Do you need help with your voice?

As a teacher, your voice is one of the most powerful tools you possess to educate and communicate with your students.

If you’re struggling with a lost voice or voice issue, it can both undermine your position in the classroom, as well as lead to extra stress, frustration and even pain at getting yourself heard and understood.

The nature of teaching means that you’re frequently projecting your voice beyond normal conversational levels, which can cause strain for untrained voices. So it’s not surprising that teachers are an at-risk group for voice problems. A study by Voice Care UK found that teachers are eight times more likely to suffer from voice-related illness than those in other professions, and in a study by Greenwich University, a staggering 50% of all ECTs suffered voice loss within their first year of teaching.

Against this backdrop, it’s easy to view voice problems as inevitable, but this is not the case. It’s not par for the course to suffer with occasional voice loss, nor one of the unavoidable downsides of the job that you should simply accept.  And it is certainly something that can be prevented in the future.

Regular voice problems can cause stress beyond the immediate confines of the classroom, too. Lost teaching days and disruptions to learning may make you worry that it’s damaging your career prospects. You may even start to question whether you’re cut out for teaching at all. 

What causes voice problems?

There are many contributing factors to voice problems. Factors common to classroom settings such as poor acoustics or delivering lessons against background noise can put your voice under extra strain as you’re more likely to resort to shouting. Add the stress on the untrained voice of delivering to large groups and it is perhaps unsurprising that teachers make up approximately 20% of all Speech and Language Therapy client lists in the UK.

Environmental factors

  • smoking and smoky atmospheres
  • dry and dusty atmospheres – using a humidifier at home and in the classroom can help combat this
  • chemical fumes – make sure the classroom is well-ventilated
  • extreme and sudden changes in temperature

Personal factors

  • breathing continually through your mouth
  • habitual throat clearing, which can irritate the throat and create more mucus; try sipping water and swallowing instead
  • using strong cough sweets and medicated lozenges that contain menthol
  • using medications that have a drying effect, such as antihistamines and decongestants

Dietary choices

  • hot, spicy foods and very hot drinks
  • too much milk and other dairy products – they can produce thicker mucus
  • eating late at night as it can cause reflux, which can damage your voice 
  • alcohol and caffeinated drinks (coffee, black teas and fizzy drinks) which can be dehydrating. Don’t let them be the only thing you drink to quench your thirst. Drink water as well.

Here’s how we can help

Our 5voices training has helped thousands of teachers use their voices effectively to avoid voice issues, manage their classrooms, engage their students and deliver improved learning outcomes.

Identifying and learning to execute different tones of voice

Create an effective teaching and learning environment

Don’t let voice issues slow you down or harm your career

A career in teaching can be hugely rewarding. But niggling health issues such as voice loss and throat pain can make teaching difficult.  And when you can’t teach because you can’t speak well enough to be heard properly by your students, it’s hardly surprising that many teachers worry about the impact their voice health – or lack thereof – may have on their teaching careers.

But you needn’t accept voice problems as an inevitability. By learning how to use your five voices effectively, develop and protect your voice with vocal exercises and care for your voice with soothing practices, it will help propel you in your career, rather than hold you back.

By reducing lost teaching days through absence and maximising your effectiveness in the classroom, you can ensure that you’re always able to give your best when teaching, and truly engage and motivate your students to achieve better learning outcomes.  

Our 5voices methodology reveals how the five main voices for effective teaching can help teachers:

  • Communicate more effectively with pupils and colleagues
  • Effectively manage classroom behaviour
  • Avoid absences due to sore throats and voice loss
  • Increase pupils’ processing of information
  • Develop understanding of vocal skills

Book an appointment with one of our colleagues today.

Our 5voices training helps teachers, lecturers and professionals avoid common voice issues and use their voices to command the attention of even the busiest lecture theatre.

Self-Analysis Voice Test

You will need to be able to use your voice at a professional skills level in order to communicate effectively in the classroom.  Read and consider the following statements.  Mark each statement yes or no according to your view of your voice.

To do...