Thursday, October 25, 2007

Miss Brave has lost her voice

Today I lost my voice completely. I went to Dunkin' Donuts this morning (in the rain, natch) to get tea, and literally nothing came out of my mouth. I was trying to ask if they had honey, but: nada. As a result, the cashier spoke to me like I was an imbecile: "Do. You. Want. SUGAR?!" she asked, emphatically waving a sugar packet in front of my face.

So I had to improvise: Instead of doing the adjective lessons I'd planned, I showed my classes a video about Halloween (although I was careful to emphasize that not everyone celebrates Halloween and that's okay, since as one first-grader matter-of-factly informed me, it's "the devil") and asked them to write a response to it. (I actually brought along a sign: "Dear Class: Miss Brave has lost her voice! Today we will watch a video about Halloween. Then we will write: What did we learn about Halloween?" Too bad the vast majority of my students are reading below D level!)

Naturally, they produced more from this exercise than any of my carefully crafted lessons so far.

But I left school today (earlier than usual, because I'm on my way to a doctor's appointment) feeling rather downtrodden, because the metaphor here is profound and unsettling: I have, quite literally, lost my voice.

1 comment:

ms. v. said...

It sounds like you're just sick, but... my first couple of years teaching, I lost my voice almost every week. I wasn't screaming, but I was speaking a little too loudly all day every day, and stress didn't help either (now that I am aware of the problem, I can feel how tight my chest gets when I'm stressed... like the last few weeks, the problem has come back again, a bit). Yoga helped. The doctor wanted me to schedule a series of visits with a specialist who would essentially "teach me how to talk and breathe at the same time." I couldn't figure out where that was going to fit in my schedule... my friends suggested singing lessons... anyway, suffice to say I am sympathetic. Hang in there.