Thursday, March 16, 2006

2284 Why teachers have more voice problems

When I was browsing the internet looking for vocal warm-ups and singing tips, I came across the Voice Academy which is for teachers. It is sponsored by the University of Iowa. Here's why teachers have so many problems. When you think about everything from the environment and acoustics of the classroom to the illnesses of the children, it makes a lot of sense.

1. Teachers simply use their voices more each day than most other professionals.
2. Teachers get little recovery time - typically working five days a week with only two-day weekends to rest. Personal and sick days are few and far between.
3. They are constantly exposed to students with sniffles and sore throats. Viruses and other upper respiratory episodes usually wreak havoc on the voice.
4. More children are hard of hearing as compared to previous generations. [Do you suppose it's their music?]
5. Environmental conditions. In particular, chemistry, art and industrial education teachers are exposed to irritating fumes. Chalk dust, dusty ventilation systems, low humidity, or molds can all contribute to vocal tissue irritation and difficulty voicing.
6. Many classrooms have poor acoustics.
7. About 75 percent of all teachers are female. Since women usually speak at a higher pitch, their vocal folds collide more times each day than those of men.
8. Teachers probably haven't been taught healthy ways of speaking. Knowledge of optimal voice use from disciplines such as speech-language pathology hasn't crossed over to the field of education. Also, when teachers have a voice problem, they may be unsure how to seek help.

There's some really interesting information at this website.

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