1-Keep Teacher Materials Handy
I like to keep my materials right on top of the piano. It's like having the menu in plain site. I also write a lot on the white board to help me remember things that need to be done for each class. What system do you use?
2-Complete all emails and management items by days end.
Sometimes I don't have time during the week to take care of "teacher" business. Things like professional development forms, health insurance, evaluations, survey's and all of the things that the district will ask us to do. I choose 1 day out of the week that I will stay a bit longer to get these types of things accomplished. I usually stay late one day a week to keep on top of these types of duties. And, it's the day that I won't be cooking that night! It works well for me to have one night a week that I order take out and then I don't feel the pressure of getting home and cooking something.
I've tried a lot of different planners and calendars through the years. I plan my curriculum out on the computer by year, quarter, and month. I organize lessons by Grade levels and also maintain units of themes "Multicultural Unit". I print my planner and keep it on my piano this is where I will write in the plans for the week and the day. I pencil these in so that I can adjust the plans according to student learning and the schedule. I also use sticky notes. I have tried using "google calendar", but I feel like I need a paper visual to keep track of the weekly lesson plans.
3- Create Something New.I love to compose songs and I get frustrated when I don’t have the time to just sit down and write. I have found that I have to “make” time for this in my life. I’m not very good at doing it every day, but over a week, I do try to write something new. For me, creating something that comes from the heart renews me in such a different way than just relaxing. Performing used to be my creative outlet, but now I’ve found that just playing the guitar or ukulele or piano and composing a song is enough. What do you like to create?
4- Plan Lessons and Programs for the Whole Year.
I am a big believer in blocking out music programs the year before. I like to get with my administrator and block out when I’ll be holding each music concert. It’s a good time to give my “boss” the big picture of the music program and what’s going to be happening during the school year. It also gives everyone plenty of time to work through any calendar conflicts, and to schedule other events and field trips.
I also plan my whole year of lessons out with concepts/standards and lesson plans for each grade level. Sometimes I do change things as I go, but in general, I stick to my plan. There’s a great comfort in having the plan in place. That way on Friday I’m not wondering (freaking out) what I’m going to do or how I’m going to be ready for Monday. I also like to work ahead and have all the manipulatives, power points, videos and printables ready about two to three weeks in advance. I feel like the day to day is crazy and I don’t feel like I can “fix” things in the moment because of number of classes and students I have each day. I find that planning a whole quarter of lessons for each grade by date is very helpful. It gives you the big picture in your teacher life. For me, everything flows from the calendar. I realize not everyone is like that-but I like to leave on Friday and not think about my lessons over the weekend. What things work for you?