I am a loud person. I am also a teacher and I’m very good at projecting so that students can hear me.
The other day I was teaching a lesson on the lyrics of a song that gets students pretty engaged and excited. However, engaged and excited also means loud. I found myself trying to yell over students rather than just projecting.
Then I suddenly remembered one of the best techniques for quieting a class….whispering. I lowered my voice to a stage whisper and said “Oh my, this next line is really deep….” Instant attention.
That afternoon at home, our Halloween costumes arrived (Because for the first time in my life I did not wait to think about halloween costumes until three days before Halloween!) However, my daughter’s costume was a bit big since they didn’t have her actual size. Cue the tears, whining and strange gyrating that kids do when they are displeased (It’s not just my kids that do the gyrating, right?!?)
Now, I do not enjoy ungrateful children, and I was on the verge of launching into a loud tirade that began with “I bought you the costume you had to have and I expect you to be grateful for it….” when I suddenly remembered the successful whispering from earlier in the day.
I dropped my voice and said “I realize that you are disappointed, but you really wanted this costume and they didn’t have your size. I thought we could make this one work even though it’s a little big. We definitely can make it work.” My daughter stopped, thought for a moment and then went off the find something else to do. She still wasn’t super pleased, but the whispering de-escalated what would have otherwise been a giant, yelling, tear-filled melt down.
By simply dialing down the volume, I dialed down the drama. And that is always a good thing.