Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Talk Too Loud

Today, a parent complained that I talk too loud.

Never mind that the 23 little charges in my classroom never, EVER stop talking, and that my classroom reaches deafening levels as children often yell out and make noises with their voices that continually interrupt instruction. Never mind that I tell these noisy, undisciplined children at least 500 times a day to stop talking and do their work. Never mind that they continue to talk, even when I am teaching. Never mind that I have to actually yell over these 23 vociferous voices to get their attention. Never mind that this continual noise level leaves me with an intense headache at the end of every day. Never mind that parents think their little darlings should be able to do whatever they want in the classroom, including ignoring classroom and school rules, with no consequences whatsoever for their behavior.

So when I raise my voice and tell my students to put their heads down so that I can regain some semblance of order in my classroom, a parent complains because their very loud and disruptive child told her that I am too loud and it hurts his ears, and he really doesn't like laying his head down so much. (Grrr. Maybe I should start complaining to the parent that her child talks loud and incessantly, and it hurts MY ears.)

Children today have very little respect for adults. And they have virtually no self-control. It didn't use to be that way.  Lest you think this 23-year career teacher lacks classroom discipline, several teachers in my building have complained to me about the same thing happening in their classrooms. One teacher approached me during dismissal this very afternoon and said she can't believe how rude the children are. "Kids weren't perfect at my old school," she said, "But they were nothing like these." I watched her tell two girls multiple times to turn around in the line and stop talking. They completely disregarded her directions.

Children's disrespectful behavior is reinforced by parents who swoop in to rescue them from the negative consequences of their behavior. They have no incentive to be better. That in itself raises my ire.

But when the parent facilitator told me that she and the administrator "handled it" by explaining to the parent that I am loud because I am hard of hearing, it negated the role of her naughty child in this scenario. I tried not to let it bother me. But I can't stop thinking about it.

It's a put down. And I feel like the sharing of my disability with a parent without my consent is not only unethical, it is completely wrong.

So, I talk too loud in my classroom. It has little to do with my hearing loss.


  1. It is a violation because it is a medical condition and can only be shared if you give permission so your principal was WAY out of line with that comment. I have been told many times by my daughter that I talk to loud and I am sure it is because I can't regulate my voice as well as I should. Been there; happened to me; done that!

  2. I've worked with young children a few years ago so I understand how loud the children can get especially when you are hard of hearing, it's rough.

    I think you should sit down with the family facilitator and whomever the administrator is and tell them as a teacher dealing with a sudden drop in your hearing loss, that talking loud in an already loud classroom is to be expected. However, what they need to understand by law they cannot tell anyone about your hearing loss without your consent. If you are struggling to get the children to follow the rules and learning to be quiet, please do not feel bad if you need an additional staff in the room to help you keep the kids in line. You do need to take a few moments to yourself to recollect yourself mentally because loud noise can be draining especially if you are wearing hearing aids that amplifies EVERYTHING! I know as a TA I had to switch classrooms to get a break with my own hearing aids.

    I noticed when things are loud for a long time, I remain loud and don't even realize it until someone tells me to tone it down some. This is just one of the many effects of being expose to noise for a long duration of time. Most people who know me, know why I would be loud because I am coming in from a place that was extremely loud and my natural remaining hearing had to get readjusted to a quieter environment and a lower tone in my voice. Continue to advocate on your behalf and educate those at your school what to do and what not to do. It's a pain I know...I had a hearing loss since 4 and went to an all hearing school district and lets say you are up against people who just don't get it. It's exhausting.

    1. I spoke to my principal this week and he was very understanding and apologetic. He meant no harm in sharing the information, He was merely trying to calm an unhappy parent. I told him I didn't want this information shared with parents because I didn't want my professionalism and expertise diminished in any way, He's a good man and a good administrator.