One of the most common workplace injuries for teachers is of the vocal folds. Teachers constantly engage in public speaking for prolonged periods of time in adverse conditions and without audio enhancement. A teacher who loses their voice permanently will find on-going employment difficult to find, however, we rarely engage in preventative activities or training to support our voices.
Fortunately there are many things that teachers can do to care for this voices in an ongoing capacity.
Try to do at least 5 minutes of warm up vocal exercises before any prolonged period of using your voice. These don’t need to be done in a 5 minute chunk – you can do 30 seconds and then another 30 seconds until you’ve warmed up your voice sufficiently. Mainly, you’re looking for exercises that vibrate, flex and stretch your vocal folds and get them ready for a big day of talking.
* The hum
* hummmmmmm – ahhhhhhh – hummmmmmmm’ – repeatedly (breath!)
* Bring the volume up and down
* You should feel a buzz in your fingers (when placed on your skull)
* The yawn
* Being to yawn then pause
* Feel the openness of your throat
* Let the yawn go (without finishing it)
* The silent giggle
* Breath in and out quietly whilst giggling
* Whilst giggle and breathing, say gently things like vowels, days of the week, numbers
* This will relax and open your throat.
TLN Podcasts has a good episode on voice care that you can download and listen to for free.
Look for episode 10 on this podcast listing: https://www.tln.org.au/Podcast