Here are two quick tips to help make sure your students' instruments are in good working order.
1) Have a full set of mouthpieces readily available so you can play on students' instruments to make sure they are in good condition.
Sometimes young students don't realize that something is wrong (sticky pad, small leak, etc.), and they could develop bad habits as a result. By putting your own mouthpiece on the instrument and playing it yourself you can quickly assess the problem and recommend a repair.
2) Use a standard woodwind repair letter.
I created a letter that includes all the info students and parents need to get a repair done. It has checkboxes for common issues so I don't have to rewrite the same letter every time a student's instrument needs to be fixed. Oftentimes parents don't know what to do in this situation and the problem may persist. The letter is a great way to help students and parents, and also educate them a little about basic instrument care.
A couple years ago my colleague and I were looking for the easiest way to organize reeds for those moments right before rehearsal or a concert when a student suddenly needs one. It turns out the best solution was under $20 at Home Depot.
Tips for Band Teachers
Practical ideas for your elementary and middle school band class.