My cold of two weeks duration finally hit my larynx yesterday and left me speechless. What nose blowing, dramatic coughing, and perpetual sucking of cough drops could not do, laryngitis did.

“Mrs. Dagen, are you sick?” became the question of the day. I either heard that or “Oh, you’ve got it.” (“It” being the virus that, apparently, plagues only teachers, perhaps because we still come to school when we’re sick and thus display it–and share it. Yes, Judy and Brittany, I’m looking at you.)

I also got the occasional, “Oh! It’s so cute! You sound like a mouse,” and one, from my son, “Shush, stop talking. Your voice is so annoying” (by which I assume he meant exclusively the sound–or lack thereof–emitting from my sick larynx rather than, you know, my “momspeak.”)

My tender, compassionate students–instead of taking advantage of my inability to speak much (because, of course, I tried)–did not take advantage of the situation. Instead, they got quiet, even moved closer, so they could hear what I was saying. (Yes, I am the new E.F. Hutton.) I asked a few to help me by reading or going over material with the class; some offered–even pleaded–for me to allow them to teach.

I gladly used them–and liberally offered merits all around–and thought it was a great day of teaching. My students rose to the occasion, and I was wowed by their rising.

All went according to lesson plan, until the last class of the day, when I teach a mix of middle school students grammar. By then, speaking was out of the question, and one of the students led the others in some activities to practice pronouns. She was creative and commanding (one student asked if she had the power to write demerits), but I figured half way through that we could just spend the rest of the hour on the playground.

On the playground, the students spread everywhere–far from my voice’s reach. If you can imagine groups of students in various activities on a playground, and then a group of three boys pegging each other with balls, threatening everyone in the vicinity with their wildness…

Let’s just say teaching in a classroom without a voice is a better idea.

I learned a lot yesterday. I need to buy a whistle.

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