When Dana Goodier invited me to be on the Out of the Trenches podcast, I almost said, “No, thanks.” This wasn’t a reflection on the podcast, just of my own anxiety. You see, a few years ago I was diagnosed with laryngeal dystonia and my brief celebration after finally getting a name for the strange things my voice has done all my life quickly became a frustrating quest to get the right treatment. There is no cure for this disease, and the most promising treatment is Botox injections in your vocal cords. These aren’t only expensive, but the right dosage varies incredibly and can result in temporary side effects like breathiness and “Minnie-Mouse” voice. Too little can mean that you just paid a lot of money to have a normal voice for 7 days, and too much can mean that you’re sidelined for 3 weeks from talking on the phone or attending raucous parties because no one can hear you.
So, I’ve been getting treatments, and sometimes my voice is great and sometimes I sound like SpongeBob, and sometimes I sound like I just spent the night before screaming at a rock concert. But I went ahead and said, “Yes,” to Dana anyway because I’m kind of done with making every decision based on the predictability of my voice quality.
Our interview was months ago, but the podcast just got posted. Of course, I had to listen to it first so I could decide if I should pretend it didn’t exist (even though odds are good someone would find it anyway) or share the link with you. Like most of you, I expect, I despise the sound of my recorded voice — even when the treatments are working — but I also felt responsible for listening to the episode because I couldn’t remember anything I’d said and I wanted to make sure I didn’t blurt out something stupid that would get me canceled.
Fortunately, my voice is not nearly as annoying as I feared, though it does break in a few parts. And I managed to not say anything super controversial, thanks to Dana being a great host who prepared me well. You can listen to the episode here if you want to judge for yourself.
Even if my particular episode isn’t your jam, Dana has a perfectly wonderful podcast voice, which you may want to listen to in one of her many other Out of the Trenches episodes. The podcast, and Dana’s book, are all about the resilience of educators. You can learn about obstacles they’ve faced and overcome, and advice they would give to others. One thing that I know I learned as a teacher (which I share during the interview) is to be less pig-headed and actually consider what experienced teachers have to say. If it wasn’t for one of those sage mentors, my teaching career would have ended after 8 years instead of 29. So, give yourself the gift of some positive, but practical, advice to drown out all of the hate that seems to be aimed at this profession right now.
By the way, though being on podcasts stresses me out, I love helping students to create them! I offering a new workshop this year for teachers of grades 6-12 called, From Script to Sound: Engaging Student Learning through Podcasting. Contact me if you’re interested! email@example.com