As part of Sophie’s new ability to “share”, she happily passed on one aspect of her illness this week.
And unfortunately for me, it affected the main thing I need in order to do my job properly…
For when you’re a teacher, your key weapon is your voice.
Without it, you are left defenceless.
Particularly on a Parents Evening week!
It happened rather suddenly about halfway through Monday morning. I’d never experienced this before but without warning I felt a tickle in the back of my throat and my ability to communicate began to fade.
It was bizarre.
My class watched on in amused horror as their previously vocally independent teacher was stripped of his power.
Their offers of alternative forms weren’t much use either. Sign language? Well I can do thank you, butterfly and crocodile thanks to Sophie, but not sure they will be that useful. Mime and gesticulation? Potentially problematic and open to hilarious misinterpretation. Whispering? A bit creepy.
I’d have to go with it.
My plan was to rest it on Monday evening but with Sophie in hospital it was my job to tell the doctors what had been happening with her as well as try to cajole her to sleep through a mixture of croaky instructions and cracked singing.
I then spent Tuesday at the hospital with her, in theory having the chance to rest my voice ahead of the evenings parent consultations. In practice, I was entertainer, health professional and parent all rolled into one as I tried to help her cope with being on the ward.
Apprehensive, I got back to school about three o’clock. Colleagues greeted me warmly; “No offence but you look awful!” and I braced myself for two and a half hours worth of non stop talking.
Fair to say I wasn’t feeling too flash about it.
However, as my voice resuscitated itself to one step above a whisper, the Parents Evening actually went well. Apologising for my voice, drinking lots of water and borrowing some throat sweets from my lifesaver of a colleague got me through. Even the last one was OK when my voice had just about packed in and had slowed to a breathy whisper (sexy and husky not quite what I was able to accomplish) and I was finished by ten past eight.
However, with it only being Tuesday, I had three full days of teaching and another Parents Evening to come before resting it was a genuine prospect.
Still, at least it gave my family (and my class!) a bit of peace for a change.