Reply To: Vocal Chord Fatigue
Try to take it easy (haha) and use alternate means of communicating instead of your voice. Use clapping or instruments to get the kids quiet; other students to model what sound I’m looking for when singing, and such.
Think about breathing correctly and projecting your voice. With my choir I do warm up exercises and occasionally I am surprised at how good that feels. That feeling reminded me that during classes I forget to breathe deeply and focus my sound. Vocal warm ups at the start of the day are a good idea (though I’ll be honest, I’ve never done that).
Another thing I use is herbal tea. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea is all natural. Caffeine can irritate your throat (and milk products are not good for vocal health, either). Make sure you’re steering clear of soda while teaching, or it could further irritate your vocal cords. Stick to water (I put a little juice in my water for flavor; lemon juice is best, but anything helps) while teaching.
Another thing I aim to do when I feel my voice getting tired is pop a cough drop. This is another laughable idea, since teachers talk soo much, but in my first few years teaching taking a cough drop during classes reminded me to talk less (the idea of students will learn more from each other if we simply guide them). And sucking on something calmed me down when I was getting on edge over behavior (it took a few years to acclimate to the inner-city!). I still keep a supply of cough drops in my work bag. I use them mostly in the winter time when the air is very dry. During staff meetings I pop one or two in place of drinking water! At the end of the day, vocal rest is an important factor to vocal health. Providing you don’t have a big rehearsal or performance, take a “mental health” day when you feel your voice strength waning. So long as you don’t abuse your days off, this is perfectly reasonable.
Surviving without amplification is definitely possible. Good luck!