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.