“Wow, I was using my teacher voice. I actually missed that.”
I couldn’t believe that was a thought from my own brain. Yet, there is was. Even more shocking… it was true. I really had enjoyed using my teacher voice.
This teacher voice, however, was not the stereotypical one my students aren’t supposed to make me use.
Oh, I have that one, too.
Then the realization dawned… I have more than one teacher voice.
And so do my teacher friends. I have heard many, many teacher voices coming from down the hall and in my own classroom.
There is the teacher voice that yells above a noisy classroom.
A teacher voice that quietly talks to a student about their struggles at the teacher desk.
The teacher voice that is raised in anger.
The teacher voice that is upbeat and cheerful.
A teacher voice that is firm in discipline.
The teacher voice dripping in sarcasm and bordering on disrespect.
A teacher voice that almost sounds like singing – lilting and lyrical.
A teacher voice that is smiling.
A teacher voice that is sad.
The teacher voice that is tired and discouraged.
I’ll admit it. I’ve too often used the wrong teacher voice. My students got an exasperated voice when they needed a patient one. I taught about main idea and details (for the 500th time) with a tired voice when my students needed interest and energy.
Some days I may feel like Charlie Brown’s teacher projecting wordless, almost intonation-less mumbling in front of a classroom, but in actuality my students hear what I say. Maybe more importantly, they hear how I say it.
School’s out for the summer, so I’m looking forward to the next year. One goal is to own my teacher voice (all of them) and make conscious efforts to use the one my students need… and leave behind the one they don’t. Do I think I will always succeed? No, but there is the grace of transparency and admitting when I’ve used the wrong voice. When I talk to my students about my voice, they understand their own.
Self-controlled. Lyrical. Firm. Smiling. Sad. Respectful. Laughing. Clear. Strict.