Monday, November 30, 2009

Registering and Planning Ahead

Every job comes with an aspect that is, at best, dissatisfying. And between the lovely music of my life comes and joy of working with brilliant students, comes the paperwork. The tasks of a piano teacher also include filling out forms, an overabundance of forms, a plethora of paperwork, and a big deadline is tomorrow, December 1st. I love my job, really I do, but the tedium of filling out paperwork every year for the same event for the same student is a drag.

Sometimes I remember to fill in some of the standard information BEFORE I photocopy the forms. This saves repeated name, address and phone number writing. But this year I forgot. I'm not sure where my brain is some days, but it was absent in front of the copier. Last time I forgot, I used my home address labels, but I still had to fill in the phone and email address on each one.

These forms require more than triplicate. They are repeated because they will go to different people who do different volunteer aspects of the job. There is an office person who will take the forms and the money. There is a scheduler who will place the student on the requested day and time. There is a data entry person who then sends out the exact information to the teacher, who then passes it on to the student. If you are willing to do this, there is now an online registration process, which I haven't tried yet. But you still have to fill out some forms, because the student will bring an "official" form to the registration desk at the competition.

Two of the questions that might be among the more frustrating for me this year are "Age of student on September 1st" and "Theory level passed as of December 1st, include year passed". These are not items I know off the top of my head for each child. I dig through a file folder for one of the data points, and look it up on the computer for the other. I have tried other options, including asking the student. They sometimes get how old they were in September wrong, no kidding. And although they know they passed theory level 2, for example, they don't remember what year.

In my dreams, I envision a master database of this information so that it might save me the trouble. But the truth is that it would be a nightmare to keep those sort of records on a revolving basis. Maybe someday, someone, not me, will be able to coordinate a wonderful tool for this purpose. But we're talking about 10,000 students. Sigh.

Another issue through the process is that I live in a metropolitan area of the state where there are two possible sites, on Saturday or Sunday. The parents may also choose morning or afternoon. Getting their day and time of choice from them today for an event that takes place on the last days of January is nearly impossible, and once they have chosen, it can not be changed. Once you've chosen Saturday, you are competing on Saturday.

Until the advent of students registering themselves, I'm scrambling to ask the right questions, fill out the right forms, and get good answers.

And next week the Festival paperwork begins. Yay.


  1. Wow! I had no idea it was so complicated! Bless you.

  2. Mail sent! It additionally took two envelopes to mail the registrations, according to the directions. There was one envelope and one check needed for each day, even though they are traveling to the same address, the same person is going to open them and the same bank will deposit them.

  3. Paperwork is drudgery and there's no way around it. The graphic on this post is completely perfect. I dread the tedium but when I'm finished, I always feel so liberated.

    May the force be with you!

  4. Yup! The paperwork's a bear. You really ought to try the online - it saves you a lot of work. You type out the teacher info once, and pieces and levels are selected by drop boxes, no typing necessary. Same with Theory Levels. You just have to make sure that you compile your student info in a table to make it quick to select the correct info online. The levels and pieces are self-checking, and it eliminates a lot of teacher mistakes, like not checking the box where you say you've taught the student for at least 3 months. I think you'd love it if you tried it. And you can always call me if you have a quesiton. I've worked out a system by which the parent reports their age (and height)and their preferred scheduling for contest in the fall when they tell me they want to participate, and I scan the score sheet of every theory test and write the year passed on the score sheet scans. It has worked well for me because all the info is on my computer.

    Another thing you could try is to download the registration form from the website in the word format, so you can type your info on it and just change the student info on every form. You would have it saved, so you can go back to the file and print as many copies as you want. Hope this gets better for you in the future.


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