Stop thinking of volume as static. Volume exists relative to the ambient sound surrounding it. In this case, the relatively loud ambient sound generated by a crowd of dismissed students, idling cars, buzzing social media updates, cause a shout to get noticed barely more than a whisper during a silent, state-testing situation.
For success in manipulating volume to the maximal potential, it is critical that you separate volume as a tool (whether loud or soft), from any emotional attachment to volume. Volume does not mean you are angry or excited. You use volume in any way that helps students to learn and to be safe. Choosing what volume to use should be pragmatic, purposeful, and focused on solving the problem.
Volume also has nothing to do with strength. Strong teachers are not louder than weak teachers. Stop thinking of volume and strength as items that are part of a teaching identity. As a matter of fact, later we will discuss the uselessness of any single teaching identity, and especially of any teaching identity linked to your personality, and therefore, your ego. I certainly hope no one cares whether they’re known as a loud or soft teacher. Instead, why not aim to be known as an effective teacher, or a teacher whose classroom is always in control? Strong teachers use the volume that will most effectively share the message they’re trying to send. Weak teachers feel locked into a volume, or attach the volume of their voice to their identity or emotions. Don’t be the latter.
Screaming is not universally wrong. A teacher who screams is not necessarily a level 1 screamer. Screaming does not mean you’re mean. Screaming is a tool. With that in mind, screaming is a tool which should not be used regularly -- it is a specialty tool with very specific applications and limitations. A closer examination of level 2 talkers might make the purposeful application of volume as a teaching tool even clearer.
It is equally important to remember why screaming is NOT the most effective method of classroom management. it is, in fact, the least effective method. In order to share the ways that screaming should NOT be employed, please read the following anecdote.
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So much of the writing published about education is published by people who don't teach. I figured it was time for a teacher to write about teaching. I've been proud to teach 8th-grade ELA in Dunkirk City Schools since 2007, and to serve at Fredonia State University as an adjunct professor, teaching educational technology since 2017.