Lifestyle,  Reflection

What I am Doing to Prepare for the Next School Year 2023-2024

Prepping for the new school year can seem overwhelming. It can seem like an endless To-Do list you know has to be done. I feel you! While I am excited to start the school year, I know I have to get back into a better a routine to help me through the school year. Here are 10 things I am doing to make sure I have an epic school year.

  1. Going Through My Google Drive

First thing I do is make sure all of my Google Drive Folders labeled. I also like to color code my folders and add emojis. This is the fun part!

To change a label, right click on the folder. Click Rename to change the name. Use the emoji type pad or copy and paste from any emoji online keyboard. To color code, right click on the folder and hover over Organize, then choose your color.

Next, I go through the folder to see if I can optimize my organization. This year, I think I want to organize my instrument classes into unit folder within the folder to make it easier to find materials.

2. Creating Google Classrooms with Everything Ready

Did you know you can copy archived Google Classrooms? You can have all of your assignments already populated in the classroom. No need to recreate your flow if you mastered it last semester. Obviously, this only works if you teach the same class over and over again. But, this has helped me create more student-led classrooms. When students know what to expect for the entire semester, they can pace themselves in a way that works for them.

3. Prepping My Room Ahead of Time

I am playing around with rearranging my room. Also, I am thinking about redecorating it in a way that makes more sense for a music room. Right now, my room still feels like we are in COVID times and I would love to shake that from the walls. I want to bring in more color and interesting lighting. Additionally, I want to bring back more flexible seating for students to feel creative.

4. Creating a Daily Schedule

I am one of those people who does not have a hard time with discipline. Tell me to do it and it will get done. I never miss training, a meeting, or cancel on someone. However, making a daily schedule will help me make sure that I am not burning myself out by overcommitting. One of my biggest goals for this year is to say “No” more often. Further, I am known to say “YES” to everything, only to dread the event once it actually happens. This is not fair to me or to the person I made the commitment to. So, I have developed a process for committing or not committing to events. I ask myself these questions:

(1) Does it serve me and my purpose?

(2) Am I serving others in a way that will have great impact? I committed to so many events only to realize that my presence did not actually matter.

Here is a typical schedule for those who are curious

  • 4:00 am Wake-up
  • 4:10 am Training (Run or Weights)
  • 5:00 am Shower
  • 6:00 am Leave for Work
  • 7:25 am School Day Begins
  • 2:25 pm School Day Ends
  • 2:30-4:00 pm Lessons, Rehearsal, or Meetings
  • 4:45 pm Arrive Home
  • 5:30 pm Dinner
  • 6:00-8:00 pm Relax Time

To be honest, I am in bed usually by 8:00 pm. I love sleep and 8 hours is perfect.

5. Creating My First Week of Lessons

Currently, I am choosing repertoire for chorus, creating a basic outline for my courses, and putting together some activities for my students to do the first days of school. I don’t usually like to spend the whole first day going over the syllabus, but I don’t always jump right into content either. Instead, I love spending time talking to the students and goal setting. I talk to them about their strengths and weaknesses and what skills they think they want to learn through my class. Because I teach non-required elective courses, it is interesting to see the students who choose the class those who are just put in there.

Activities for the First Day

  • Two Truths and a Lie
  • Vision Board for Goal Setting
  • Skill Inventory Google Form
  • Creating a playlist
  • Group Discussion and Sharing
  • Room Tour
  • Student-Created Expectation List

If you want any further explanation about any of these activities, reach out to me!

6. Meeting with my Parent Boards

I have a Theater Parent Board and a Music Parent Board that I meet with once a month. We decided that we would meet as soon as the school year starts because the music department is planning a trip to NYC in April 2024. We will be meeting to discuss fundraising, activities, and group goals for the year. It is important to me to stay connected with parents because they are the best resource for connecting with students. You always want the parents on your side!

7. Simplifying My Outfits – Donating, Selling, and Thrifting

Buying new clothes isn’t usually my thing unless they are running clothes. Instead, I love thrifting my teacher outfits or getting clothes from my sister that she doesn’t wear. But, since I receive clothing items as gifts, I am not going through my clothes as regularly as I should. I have been working hard to purge any clothes I have not touched all season. Then, I package up anything I am not wearing in a bag in the car. Strangely, I leave my clothes in the car for a few days to see if I am missing any of the items I want to donate or sell. Usually I don’t miss the clothes and I go through with the donation. It’s been amazing!

8. Schedule Out House Chores

Organization is my thing…but it is not my partner’s thing. Our house tends to get messy and I am the neat freak so I find myself cleaning all the time just to keep up. This is just not possible during the school year. So, I am trying something new this year and I am scheduling out which chores I am going to do which days. Some chores I will do everyday, while others can be once a week.

9. Bulk Scheduling My Days

Typically, I schedule my rehearsals and lessons throughout the week. This means I usually have something after school everyday. I am playing around with the idea of scheduling more events on the same day rather than spreading it out over time. Then I would have at least one day a week that I can go home as soon as the work day ends. I think this will help my mental clarity out to have one day to reset.

10. Remembering My Why

None of the above strategies matter if I do not remember why I do this in the first place. I love teaching students music and I can’t wait to get started with the year. The build up to the first days of school can be extremely stressful, but when I do the prep work ahead of time. My future self thanks me. I have to remember why I do what I do for those days when I want to give up. There are points when I am exhausted, my weeks are packed, and my house is a mess. These are the moments when I can look back on posts like this and remember why I am doing the work.

Thank you for reading! If you are interested in scheduling a lesson, click the link here.

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