but trusts the teaching staff will do the best they can to keep the lesson, and time, on track.
Have you been allowed in a high school classroom?
High schoolers would deplore their parents showing their faces in the classrooms but alas, they have to allow the principal in! And in the principal goes, just to irritate the teenager, I’m sure! Depending on the subject, the principal may notice lots of group work, a lecture, individual reading and classwork, or facilitated discussions. The students don’t necessarily compete for the teacher’s attention but instead, have to compete for their classmates attention, often while someone from another group is doing the same thing. The principal notices that nearly all students spend their time filtering out the noise from other tables. When the teacher does speak, he/she has to rise above the noise and try to regroup the class as a whole; strategies range from yelling, whistling or otherwise creating a startling distraction to refocus the students.Tension is at a strange level – it often vacillates between neutral or laid back to alert and suspenseful.
The principals in these schools are surprised by any of their observations; it is simply the way education has evolved.
He/she is painfully aware of the below outcomes:
The great news is this: the principal can improve these outcomes with one simple solution: voice amplification.
Voice Amplification is truly plug and play stuff! It doesn’t need special training, it doesn’t need special programming, and it doesn’t need structural modification. It is simple, practical and will have IMMEDIATE impact.
The principal who invests in voice amplification immediately enjoys the following outcomes:
The students can hear better, meaning they can learn more. The teachers can speak conversationally, meaning they can save their sanity and their voices. The parents are pleased because their little cherubs are coming home smarter than when they left that morning. 🙂 And the principals are thrilled because their performance outcomes are increasing and their teachers are staying put!
Voice amplification…it so simple yet to profound. Let’s do it!