Monday, September 1, 2008

Back to work

Today was my first day at work in seven weeks. It's a long time to be off work but I'm not sure it was long enough.

Today I taught a total of 1-1/2 hours with an hour break after the first 1/2 hour. It didn't seem to matter. Within 20 minutes, my voice was shot. By the end of the day it was little more than a whisper. It's incredibly frustrating and worrying. I find myself getting irritated at not being able to speak properly and I try to force it. Of course that's the worst thing I can do. I am usually a very patient and accepting person but this has worn all my patience away. I want results and I'm getting totally sick of the one-step-forward-two-steps-back that's been happening so far.

The best thing is that with speech therapy, the exercises I do help my voice to recover fairly quickly, but there's no way anyone could call it strong.

I have another hour teaching tomorrow so I'll see how I go. I'll be ringing the speech therapist after that to give her an update on my progress - we might need to rethink my presence in the classroom.

And I should mention my year 9 class was absolutely gorgeous. They were so interested in what's been happening to me and sympathetic about it. They thought the amplifier I have to wear to be heard at the back of the room was cute. And they were silent - all lesson - except for answering or asking questions about the work we were doing. Most of them even told me they were glad I was back. Isn't that sweet? It's times like this that remind me why I love teaching.


Danielle Ferries said...

Hope the voice is doing better today. I must make you feel a little warm and fuzzy inside to know that at least your students missed you and didn't great you with a giant sigh and mumble "She'
s back". That's got to be something.

glediar said...

Yeah, I don't have a problem with the kids. Believe it or not I actually like teenagers. I can count on one hand the number of teenagers who've caused me real problems in the last 28 years. The rest really want to be good people, even if they don't know how or have things happening in their lives that prevent them doing it.

Unfortunately I only lasted two days. I'm off work again for the rest of the week and now, after a whole day without teaching, my voice is only just beginning to come back again. It's so frustrating - which makes it all worse.

Jim Harris said...

This must be very frustrating for you. I don't have your problem, but I've discovered I do have a voice problem. I've been taking more photographs at work for the web pages and quite often now I've had to take group shots and I've discovered I can't talk loud enough to manage a group. Even a small group of 15 people will all start talking when you're trying to get them together to snap their picture, and I can't talk loud enough to get them to hush up or direct them.

I have to get someone else to be my speaker to wrangle the people. I wished I had a bullhorn. I've taken some class shots with teachers that have voices that just demand attention. It's amazing. I never knew I was so soft-spoken. I don't think I could ever be a teacher.

When I try to talk loud my voice just caves in. It's weird.

How does your amplifier work? And what do the doctors say is the physical reason why your voice fails?

glediar said...

The condition I have is called 'muscle tension dysphonia'. Basically all the muscles in my neck and shoulders push in against my vocal foles (sp?) and stop them working properly. They don't close together properly and air escapes, which means no noise comes out. It's caused from excessive use without enough effective relaxation in between uses.

Lauren also has the same thing. She works two jobs that both require a lot of talking and talking over background noise. Her voice recovers when she has a day off but within a couple of hours at work she has no voice again.

I'm due at work in an hour. My voice was fine last night but I can already feel everything tightening up in my throat. There's so much to do just to catch up, it's daunting. Worrying about it also increases the stress levels - all I have to do these days is think about going to work and I lose my voice. It's irritating that I can't control that.

glediar said...

I've learned that loud voices come from the stomach (or diaphram if you can activate it individually), if they're going to work well. It's not an easy thing to control. Not being able to be loud isn't so much a problem for me - I just clap my hands to get their attention. They have to remember their manners and listen to me when I talk.

The amplifier is a simple microphone strapped around my neck connected a battery operated amplifier around my waist. It has a volume control but I can't bend over if I'm using it as there's too much feedback. Makes it difficult to check things on my table or give individual instructions to kids. Still it's better than having to project my voice.

Danielle Ferries said...

Sorry to hear the voice is gone again. If its any consolation mine is gone as well at the moment, although mine for a different reason as I'm sick, but I can sympathise. I've been off work since last Wednesday and am still a little woozy on my feet now.

Danielle Ferries said...


Sorry :)