Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teaching without a voice

I've had some nasty colds before, and undergone vocal fatigue, have always been fortunate enough to keep at least some semblance of a voice through it all. This morning, I woke up without a voice. My options were piannisimo croaking, if I tried to talk normally, or whispering.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize my lack of a voice until I got to school. I hadn't had occasion to speak with anybody until I set foot on campus. The high school principal wished me good morning and as I attempted to reply, I found that I was incapable. There was a momentary rush of panic as I tried to evaluate what this would mean for my teaching that day. The principal wished me luck and I dashed off to make some copies for class (which was 20 minutes away at that point).

I ended up using the data projector in the classroom to display my laptop on the screen, opening up a blank Word document and typing instructions to the students. It worked out all right, and there was certainly some novelty to the whole thing. I was able to have a little bit of fun with the format (changing fonts, underlining/italicizing things I'd already said to emphasize my point or respond to students who asked me to 'repeat' something). I did learn that sarcasm doesn't translate in print very well... especially not in a cultural environment where sarcasm is fairly rare to begin with.

All in all, it was a good day. However, the novelty was wearing off by the end, and I don't know if I can put up with another day of typing in front of the class. I am hoping my voice comes back...

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