I use a countdown app on my phone that allows me to set up fun, cute countdown clocks. I looked at my countdown clock this morning and it said
10 days left to the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!
I have had a wonderful summer vacation, but I can see the start of school on the horizon. It’s everywhere from the back-to-schools ads to the bus drivers practicing their routes. I am sure that many of you reading this are at this point as well. As I start getting myself geared up for another year of teaching, I want to share FIVE things we all can do to prep for this new school year. Let’s count it down!
5. Do something you enjoy that makes you laugh and smile. The school year schedule is hectic. Don’t spend the last week(s) of summer in 100% work mode. Read that book that you keep telling yourself “I’m going to read this when I get the chance.” Take a day trip to that landmark you keep promising yourself to go see one day. Spend some uninterrupted QT with the ones you love. Plan a night out with some teacher friends and the first person to mention school buys the first round of drinks!
4. Reflect on the year before to plan for the year ahead. In a perfect world, I would have sat down with pen and paper and written out a formal end-of-year reflection as soon as school was out. But instead, I walked out of the classroom and left it all behind with my sights set on all things summer. With summer now coming to a close, it is time to think about what is up and coming. My method is simple: sit down with a piece of paper and make a list of classroom elements that were integral to the daily function of the room. Assess each item. Did it work? If so, give yourself a gold star! If not, it’s time to brainstorm. What can I do to make this element better? Does it need to be eliminated or reworked and tweaked? It is important to note here that this only applies to elements that are under your control as the classroom teacher. This is not the time to write about unacceptable cafeteria food or stale coffee in the front office. BE PRODUCTIVE!
3. Engage in some PPD and TPD. I LOVE PPD and TPD time. What is this, you ask? Pinterest Professional Development and Twitter Professional Development. Anytime I need a fresh idea, I turn to Pinterest (by the way, you can find me HERE in the world of pinners!) One word of caution if you are new to being a Pinterester: it is not only addictive, but can give you an inferiority complex if you’re not careful! Just because your favorite Pinterester has the time to bedazzle all the choral binders does not mean that you should, too! Repeat after me: the goal is not to be 'Pinterest Perfect.'
Twitter is great for connecting with music educators from all over the world. Search by hashtags, and then find and follow interesting and noteworthy people (and again…find me HERE in the land of tweets!) Be sure to check out #MusEd #MusicEd #MusicEducation and #MusEdChat just to name a few. Do a Google search of ‘music education hashtags’ and you will find dozens of them.
2. Work on pacing guides & on lesson plans for the first day of school plus two weeks. I believe in having a plan, and that starts with a pacing guide. Past that, focus on a plan for Day One. The first day of school is a tone-setting day. The first two weeks allow for everyone to establish and reinforce routines and procedures. If you go into the first day of school with the first two full weeks already mapped out, you will sleep so much better at night.
1. Pray, meditate, or do some other activity to settle your inner self. Remind yourself why you started teaching in the first place. Read something inspirational. Practice deep breathing. Let’s face it-teaching is stressful. Let us all go into this brand new school year with a fresh mind and fresh perspective. Do not allow for last year’s stresses or concerns to follow us into a new school year. Spend some quiet time lifting up prayers and good thoughts for students, fellow teachers, administrators, and parents.
What types of things do you do to prepare for the start of a new school year? What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear about your awesome back to school routines!
You, my friend, are awesome...and I know this because you are here, and awesome people do what you are doing right now. You are looking for information, knowledge, and someone that gets you and the life you live as a music educator. Take a deep breath and relax. You are in the right place, and we have a lot to talk about!
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Erica and I have been in music education since 2003. I first started making serious music when I was a middle school student, filling my time with singing, dancing, playing piano, and even rocking a pretty mean soprano recorder solo on occasion. I hold a master’s degree in music education with a focus on choral and general music. However, my classroom experience includes not only choral and secondary general music, but also show choir and individual/class piano. There is that one year I was 'professionally encouraged' to teach World Geography, but that, my friends, is a conversation for another day.
Outside of my regular classroom duties, I advise a group of music honor students and collaborate with the theater department on spring musical productions. I sing, direct, conduct, accompany, run lights and sound, and stretch my sanity to the limits in the name of music education. When I am not teaching, I like to partake in my second passion: food. And since everyone loves extra credit, my posts will include an extra tidbit in the form of a recipe or meal idea. There is a certain amount of satisfaction that comes with feeding people, literally and figuratively.
Now that you are here, make yourself at home and look around. There’s not much to see just yet, but buildings are built brick by brick. I started this blog because I have a heart for music teachers, and if there is something that I learned the hard way, I want to help you learn from both my successes and mistakes. Most of what I plan to share will be of the most relevance to those of us who teach the big kids. But, if you teach the little kids, please stop and stay for a while. Those of us who teach the big kids LOVE those who teach the little ones - you are teaching our future students!
So, first things first. Click HERE to 'like' my fan page on Facebook so you will know when a new blog post is up. Be on the lookout for a newsletter coming soon if you would rather connect through email. Click HERE to tell me a little about yourself (it’s only fair because I told you a little about me). Please feel free to CONTACT ME with questions, concerns, or topics you want to see here. I look forward to staying connected, making music, eating well, and being the most Well Fed Music Ed(ucators)!
I am a music educator and lover of all food stuffs! Thank you for spending some of your day with me here on my blog. Read more...