Following on from my research into Vocal Health training for teachers, and due to the number of teachers I work with, it would appear that dysphonia in school teachers is country-wide and certainly not part of the core curriculum of the teacher training schemes I have so far addressed. I have observed that many of my teacher clients have already had recurring vocal problems and are unable to help themselves and therefore seek professional help. Unlike actors who have intense vocal training, teachers, who are also considered professional voice users, have no training at all and are in the highest category to be seen at voice clinics. Whilst teacher training programmes are very intense, the vital ingredient, which equips teachers with the necessary tools for dealing with sometimes a minimum of 5 hours of back-to-back and prolonged, intensive speaking in varied spaces and to varying student/teacher ratios, seems to be continually overlooked and ignored. There appear to be no specific sessions on vocal health and hygiene during teacher education courses, although students, as I understand it, will be given ongoing advice and support from the various Universities’ experienced team of lecturers and class teachers who support them on placements and on campus.
But is that enough? What about when they’ve qualified?
In my experience, once teacher trainees are out on placement, somewhat challenging situations and teaching environments are no longer case histories and theory. The placements are practical and real situations, which are daunting and stressful. Okay, so perhaps those lessons aren’t back-to-back on their placements, but if trainees aren’t given the tools to keep themselves vocally and mentally healthy, is it no wonder that many teachers leave the profession very shortly after qualifying?