5 Tips to Get Your Music Classroom Ready For School
The summer can seem all too short for both teachers and students. Before you know it, it’s time to gear up for a new school year, new students, and new challenges. Getting your learning space ready for the next batch of aspiring musicians is an annual job. Depending on the amount of preparation you did the following spring, it will require some effort. But don’t worry if you left your room in a (seeming) shambles before leaving in summer. There are tons of easy ways to make the fall transition less stressful and more productive.
The key to easy organization is planning. Like any job, if you approach the chore with disordered tactics, you’ll get overwhelmed and stressed out. However, if you follow a logical plan of attack, you’ll have your classroom in tip top shape in no time, using less effort. The following tips can help.
#1. Get Rid of the Garbage—Toss and Donate
Getting your music classroom ready for the new school year is so much easier if you’ve eliminated all the trash. By starting with a room that is free from clutter, it will be less challenging to set up new floor plans, storage areas, and any other great ideas you had over the summer for improving your music space. Throw out anything that wasn’t used last year, or the year before.
However, you don’t have to toss everything you’re not using. Put anything that might help another teacher or class in a separate box. Mark it “freebies” and set it in the teacher’s lounge. If after three days there are still items (rare), donate the rest of the stuff to your local library. Home schoolers will be delighted with any music books and resources you no longer need.
#2. Grab Your Furniture List
When you inspect your room after summer cleaning crews have come and gone, and there may be a little confusion about furnishings. If you labeled your classroom equipment before the break and made a list of what you should have, there shouldn’t be a problem tracking down any chairs, music stands, or tables that have vanished or been moved to another room. If you didn’t take that precaution, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll just need to hunt for any items that are missing.
If you do have your list, check it against the actual items placed in your room to ensure that everything is where it should be. If you didn’t make a list last summer, go ahead and label your classroom items now. That will make closing your room much easier in the coming spring.
#3. Make A List of Materials Needed—And One for Forgotten Items
This is an essential step to take even before you enter your music classroom. Many states offer “tax free” weekends and other back-to-school sales, so have a list of materials ready for online or in-store shopping trips. Also, keep a blank list nearby while you do the basic clean up. You may have an inspiration about a productive storage solution or some other change. Jotting down your ideas will ensure that they aren’t forgotten in the bustle. Common items many music teachers stock for the new year include:
- Extra rosin, slide and valve oil, peg dope, some basic reeds, etc., for emergency solutions
- Desk items like sticky notes, pencils, digital tuners, metronome, etc.
- Classroom decorations like cool posters, inspirational quotes, and bulletin board displays
- Extra lesson copies and other curriculum changes you’ve planned.
#4. Grab Some Muscle and Get There Early
If you’re facing some serious labor to get your classroom ready for the new year, see if you can bring some helpers in to take care of the heavy work. If you have a new floor lay-out planned for your music students, but you know it will require a lot of work, try to arrange for some help a few days before school starts. Extra hands will speed the process and give you additional time to spend laying out your lesson plans for the first few weeks.
#5. Clean Out Virtual Files
Your computer will need to be cleaned out also. Once your room is in order, take an hour or so to delete unneeded information, assignments, and other electronic clutter. This will keep stress to a minimum during the year. Plus, while going through your files, you may discover a forgotten lesson plan or something else that would be perfect for new music students.
Getting your classroom ready for the new school year doesn’t have to be a rushed, disorganized undertaking. A little preparation now will go a long way toward establishing a smooth transition back into fall.