As teachers, we’re well aware that our voices have power. If for some reason you are shaking your head “no” at me right now, just relax. You may not be aware of it yet, but you will discover this at some point in your career as an educator. Think of it this way, picture in your mind that ONE student who seldom misses class and can make ONE comment, just ONE, and your whole lesson is derailed, if but for a moment. One student, one comment, one moment. There’s power in one voice.
Now I want you to flip that scenario around. This post isn’t going to tell you how to handle that ONE student. Nope. Not happening here. I want to show you ONE way you can use YOUR voice. This post is about making YOUR voice be the ONE with power.
Let’s talk substitute days. I hate hate hate hate to miss school. It is generally easier to go to school when I’m sick than it is to prepare for a sub to handle what I need to do for my students that day.
I’m not overly fond of my picture either. I don’t consider myself photogenic, and I don’t really want to video myself when I am sick in order to “be there” with my students. I’m in a 1:1 classroom with Chromebooks, so I use Google Classroom, and I post their assignments there. I also let the sub know what the assignment is that I have posted, so he or she can monitor them throughout the class period. Inevitably, I leave the dreaded (by me at least because I’m thorough and it takes forever for me to write them) “sub notes,” which my sub reads either reads privately and then verbally directs the class, or he or she my simply read sections of my notes to the class, or as I’ve had on a few occasions, the sub reads my entire notes to the class.
Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten that we’re discussing the power of YOUR voice today. Your voice, my voice, and the voices of teachers everywhere. Though I hate to be absent from my classroom, I am sometimes. It’s inevitable. And because I have missed class before, I’ve learned that my high school students do not read directions posted in Classroom. They want someone to tell them what to do. Some just want to get started, dive in, and maybe they think the magic classroom elves will lead them through the assignment. At least one group of students will ask the sub what they’re supposed to do. Even if the sub directs them to Google Classroom, students will eventually nag the sub until my directions are now being regurgitated by the sub, in a condensed or incomplete manner. I don’t blame the subs. I have good subs who work hard.
But how do I fix this problem? Then the light went off inside my brain. I remembered a little app that I used last year in the radio class I was fortunate enough to get to create in my district and teach for one year. The app is called AVR, for Awesome Voice Recorder, and it’s made by Newkline. And yes, the version I am referring to is FREE.
I can sit in my recliner at home, record my own voice talking to my class, tell them what I need them to do for the day, make comments to individuals, and add that personal touch that typed directions in Google Classroom or to a substitute just can’t quite capture. The app then prompts me to title the audio file I just created. I can then send it directly to my Google Drive, put it in the folder of my choice, link it to the classroom assignment I created for that day. I always link it to the assignment because there will be those who are absent or want to hear the directions again, and then I also link it in my Google Doc sub plans. My sub plays MY voice, MY audio file to begin each class, so that my students get information directly from me. They get to hear ME. My VOICE. MY directions. ME.
This may seem simple. Easy. Or maybe it seems too flashy for you, to difficult, too much trouble, or not tech worthy of your skills. But let me just point out that each time I did this for my classes, I did not have confused students when I returned. They understood the assignment or the outcomes I expected from that that day.
They could not talk the sub into an alternate plan, because MY voice had filled the room with MY hopes and demands for the day. MY expectations, MY humor, and MY sadness at not being there to enjoy the day with them. Try it. You may be surprised at how easy it is, how simple, and yet how utterly effective it is at connecting YOUR voice to your students, even when you are curled up in your recliner at home.
Instructions for Using AVR for Sub Days:
- Download the app. It’s for iPhone and iPads, but there’s bound to be something similar crop up for Android, and you can also just use YouTube without actually being in front of the camera. Your sub could use it as audio and just not show the video when it’s played for the class. Voxer also would work. Thanks, @ItsMrsPenrod for the Voxer idea. 🙂
- Record your instructions. Stop recording when you are finished. If you mess up and don’t want to learn how to edit audio on another program, then just start over. If I have a lot to say, I do type it on a Google Doc before I record so that I don’t forget all my information.
- When you hit the “stop” button, it will then ask you to title the recording.
- Type in a title and click “save.”
- Click the red folder icon:
6. Click to open the top default folder:
7. Now click on the file that has the name you gave it. I named this one “delete.”
8. Select how you want get if from the app to your computer. Air drop is a nice feature as well:
9. From there you just need to put it in your Google Drive (I suggest you place it in your Classroom folder, inside the folder for whichever class you have recorded it for), get the shareable link, and link it in the Google Classroom assignment and in your sub notes. Or email it to your sub if you don’t use Google Docs or something similar for your sub notes.
Now, go discover the power of YOUR voice.