This article was originally posted in May 2013, but after the wild and crazy school year that many of our teachers have experienced this year, it is one that is a timely summer topic. Whether you have already started a journal or need some inspiration, the tips in this article can help get you going. Journaling is a wonderful way to reflect, de-stress, and give you a new perspective on what is happening in your life. This summer, take time to recharge and get excited about the upcoming school year.
How to Start a Personal Journal
We, as teachers, encourage our students to express themselves in their daily journals and writing. It is important for them to put their thoughts to paper. Yet, how often do we take the time to sit quietly and reflect upon our thoughts by recording them in a journal? If you are like most teachers, the answer is probably not very often.
Teaching, grading, home, family and a million other commitments pull us in more directions than we knew we could stretch. Time alone with just our thoughts and a pen and paper is a luxury we think we cannot afford. As those who have been journaling know, it is, instead, a necessity and not a luxury at all.
“Why is it so important? Where will I find the time,” we ask ourselves impatiently. It is important, because it is allows a release of emotion, a refuge for worries and a chance to truly express ourselves. For some the process of journaling is completely personal, while for others it is a chance to leave a legacy for generations to come. No matter what you use it for, it is important to do.
Finding time is more challenging. Teachers begin the day early, some waking at 4:30am, just to accomplish the normal tasks of the day. Although waking earlier is an option, there are other times to fit journaling into your schedule. You can journal after school, during lunch, before the school day starts, after your daily routines and responsibilities are completed, while dinner is cooking, in the parked car while waiting to pick-up your child from sports practice, or even when you climb into bed at night. Some days you may want to write for two minutes, while other days you may write for a half-hour.
If you are worried about starting a journal, because you are unsure as to what you would write about, have no fear. There are great resources for journal prompts online that can guide you through your daily journaling. Some people simply reflect upon the day’s events and the daily barrage of things that come to mind. Others, like those creating a legacy journal, tell the story of their lives through memories and current reflection. What you write about is not what it is important. What is important is that you allow yourself the time to write.
Writing takes on all forms. You can write in a spiral notebook, a fancy lined journal or anything that catches your eye. It is also possible to type your journal on your computer or save it online. Some people choose to use their personal blogs as their journal, but keep in mind that whatever you write will be seen by potentially millions of people. That realization may hold you back from expressing all that you might in a notebook journal that you keep on your bedside table. There are also journal applications made for smart phones that allow you to keep a personal journal and write in it whenever you want to. Only you can make the decision as to which journaling medium is right for you.
This summer, challenge yourself to keep a journal, just for you, and write in it consistently. At the end of the summer you may find that you have learned something about yourself by recording your thoughts for a few months. Above all, you will have taken the time to honor your own feelings and emotions amidst the sometimes chaos that you call every day life.