Once again summer vacation has mysteriously disappeared and I’ll be back in the swing of things in a couple weeks. While I’m very sad that my days of sleeping in and watching hours and hours of shows on the food network, I am looking forward to being back on a schedule and taking classes again!

The Music Education Blog Carnival is starting up again, with the September issue being hosted at Yoon Soon Lim’s blog, Sing Imagination. In her post to announce her hosting, she posted some questions to spark some thought for those interested in submitting. Her question to students was, “Students, what are some obstacles you want to work on this school year?”

I definitely have a short list of things I want to improve on this year:

  1. After my field experience in the elementary schools and my experiences in my graduate conducting labs, I was given the same advice: “Be more demanding.” For those who know me, you know I have a very relaxed personality, and generally incorporate humor whenever I can (which is sometimes appropriate, sometimes leaning towards awkward and an overall poor choice). While those traits have some benefits, I do see why both situations ended up with that feedback. In a classroom setting, to keep kids engaged, I can’t keep the same energy level the entire time. Not that my energy is low and dull, but there was no change from my “relaxed” and easy-going energy. I need intensity. I think I know how to feel intensity, but I don’t know that I could communicate it. I definitely want to work on that. It will definitely give me command of the classroom, and I think it will give me a good balance of a serious and fun environment.
  2. My blogging has gone down significantly since I started grad school. My professional blog hasn’t seen as many posts, especially with the summer focus on my own music, and I would really like to make both blogs equal in content. Time is really to blame here! I know I have posted my desires of my blog and plans for it, but it seems that is all I am posting…plans. Here I am again doing so: I’m hoping to write here more often about what I am learning and reflect on it. I, again, am also hoping to get back into the Twitter scene as well. I just think that reflecting on what I am learning will be beneficial, and could lead to conversations with other students and educators!
  3. I want to learn how to conquer time. At the beginning of each semester I am the BOMB at time management and organization. No really, I am. My notes are organized, I do assignments ahead of time, and I have extra time to eat, socialize, and whatever else I could feel like doing! As time goes on, I stop doing things ahead of time, lose the organization, sometimes stop bringing notebooks to class altogether, and have no time to eat, socialize, or think. It is my goal, or dream, to overcome this time management illness that I come down with mid-semester.  I really do think the answers may be found in my MacBook. There are tons of productivity apps, calendars, notebook layouts, etc, to choose from, so I can at least fool myself that I am super organized, or trick myself into believe that I am and get everything done…right? Some apps that I am a fan of:
  • iProcrastinate: I think I have mentioned this app before, but it is so easy to use and a great way of collecting all of your due dates in one spot so you can see exactly how much time you have between assignments, etc. It’s also FREE, and if you have an iPhone, it syncs! I really love it, so I recommend giving it a shot!
  • Evernote: Organize notebooks for ANYTHING. I have used it for collecting research for papers and making checklists for projects, and I’m sure many other things that I can’t think of! Evernote is definitely the new-age college ruled notebook, without the lines, and it never fills up!
  • iCal/Entourage Calendar: I sync both of these together. If you have downloaded Lion for Mac, iCal is a full screen app, which is GREAT. With one swipe of your fingers you can easily see your calendar at a glance. Also, both calendars allow you to make categories for your happenings, so I put my class schedule in one color, rehearsals and concerts in one color, and break the rest of my life into a color-coded system alongside. You really can’t go wrong!
  • Microsoft Word 2011: This is the notebook layout I mentioned above. It’s pretty cool, though I have never actually used it. However, each layout lets you break your notebook into tabs (for notes, homework, and what have you) and once you are done, you can print them out! If you are someone who likes to take notes by typing, or add pictures/diagrams…this may be your thing! I’m going to try it out, though I think I prefer handwriting my notes. We shall see!
Starting school is always an exciting time. I’m looking forward to getting back in choir, meeting new students, and continuing learning how to be a teacher! I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer vacations, and is ready to start fresh!