How important is vocal health in primary teaching?
Vocal health is something not often spoken about within primary teaching. However, the more research done into the benefits of protecting vocal health has an overwhelming impression on the potential positive impact vocal protection can have amongst primary educators.
Primary teachers are required to speak for a lengthy period of time on a daily basis. Not only that but they have to regularly project their voices to be heard by a potentially large classroom. Without the proper training in place to educate teachers on how to protect their voices they may start to experience ‘vocal strain’ otherwise known as Muscle Tension Dysphonia.
Common symptoms of vocal strain can be:
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms it could be due to vocal strain. Primary teachers commonly display a variety of these symptoms on a regular basis, so what can be done to protect their voices?
Drink water on a regular basis and keep your vocal folds hydrated. Dry throat and hoarseness in the voice can be caused by consistent friction in the vocal folds so it’s particularly crucial to keep them regularly lubricated.
Practice Good Breathing
Breathing is how we power and support our voices. By practising breathing into our diaphragms we can relieve stress on the vocal folds making it easier to project comfortably.
Rest Your Voice
When you feel like your voice is tired, be aware of this and make a conscious decision to practice vocal rest. This includes not speaking, whispering, shouting for a period of time. This could even be for 20 minutes, but you should start to see results in your vocal stamina the more often you try it.
Primary teachers may depend on coffee to get them through the dreaded early starts, but they’re actually dehydrating themselves and in turn leading to damaging their voices. So try to stick to water whenever possible! This will do wonders for your vocal health!