December 30, 2010

New Years Organization

Its that time of year...the time for Christmas clean-up, a few more parties, and New Year’s resolutions.

Yuck, I said the “r” word.

Whether or not we like making resolutions, it is something that almost everyone does - maybe not on paper, or engraved in stone, but as a new year approaches, we all have things we want to change, accomplish, or improve as we start a new year of our lives.

In the area of piano teaching, it should be no different. We all have areas we want to improve in, and things about our teaching that we want to improve. And for many of us, I think that improvement finds its way into one common area - organization.

Now I must admit, when it comes to organization, I am a bit OCD. . . ok, very OCD. I love organizing, and almost everything thing in my room is arranged in alphabetical, numerical, chronological, or color-coded order. My books are on my shelves first by content, then by height. (I worked in a library way too long!)

But despite my mad organizational skills, I always feel I need improvement in this area when it comes to my teaching. Why? Because I want to do what will work for me best. And because when I need something I want to know exactly where it is, and I want that place to be convenient. Oh yeah, and I want my students to think I have it all together. (Ha ha, do I have them fooled!) Most of all, I want to glorify God in everything I do. I Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” I believe that the Lord is glorified in something as “little” as organizing!

Part of the reason my teaching materials always need a better organizational method is because I keep most of my teaching materials at home, but I give lessons at the church. So my things must not only be organized but also portable. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve had to turn around and go back to the house for something I forgot. Its a good thing its only one tenth of a mile away!

Here is a peek into my organization for the coming semester of teaching:

This is my everything file. I have a file in here for each of my students. (And you will notice they are in alphabetical order!) In this file I keep books they will soon need, the information sheet they fill out when they begin to take lessons, the worksheets/activities we have completed and those we will do in the near future. I keep everything we’ve done, so that I don’t repeat myself and so I can see what things need more work.

Behind those files are other files for staff paper. I have several different kinds of staff paper, from really large grand staffs to viola clefs. Because I use viola clefs so often.

Next is a recently added file for Christmas music and activities. That way next year it will be easy to browse through in plenty of time to use with my students.

The next file is copies of frequently uses worksheets. I began this part of my file in college when I took Piano Pedagogy class. I use a lot of the material that I gathered in that class, and will probably tell you more about that soon! I also have some of these worksheets saved on my computer, so I can either copy them or print them off when I need them.

The last few files are just bits of random things that I either collected through college or only use once in a while. I have some of my college notes in there as well, so I can refer to them from time to time.

Besides this box, I have 3 expanding files with all my games, activities, flashcards, etc. in another box with some of my other teaching materials. (metronome, stickers, pens, white board, markers, clipboard, and fly swatters. Yes, I said fly swatters.) This box thankfully can stay in a closet at church, because I never need these things at home, and they are easy accessible.

I also keep a binder with a tab for each of my students (in alphabetical order, mind you) where I write down what we work on each week, or what I want to go over next time. This helps me prepare for each weeks lesson without getting my students confused.

And last but not least are the small stacks of arrangement and method books to look through that I keep conveniently under my dresser. Well, they are out of the way at least! But you see what I mean about needing to improve my organization...

Now that I have explained my organization to you, I want to hear how you do it! Are you already very organized? Then what works for you? Are you improving your organization? Then how are you doing it? Or maybe you have a different resolution for this coming year. Whatever the case, I hope you will share it with the rest of us! You can by doing one of the following:

1. Comment on this post

2. Email or Facebook me, and I will post your ideas in another post. (you can remain anonymous if you prefer)

3. Write about your resolution on your own blog or website, and send me the link. I will post the link in another post.

And in case you need a little direction in the area of organization, here is what some other teachers have to say about it:

Here is one way Susan keeps her games organized. Here is a way to keep flashcards organized.

Jen keeps her students organized here.

Here is how Natalie organizes her research online and other web-stuff. Here is her experience organizing last semester. And here are some new years resolutions that she posted.

Hope these are a help! Don't forget to give us your two cents worth about organizing!

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the post Nicole! I've already made my resolution to be more organized but honestly I hadn't thought about musically yet :S Could you write something or share your information sheet you have your student fill out? And did you ever recreate your other blog? if so what is the website for that? I'd like to keep up with you and your family!