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Protect the voice

No teacher can be effective without paying close attention to the use of the voice, so spending time in learning how to speak effectively is vitally important. Care of the voice should be made a priority, as many problems are caused through inappropriate use that results in strain and tension. At the start of each day, it is important to exercise the lungs by spending a minute breathing slowly but steadily through the nostrils in a reasonably warm environment, holding the breath down in the lungs, and exhaling steadily through the mouth. Humming a popular tune, singing it to ‘la’ and practising speaking a short poem or rhyme (such as Peter Piper) that requires the free use of lips and tongue, also assists the warm-up process. Training yourself to speak in the middle register to avoid using a high pitch or whispering reduces strain on the voice. Consequently, control strategies that involve shouting, screeching or growling at children must be avoided for your own sake, let alone theirs.