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Ironically, I was recently reading an article about teachers who battle severe career-ending vocal problems such as polyps or nodes. The goal of the Voice Academy is to "develop an outreach for the hard-working voices of schoolteachers...based on compelling research showing a high incidence of voice problems in the profession."
It is believed that 7.5 million people have diseases or disorders of the voice. Teachers are a whopping 32 times more likely to report voice difficulties than people in other professions. This is according to a recent study. Isn't this unfortunate in a profession where communication between you and your students is absolutely key?
One of the first features of the site is the interactive quiz entitled "Are you in the vocal danger zone?" Luckily, after answering questions about my vocal habits on and off the job, water/caffeine intake, and alcohol/tobacco use, I received this personal assessment:
"You are one of those lucky people with a "robust larynx" that is naturally well-suited to meet the high vocal demands of teaching. Your lifestyle habits also keep your voice in tiptop shape."
Also informative and enjoyable on this site is the virtual tour of the "school" where you can be introduced to such vocal pitfalls as thin pane windows, lack of drapes to deaden sounds, hard surfaces creating echoes, concrete block walls and hard surfaced floors bouncing sounds around teh room, and the deadliest enemy of the teacher's voice: the open pod design classroom!
There is also a plan for either a 50 (or 5!) minute in-service on teacher's vocal health, usable to educate either yourself or your entire staff.
Another great element to this site is that it is FREE, purely informational, and they are not trying to sell you a thing! The site is maintained by The National Center for Voice and Speech and supported by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa.
Even if you are not experiencing vocal difficulties, this is a terrific resource for educating yourself on maintaining a healthy voice for teaching and singing.