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Voice Care 101: Essential Tips for Educators in Thailand

Your voice, as teachers, is one of your valuable assets. You might probably lose your job if you cannot talk well anymore.

The heat, air pollution, classroom management, and your overall lifestyle contribute to the health of your voice. Taking care of your voice as a teacher in Thailand, or in any environment where you’re using your voice extensively, is crucial for maintaining good vocal health and ensuring effective communication.

Here are some practical ways to effectively maintain your vocal gem:

Stay Hydrated

Thailand’s climate can be hot and humid, which can dehydrate you quickly. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Do this by sipping a little now and then to keep your vocal cords hydrated and your throat moist.

Use Objects To Get Students’ Attention Instead of Yelling

Limit your vocal strain. Avoid yelling or speaking loudly for extended periods, especially in noisy environment. Do rhythmic claps, or use a large screen, use a stick, ruler, bell, whistle, or any object to get students’ attention instead of shouting “Be quiet!”. Most of the time, by simply being quiet makes the students wonder what’s going on thereby getting their attention.

Use A Microphone

If teaching in a large room or if your voice needs amplification, use a microphone. Students in the far row and those with hearing problems will appreciate this a lot.

Monitor Air Quality

Thailand’s air quality can sometimes be compromised due to pollution. Try to minimize exposure to smoky or polluted environment, as this can irritate your throat and affect your voice.

Avoid Vocal Irritants

Be mindful of substances that can irritate your throat, such as cigarette smoke, strong chemicals, excessive caffeine, and sweet food. Any sweet food attracts bacteria to your throat and lowers your immune system. Limit exposure to these irritants to protect your voice.

Avoid Throat Clearing

Throat clearing is when you close your mouth and make a quick and successive ‘uurrrrrrmmm’ sound. It has a similar effect as bad coughing which irritates your vocal cord. If you need to do it, do it gently. Rather than throat clearing, sip water or swallow your saliva.

Use Vocal Warm-ups

Just like athletes warming up before exercising, teachers can benefit from vocal warm-up exercises. Spend a few minutes before teaching doing simple vocal exercises to prepare your voice for the day ahead. This can be humming or singing softly.

Take Breaks

If possible, schedule short breaks throughout the day to rest your voice. Use these breaks to drink water, relax your throat muscles, and avoid continuous vocal strain.

Practice Good Posture

Maintain good posture while teaching to ensure proper airflow and vocal cord alignment. Slouching or straining your neck can put unnecessary strain on your voice.

Mindful Speaking

Be mindful of your speaking habits and voice usage throughout the day. Pace yourself, vary your vocal tone and pitch, and avoid straining your voice unnecessarily.

Practice Vocal Rest

Just like any other muscle, your vocal cords need rest to recover. Consider incorporating periods of vocal rest into your routine, especially during evenings and weekends.

Seek Professional Help

If you experience persistent voice problems or discomfort, consult a voice specialist or speech therapist for personalized advice and exercises to improve vocal health. By incorporating these practical tips into your daily routine, you can maintain good vocal health as teachers in Thailand and ensure effective communication in the classroom.

How about you, fellow Khun Kru readers, do you have any advice on how to keep our voices healthy? Which methods are more effective for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.