Teachers can be pack rats. There, I said it. You know what I mean. We want to save all the things in case we might use them in the future. But do you really need an entire desk stuffed with ALL those things? Nope. Insert comments about how less cluttered classrooms are great for kids here. BUT. They are good for us as well! It’s not just the students who benefit. Chances are you feel more together when your desk isn’t a disaster. So get junk off of it, get it in a file cabinet or sorting drawers, etc and instead make sure you desk is a place you can properly get work done! Here’s 7 Desk Essentials Every Successful Music Teacher Has. Full disclosure: Some affiliate links. Won’t change your price and I get a small kickback.

1. Emotional Support Water Bottle

Splurge and get yourself a water bottle you love. Something that is easy to fill, easy to drink out of, and easy to wash. Not on is all that water good for you and protects your vocal cords, it also gives you something to do when you have to hide the laugh you want to give when kid says something funny but snarky. IYKYK

I splurged for a Stanley mug earlier this year since I am butterfingers when I don’t have a handle and I basically live out of it. It fits in my cup holders, and I’ve been living on LaCroix during my pregnancy and it fits three cans so I’m not constantly looking for a new can. Plus it can handle hot and cold things if that’s your jam but I use mine strictly for water. If you love a sealed water bottle, I’ll still stand by my Swell water bottle as a great on the go option!

2. Notepad

Get a new one every year and use it just for all those notes you need in the moment. Put some tabs on there with washi tape, or put a date at the top of the page when you take notes so that you can find them later. Use it for staff meetings, department meetings, planning for concerts, or any other time you need to jot things down. It can be helpful if you are taking assessments, and it’s helpful for documenting parent communication in the moment. I personally like keeping it dated and just picking a new page for each thing I use so that I don’t run out of pages in a section. These little notebooks from Moleskin are great on the go and have perforated pages so you can tear them out.

3. Timer

You know how much I love timers. Set one to give yourself a deadline when you want things done. Have 30 minutes and need to write lesson plans? That’s all you get. It’s due in 30 minutes. Want to spend an hour after school working on prepping concerts? That’s your deadline for the things you put on your to do list. Making it a goal to leave at contract time this year? Opt for an alarm clock instead! When it goes off, pack up and get out!

4. Daily essentials

Hair ties, brush/comb, lip balm, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, lotion, painkillers, tums. Any of those things that can help make your day run smoother in those hectic moments, mishaps, and days you aren’t feeling your best. Check out this little guide for some of your daily essentials.

5. A set of favorite pens and pencils

If you are motivated by cute office supplies like I am, splurge, and get yourself a set of ones you really want. Keep them in a pencil case in your desk drawer, out of sight, and special just for you. No one says we have to share them with the students! If office supplies aren’t your thing, still make sure you have usable tools so that you aren’t hunting and pecking though student chewed pencils when you need to make a note on something. Check out some fun ones here.

6. Snacks

Some days you forget your lunch at home. Some days you move 10K+ steps when you are dancing with students. Some days you’re just extra hungry. Stock your desk with a few of your favorite shelf-stable snacks for when you need a pick me up. Granola bars, moon cheese, peanut butter and crackers or whatever gives you that little boost of energy and will fill up your stomach!

7. Something to remind you of why you teach and why you love music

Something that speaks to you for those days when it’s rough and you need a reminder. Pics of you performing, pics of ensembles you’ve been in, album covers, favorite moments. Something that will help give you a little inspiration. Make a playlist of your favorite tunes for when you are working. I’ve been bopping to 80s music lately!

A reminder

Stuff doesn’t make you a good music teacher. These are only meant to make your work life easier! I hope this has given you a few ideas!

Melissa Stouffer-1

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