June 01, 2021

Balancing the End of the School Year



Balancing the end of the school year provides music educators the challenge and opportunity to leave his or her students with a sense of positive momentum. Even more, this momentum has the power to inspire and motivate students through the summer and fall months. As a result, students will grow, adding value to your program and, consequently, can fill important student leadership roles.

The Concept of Balance

What is "balance?" This concept may have different meanings by educators who are at different stages in their careers. My interpretation of balance involves the percentage of the "what" and "how" activities in my life.

The first question I ask myself is, What are my big picture goals in life?" Many of us in the music education industry share similar goals and yet how we arrange our life activities are very different. Above all, I want to have a healthy relationship with God, my family, my profession and myself. Froma big picture perspective each of these non-negotiable relationships will have scheduled time devoted to its growth and development. For the sake of this discussion, I will focus on the work and profession side of things.

What Needs to be Balanced?

A month or two before the end of the school year, regardless if you teach at the elementary, middle or high school level, work has the potential to be chaotic. Projects and activities that may eat up your time include (but are not limited to):

  • Spring Concerts
  • End of the Year Banquets
  • School Board Meetings/ Presentations
  • Marching Band Info Meetings
  • Marching Band Rehearsals
  • Summer Camps
  • Booster Meetings
  • Senior Recitals
  • School Award Ceremonies
  • Observations
  • Meetings for Mentees and Mentors
  • School Committee Meetings
  • School Professional Development
  • Recruiting Activities
  • Inventory
  • Budget Preparation
  • Calendar Preparation
  • Instrument Repairs
  • Central Office Liason Duties and
  • Updating Grades

The Problem

The problem is that there are not enough hours in the day to complete everything if we do not plan. Hence, the results of not planning includes:

  • Overall poor and unsatisfying end of the year for you and your students
  • Less than desirable Spring Concert Performances
  • Unorganized and unmotivating Marching Band and Summer Camp Presentations
  • Poor Teacher Evaluations
  • Possible Employment Termination
  • Wasted opportunities for growing program momentum
  • Inability to strengthen relationships with staff, students, future students and parents
  • Losing key dates to schedule activities for next year
  • and much more
Possible Solutions

Time management and organizational skills are vital in crafting an optimized balance to the end of the school year. Furthermore, other such tactics can help ensure a positive outcome.

  • First of all, set aside personal time
  • Avoid procrastination
  • Organize the day by your priorities
  • Strategically plan homework and project assignments
  • Plan for breakdowns
  • Have a plan "B" (or even plan C, D, and E)
  • Plan for Everyday, don't take this for granted
  • Don't leave anything to memory
  • Leave reminders (Technology can be useful here)
  • Practice What is Non-Negotiable
  • Simplify Your Day
  • When traveling down the road or down the hallway, complete tasks that are on the way
  • Set Daily Goals
  • Use One Calendar
  • Have a "Do It Now Attitude!"
  • Above all, ask questions
Conclusion

Unless you have a Fairy God Mother or you can time travel, you probably have time management challenges. The more you practice being a problem solver and plan at completing tasks - the better you will be at balancing more substantial sets of responsibilities in a limited amount of time. As a result, you will develop a professional balance that will benefit you and your students.



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