The Power of Journaling for Teachers

 The Power of Journaling for Teachers

Episode 14 of The Teaching Space Podcast explores the Power of Journaling for Teachers.

Podcast Episode 14 Transcript

Welcome to the Teaching Space Podcast, coming to you from Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

Hello and welcome to Episode 14 of The Teaching Space Podcast. It's Martine here, thank you so much for joining me. Today's episode is all about The Power of Journaling for Teachers.

Well, I say for teachers, this podcast is aimed at teachers and trainers so there is going to definitely be a teaching training angle to the show. However, what I've learned over the past month or so is that journaling is very good for all aspects of your life and career.

So, while there is going to be a bit of teaching stuff, I'm also going to talk about journaling in a more general sense.

Let's get started then.

What is Journaling?

I found a really good definition, on a website called lonerwolf.com and I'm going to read that out to you because I think it explains the process really well:

"Journaling is the practice of writing down your thoughts, and feelings, for the purpose of self-analysis, self-discovery and self-reflection. As one of the oldest forms of self-help in the world, journaling is about exploring one's own thoughts, feelings, impulses, memories, goals and hidden desires through the written word. As such, journaling is often prescribed by therapists, counsellors and spiritual mentors as a powerful way of developing more self understanding and compassion."

How Journaling Helped Me

Well crikey, that sounds a little bit woo-woo, doesn't it? All this talk of feelings and self discovery, I have to be honest, it's not really my bag. But, I love to write and lately I have fallen off the wagon a little, with my daily writing schedule. Many of you will know I'm currently writing a book, and I've been struggling to work on it on a daily basis.

It occurred to me that if I could get a daily writing habit back by keeping a journal then maybe that would help my writing towards my book. And, I've been journaling for just over a month now and, funnily enough, my writing habit has returned. Not only am I journaling daily, but I'm also working on my book daily. For me, journaling has already proven its power, in terms of getting me back to writing my book.

How Can it Help You?

But what about you, fellow teacher friend? Why is journaling a powerful tool for teachers?

Sadly, my teaching colleagues are some of the most stressed people I know. Our workloads are enormous and they're currently growing as budgets are cut more and more tasks are being handed to teachers, usually for no extra pay. And, it's making achieving a work-life balance even more difficult.

Keeping a journal is a good way to reflect on, and analyse, how you're spending your time. And, it's also a great place to log the activities you do for yourself, for your mental health, for your physical health, all of those sorts of things.

This is one of the ways I think journaling can be powerful for teachers because you get a real reality check on how you're spending your day, and how much stuff you do just for you that's not work-related.

The other thing it's great for is reflecting on your teaching practice and noting things that have worked well. You can also note things that simply haven't worked and ended up being a complete waste of time. Therefore you don't need to repeat them. And, ultimately, that is going to save you time.

These are just a few reasons why journaling is incredibly powerful for teachers, but how do you do it? 

How to Keep a Journal

Are pen and paper okay? The answer is yes, of course, you have to journal using a format that works for you and, if you're the sort of person who loves stationery, I totally get it, grab yourself the nicest notebook or journal you can afford, get a really great pen and just start.

I'm a tech girl, so pen and paper weren't going to cut it for me. I have been using Day One app for my journaling and I love it.

I have to be honest; if I hadn't found this app, I wonder if I would have stuck at the journaling thing. It just makes journaling such a pleasure.

Let me tell you about what I am journaling about, using Day One app. The first thing about the app that I love is you can have multiple journals, so I've set up four. One's for my business, one's creative, one is personal and one is teaching.

You can view the contents of all four journals all at once, or you can view them separately. And you can also tag every entry. This is a huge benefit of journaling electronically as opposed to using pen and paper.

The sort of things I write in my four journals include, what I'm doing creatively speaking, usually my creative practice is my downtime and it's not necessarily related to my teaching. So, this might be photos, or updates on projects that I'm working on. 

I note food-related stuff such as recipes I've tried and enjoyed and also a wine that I like and want to buy again. This is usually accompanied by a photograph of the wine label. I make a note of my yoga practice. And, on the business side of things, I write about various achievements within my business, it might be sales, it might be events I'm going to attend. All sorts of things like that.

On the relaxation side of things, it's a case of noting perhaps, TV series' I want to watch, or things I've enjoyed, or books I want to read.

You can journal about anything you like; there are no rules here. Just journal about what you want. On the teaching side of things, mainly I journal about things that have gone well in sessions, but also areas for development and things I want to try.

Benefits of the Day One App

I've not done it yet, but I will be writing about things I want to read, research I'm interested in, articles that I might need to refer back to at a later date, that sort of thing.

As I said, there are many benefits to using Day One app for your journal. One of the greatest things, apart from the tagging and the multiple journals, is that it's across platform app. So there is an app for your computer, I can use it on my iPad, on my phone. That makes it really user-friendly for me.

Day One app is free; you get basic functions for nothing. But I've opted to go for the premium, which is 35 dollars a year, so it's a subscription model. And I get some extra functionality for that, which is ... it's worth paying for, for me.

Why Not Give It A Try...

Those are just a few of my thoughts on the Power of Journaling for Teachers, trainers and for anyone, really.

Believe me when I say I never thought I would be extolling the virtues of journaling to anyone, let alone recording a podcast about it. I've really surprised myself. If you're a bit like me and you've always thought, journaling is a bit woo-woo, it's not for you, why don't you be open-minded? Why don't you give it a try? I'd say you need to do at least a couple of weeks or a month, to work out if it's for you or not.

Wrap Up

That's today's episode folks before I go, I want to remind you that the Teaching Space Staff Room is a free Facebook group and we'd love to have you in there to start a little bit of conversation. Perhaps we can talk journaling.

Also, if you've enjoyed the episode, please consider leaving a positive iTunes review as it helps more people find the podcast and hopefully enjoy it too.

Thanks for tuning in, I hope you'll tune in next time.


 The Power of Journaling for Teachers