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Voice / Throat help! Advice for an NQT needed

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by carolinajane, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I'm an NQT and suffering from slight voice /
    throat problems with continued voice projection and over use on parents
    evenings etc.
    I only lost my voice / had an infection once
    during my PGCE year, but since starting my full time job in september in
    a school where the behaviour is less than ideal, i'm feeling that my
    throat is suffering.
    On advice from an acting friend I've lowered
    my tone, and try to use power from my chest -which I find doesn't come
    naturally-, but I'm wondering if there are any techniques or practices
    or other tips that people can offer.
    Also, if anyone has obtained any voice coaching / training which has been successful in the london area.
    I'd appreciate any advice!
    Thanks, Caroline
  2. Try to see a speech therapist, they have advice and techniques which would help you. Not sure how it is organised in England, but in Scotland you can be referred through your GP. I am sure there are also private therapists available - contact the Royal College of Speech & Language therapists.
  3. Another thought - there is very likely a speech and language therapist who visits your school, find out who it is and ask for advice!
  4. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Pink Flip Flop will be along shortly. She's the expert and a keen advocate of teachers taking care of their voices I think she missed her calling as a vocal coach.
    For my part, use your voice more cleverly. Never shout, but project your voice from your diaphragm. Consciously speak in a deeper tone of voice when you want to tell children off; speak slowly and calmy, never shout.
    Avoid talking too much in lessons. Use other ways of communicating, for instance if you want them to be quiet after working in groups (when the noice level is quite high). Raise your hand, use a timer on the board, use an instrument....
    Do NOT go to work if you are losing your voice/have lost it. You'll think you'll be able to rest it by not talking/using the whiteboard for instruction etc, but you won't be able to resist. Stay at home and recover. Once you've damaged your voice, you'll struggle forever. Trust me, I know from personal experience.

    Eva x x x
  5. ljr

    ljr New commenter

    I don't know the answer, but I can only echo Eva's comment - I carried on working with a very sore throat & no voice in my early years of teaching, and I have suffered voice problems throughout my career.
  6. My advice would be to go to a voice specialist, it sounds as if there is a problem with vocal stamina which could be for a multitude of reasons. There are various techniques and practitioners that might be of help such as Alexander Technique, Estill method etc. If you search for either of the 2 you will be able to find a teacher in your area, both are accessible and very relevant for teachers and will look at sound production and relaxation so as not to overstrain the vocal folds.
    You may have damaged something unknowingly but a good voice practitioner would be able to pick up on this and advise on any action.
  7. Estill


    Alexander technique


    I'm yet to meet someone who hasn't studied one of the above that doesn't swear by it!
  8. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I couldn't agree more with Eva. You get one set of vocal cords and damage to them is extremely difficult to repair.
    One of my colleagues had singing lessons to help her with her voice projection; that might be worth a try. I had speech therapy for a while after I lost my voice - I paid privately whilst waiting for the NHS version to start. It might be worth your looking into that.
    For voice protection:
    • avoid alcohol and caffeine - they dry everything out
    • avoid dairy - it clags everything up
    • avoid spicy food
    • drink pineapple juice for the good enzymes
    • never ever ever use throat sweets or the like
    • don't shout and don't whisper

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