Replacement Voice

The bell rang to start our final period of the day, 8th grade English. I faced the class and started speaking to them in my abnormally raspy and worn voice.

"Welcome to class! Today is a bit weird for me because I don't have much of a voice. I don't feel sick at the moment, so I'm confused about why my voice is so thrashed!"

One student from the back of the room piped up, "Were you yelling at your 7th graders yesterday?"

I looked off into the distance, hand on chin, in mock contemplation. "Not that I can remember..." Then I looked back at her, with a little smirk pulling at the corner of my mouth, "But then again, I may have. It wouldn't surprise me." The class giggled.

One of my favorite students, Edwin, motioned to his throat, "Is it like you're feeling the start of a sickness coming on?"

"I thought that's what it was at first, but I feel completely fine," I rattled out. "It's just my voice! So annoying. You'll all just have to bear with me today,"

"I'll be your voice!" yelled Edwin.

I couldn't help but smile. "Okay!" I cupped my hands around my mouth and stage whispered across the room to him. "Say, 'Everyone get your books out!'"

He latched onto the responsibility right away and said, "But we have to say it with some excitement!"

I nodded in agreement. "Ready? Go."

With as much enthusiasm as he could muster, he parroted back the phrase as I mouthed along perfectly in sync, adding dramatic hand motions. At the sight and sound of their teacher with a teenage boy voice, the class erupted in laughter.

When the class still hadn't settled down after about a minute, I looked back at Edwin, giving him the "Shhh" sign. He knew what to do.

"Okay, kids! Silent reading means two things. You're silent and you're reading." I again, did my best to mouth along, as he impressively spouted off one of my teacher catchphrases. I was the one erupting in laughter then.

I live for those perfect and spontaneous classroom moments. Moments when I see those kids truly let loose and enjoy the moment, and I do too.


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