There have been days I have come home from a long day at work and my lerve muffin has reminded me to stop using my teacher voice with him.
I never mean to use it, but occasionally it leaks out in my free time.
Sometimes it's good.
Sometimes it's not so good.
It just sort of depends on the day I've had at the building.
Each teacher has their own individual teaching styles and how they run their classrooms. And each teacher has their own "teacher voice" that is their standard mode of communication with their students. I've taught with a lot of teachers in various locations over the years, and I've come to recognize certain types of voices that can be heard in each and every school building:
Some teachers have Very Nice teacher voices. They encourage their children with genuine excitement about their lessons. They listen very attentively to the stories their students share with them, and always seem to know just what to say to the students who are having a bad day. They are the kind of folks that are just nice to be around. They are encouraging and positive. I have been so fortunate to know some of these good souls.
There are also some teachers with Voices That Make Their Children Stop Dead In Their Tracks. These teachers never seem to have to yell at their students. Their voices command authority and respect. I am amazed at these people for they surely have a gift. I swear they are the child-whisperers in the buildings and even I have been hesitant to cross the strong and quiet teachers.
Then there are the teachers who are the Life of the Party. They are loud and boisterous and always seem to be having a great time. They are usually pretty funny and their children worship the ground they walk on. Sometimes their rooms look like a tornado of activity, but man, do they have a good time while learning.
I've always been mystified by the Hippie Teachers. These teachers love their kids, they love the planet, they love their class pets, and they are always cool, calm, and collected when speaking to their students. Things seem to just roll off their backs and they always seem to be on an even keel. And when they speak, their students just seem to calm down with them, too. My dad used to refer to this as the Mr. Rogers' voice:
I'm all ready feeling better, aren't you?
Some of the teachers are they types who Have Lost Their Voices in the Classroom. Their directions and instructions are lost in the sea of children who are doing everything but listening to their teacher. These teachers are seen wringing hands and sometimes are doing their very best to control the circus of activity. They are often very sweet, but they have been run over by their kids.
There are the Bully Teachers. They tend to want to sass back to their students, get all up in their kids' faces, and always want to have the last word. They have no problem telling their children off in a mean and derogatory manner. It's not fun to be on the receiving end of these voices. Or to have to listen to them.
And finally, there are the Screamers and the Yellers. These are usually everyone's least favorite voices within the building. These people are screeching and squawking at their children almost the entire day, every day, every week, every month, all year. They often slap things down on their desks or slam doors shut and huff and puff and make a scene. After a while the shock factor wears off and the children tune out the excessive noise that their teachers are creating.
I will be the first to admit that most seasoned teachers will find that they fit into more than one of the above categories from time to time. We all have our good and bad days, and I think it takes some time to really discover who you are in the classroom and what style of voice best suits you. I know my best classes are the days I choose to demonstrate the behavior I want to see from my students. If I'm calm, assertive, and warm towards my kids, the majority of them will return the favor. And those few knuckleheads who always want to cause some issues? Even the meanest kids can't ignore a teacher who give them sincere (and deserved) compliments or a "how's it going?"
So, my dear folks who work with the students? Let's decide now that Friday is going to be a good day. Let's decide right now that we want our teacher voices to be the ones that make a difference.
And you never know--your voice might be the only encouraging one that kids hears all day.
Love and smooches,
Mrs. Mama A.