Why Keep a Journal?
Can you recall a lesson from last year that didn’t turn out as you’d planned? Or maybe a great lesson idea popped into your head one morning this past summer while you were drinking your coffee? As we head into August, many teachers’ minds shift toward the school year ahead. Sometimes great ideas come to us most easily when we are relaxed and refreshed—before the school year begins. Having a journal nearby can help you quickly capture those ideas whenever they pop up.
With a journal in your tote bag, you can quickly jot down ideas, plans, or even questions. Once you’ve recorded your thoughts, you can always go back to the journal to flesh out your ideas or seek out answers to your questions. We’ve been taught that brainstorming is a critical part of the writing process. Actually, brainstorming is a critical part of any creative process—lesson planning, figuring out the layout of your classroom for this year, or even making a running reminder list to help keep your home life on track. Your journal can become your one-stop, portable resource for recording all of your brainstorming and action items.
Why an Actual Journal Works So Well
With modern technology, you might be inclined to do the bulk of your note taking on a computer or smartphone. However, you might be surprised to see how much both the quantity and quality of your ideas improve when you put pen to paper, instead. As a lot of research has shown, writing by hand helps your brain to make different connections; it also has a vastly different feeling than writing on a computer.
Sometimes, thoughts and ideas come rapidly and randomly. You won’t always have immediate access to an open computer or device. With a journal, you can always be ready to capture your thoughts, even by scribbling just a fast word or two at a red light. Unlike the computer, a journal won’t interrupt your stream of consciousness by pointing out your spelling errors or by alerting you to a new email or chat. As much as we try to be disciplined and use technology productively, the distractions are plentiful when you are “plugged in.”
Choose the Right Journal to Project Your Image
We all project a particular image by how we dress, express ourselves, and by the gear we carry around. Think about technology. For example, let’s say you see one person talking on a flip phone and another using a Apple Watch. Which person would you choose to ask for advice on technology?
As teachers, we have whole rooms full of students who look to us as role models. Their families also take a very close look at the teachers who will be teaching their kids. You’ll want to present yourself in the image of what you are—a hardworking, positive, and proud educator! How that image manifests itself through the gear you carry, including a journal, is up to you.
If you want to project your artistic, crafty side, you might want to create your own journal. A trip to your local craft store can provide an array of supplies to create a personalized, one-of-a-kind journal. You could even decorate your journal in your school’s colors. If you teach a specific subject, you might cater your customization toward that subject. Whatever journal you opt to create, remember that your journal is sending messages to others about your professional image.
If you’d rather purchase a journal that already has the perfect message, check out Teacher Peach’s collection of notebook journals. The square Words to Grow By Journal is awesome, with its grid-patterned pages and the amazing literacy-focused terms in its graphic and colorful cover.
When you have an urge to jot down some summer inspiration, the Every Teacher’s Ideas for Next Year Summer! Journal could suit your purpose to a T. This vivid journal can drop right into a gym or beach bag. This journal lets people know that teachers plan and brainstorm, even in their summer “downtime.”
If you’re looking for something that has year-round relevance, try the Teachers Totally Rock Journal. This lively journal, with its cork-style pattern and grunge lettering, is perfect for the progressive teacher who thinks outside the box. Slide this in journal in your workbag so your ideas are always by your side.
Whatever type of journal you choose, a journal adds a great accessory to your daily collection of gear. With your journal handy, you may be surprised at how often you reach for it, even in today’s digital world.
Teachers journal for a variety of reasons. Figure out the best way for you to collect your ideas and the best style of journal in which to record them. Remember each accessory your carry or wear serves as an opportunity to boost your desired teaching persona, so choose for yourself—and for the image you want to project.
Why do you journal? Got a favorite journal you use? Post below and tell us about it.