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Masks don’t muffle teachers’ voices in one area school; their lessons are amplified

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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TROY, Texas (KWTX) - Teachers at Raymond Mays Middle School in Troy aren’t muffled behind their masks anymore, thanks to the school’s Beta Club and Student Council.

Instead they’re using portable voice amplifiers, which include a microphone and headset.

“The amplifiers help make everything come across very clearly in the classroom,” Principal Michelle Joliff said.

Joliff was the one who brought the idea back to the campus after walking into a basketball game of her daughter’s over the summer and hearing a masked worker outside giving players and parents instructions.

“It’s hard to understand anyone wearing a mask and I could hear this woman very clearly and I realized she had a voice amplifier.”

The Beta club and Student Council picked up the $35 cost of each of the 30 amplifiers for the school’s 30 teachers.

Jolliff said it’s been the best investment and the kids love it.

“The response from the kids has been great,” she said.

“It’s just been a huge help for them.”

The clarity and volume have allowed a few of her hearing-impaired students who have cochlear implants to ditch the FM transmitters they ordinarily use, Jolliff said.

“These work so well that we have a couple of students that they don’t need them at this point,” she said.

And they’re teacher approved, too.

Joliff said the teachers rave about the help it provides them in a unique teaching situation.

She even caught seventh grade reading teacher Shayla Rawls pretending to be Britney Spears with her signature portable mic, singing and dancing around while nine months pregnant on the second day of school as students arrived.

She recorded it and shared it online because to her it shows the resiliency of her teachers and their excitement for being back in the classroom.

“We were excited to be back and she said ‘I feel like Britney Spears’ and she whipped around and started singing one of Britney’s songs and she flipped that hair and sang another song. She said she felt so special with the microphone,” she said.

“We have a great culture on our campus. There is so much criticism going on of going back to school but my staff is excited to be here and I just wanted to share that to show it.”

It will be a few more weeks before Rawls will be able to wear the amplifier in the classroom again.

She had her baby with her husband and fellow middle school teacher and coach Logan early Wednesday.

Five-pound-11-ounce Olivia Claire Rawls was born at Baylor Scott & White Center in Temple.WACO, Texas (KWTX) -

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