Posted by: nastypen | June 21, 2007

First Casualty

Something has always got to give.

I can’t talk right now. My throat just gave up on me this afternoon. The first two weeks in class are not yet done and I can’t speak. AT ALL. My throat does not hurt so laryngitis is not the culprit. I just can’t talk.

Probably it’s the yo-yoing weather. Or it could be the pollution. Someone said it’s the big classroom that I have to exert effort in discussion. It could be the virus that has been bouncing around in this corner of the faculty room. Or could it be that I am so nervous at the prospect of teaching that my voice gave out?

Whatever the reason, I still cannot speak at all.

The last time this happened, I was in Grade 5. That was from my massive bronchial attack. I coughed so violently for days that I lost ability to speak. Now, what gives? To think I do not torture my tonsils by singing in a karaoke bar. I rarely smoke these days. I speak a lot but I shut my trap most of the day. I mean I am into solitude and talking aloud is not an activity one indulges while alone.

I came in early for my Humanities 2 Class and I did not strain my voice becuase it was a small class of 19. It was a small room and I spoke normally yet audibly. I went to my next class and did a slide show and gabbed.

When that class was done, I decided to rest. When I was asked a question by a student I opened my mouth and what sounded like a mouse’s death rattle went out. I sort of panicked because how am I supposed to conduct a class if I cannot speak?

My coteachers said it is a usual ailment in our profession, but mine came a little bit too early. One of the teachers said she felt her throat was going to give up yesterday and she did not speak at all unless necessary. So, I can’t even curse out loud now.

I really feel bad. I am prepared for my classes and I am ready to have some substantial argumentations about the arts….but I can’t speak. I would have wanted to interact and get my students’ insights on the arts. So far, I am quite at awe at my students capacity to contextualize art in their lives. Of course, I am not saying I doubt their capabilities, it’s that I feel great that the students share their thoughts with no fear and not sounding typical.

The department chair shared her plight that she, too, lost her voice and could not speak for two weeks. Ironic thing was she was handling Linguistics and she could not speak. I croaked that I feel bad for my students. She just smiled and shook her head and said “There are just things you cannot force or control. Take a rest.” She even cited on my heavy load of subjects for a newbie. So, she suggested that I teach with a microphone. Great, I hope I don’t look like a greasy TV host. Well, that or I damage my tonsils further.

I still feel bad, though. All those preparations and for what? A weak croak.

I just can’t believe it had to happen this soon though. Just when I am getting my groove on with this occupation.

Right now, I am exhausted. I will eat a nice dinner to make me forget the stress and hand-wrangling I got from this voice loss.

Come to think of it, I really like my silence occasionally. But I just hope I can speak to my students soon though. Right now, I’m in Buddhist monk in meditation mode. Silence is not only golden, it’s f$%^ing necessary.

Now, let me enjoy Manang Padak’s genius in her brewing a comforting mug of salabat (ginger tea?) and read a book.



  1. my suggestion:

    laptop, digital projector, and a slide show presentation

    you could also type out your discussions in MS Word and project that on the board, if your typing speed is fast enough

  2. yup, I brought my laptop with me (though it is a bitch to commute in manila with it), did a slide show presentation but still discussed with my students. thing is, when one is discussing art, typing in bullet points is not really that effective considering that arguments tend to be divergent and lead into different but connected paths. If I were teaching something more structured, say Physics, then that is perfect. I should just follow the Stephen Hawking path if in case this happens again ahahahahaha. That is of course, the digital projector is available….there is only one for the college. They say our department will get a new one, but I am not holding my breath. And I won’t shell out for a digital projector rental because that is just plain silly considering hookers in Quezon City allegedly make more money than me. What I can do is to “advance borrow” the projector for all my classes thourghout the semester. I really plan to do that. But I am sure I will have some hefty obstacles

  3. Sweetheart, may be it’s time to try the suggestion of using a microphone. I guess it’s not as bad as you think 😉 for some time lang if you want, instead of stressing your throat further 😦

    And when get back, I suggest you joke it to your class or something why you lost your voice. These kids will understand and take it… they love you! 😉

    Don’t worry, ok? MWUAH!


  4. sir may prof ako dati nagdadala sya ng portable radio tapos nag mimic sya sa class nya. baka pwede nyo ring gawin yun para mas comfy kayo..chaka para hinde na ulit maulit yan. at least kapag magmumura kayo next time mas malakas pa diba. haha

  5. You have to rest for three straight days. Please. I beg you. 😦

  6. oh no… poor dear~! take a rest, read a book, drink some tea. im going back to manila for a few days. kita tayo!

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