By Robin Steinweg
How do you prepare for fall? A vacation from lessons or a lighter teaching load can offer opportunities to create a master list.
Here are some of my to-dos:
- Determine available teaching times
- Will I offer 30, 45 or 60-minute lessons?
- How many weeks will I teach?
- Will I give myself weeks off?
- Send my policy, schedule, and registration forms to students
- Let students sign up on MTH!
- Will I get a raise?
- Does my policy need tweaking or firming up (See other teachers’ policies for ideas)?
- Will I require parents to initial sections and sign an agreement?
- Weed my files
- What haven’t I used in a year?
- Are files titled for easiest retrieval?
- Shall I divide by grade level or genre? What works best for me?
- Might I use a retrieval system—such as Paper Tiger online?
- Will I donate or sell what I don’t keep?
- Clean/organize my studio
- Attend workshops
- Plan so I don’t purchase duplicates or binge
- Check instruments for needed maintenance
- Consider a theme for the year or season
- Will group classes, recitals and special pieces reflect this theme?
- Will I decorate according to the theme?
- (a bulletin board labeled “Prepare for Fall” could contain notes/symbols to identify, or a picture with hidden music symbols. A football field with lesson “yard lines” might make for a prepare for fall practice push)
- Choose new activities or games
- A studio-wide motivation chart to record goals met
- New game for group lessons
- Contact waiting list if there are timeslots to fill
- Look for décor, incentives and teaching aids at garage sales, thrift stores or a dollar store
- Laser pointer
- Stick with pointing hand
- Shaped erasers
- Prizes for goals met or to add to the studio “store”
- Waiting area materials
- Music magazines
- Coloring books and crayons or colored pencils
- Water bubbler or bottles
- Swap out materials monthly or quarterly?
- Add technology—for the techno-challenged, push yourself to try just one!
- Tonic Tutor
- Music Maestro
- Scads more!
What would you add? Or do you prepare for fall in a totally different way?
In my August 28th post I’ll have ideas for creating teacher binders. See you then!
Teachers get tired, need to refresh.
We need time away from lessons and students. Whether for an hour, a week, a month or a season. How can we relax and refresh ourselves to be ready when the next student shows up at the door?
I asked my friends at Piano Teacher Central, on Facebook, what helps them recharge.
Here are answers from this generous group:
- Read, read, & read. Preferably sitting on a quiet deck or by a rushing stream. Marathon TV series watching—currently watching Doc Martin!
- Silence and a good night’s sleep without the deadline of a morning lesson.
- Quilt, garden, genealogy, and other crafts that hit my fancy!
- Play the piano
- Look at FB lol
- Wait, you mean there is life beyond teaching piano?
- Quilt many quilts… some even with music.
- Agree with the second one above, but also art
- I love country walking when I need a break. Very energizing and refreshing.
- Play Angry Birds on FB, read, binge-watch movies, beach time.
- A walk in the woods or a good workout with a DVD (dance party! Lol)
- I play with my kids, and read…I honestly need it to be pretty quiet once I finish teaching, at least for awhile.
- I used to teach in the summer… …Now I’ve decided that summers are short, the weather is beautiful and having July and August off is my reward for 10 months of hard work. I will refresh myself by reading at the beach just a few blocks away, learning to stand up paddle board, kayaking, and doing photography.
- I go here (photo of sun setting over a calm ocean beach) and hide from the world. I don’t touch anything to do with lessons for awhile.
- It helps me to read piano blogs and posts on Piano Teacher Central! I get excited about teaching again and using new ideas.
As for me, I:
- get “musicked out”—spend time in silence
- read books on teaching
- read blog posts
- attend live performances—variety of genres
- hold a private sight-reading marathon
- browse music books and sheet music at the local music store
- sub for another teacher on vacation—I have no idea why this works, but it does
- jam with other musicians for the fun of it
- further my education—attend workshops
- try out new pianos and guitars at the music store
- have been known to take a long soak in the tub
How do YOU refresh?