Everyone who has ever met me for even an hour probably knows that I'm involved in a serious, lifelong love affair with office supplies. On most days, all it really takes to make me happy is a short wander through isles of post-it notes, sharpies, and washi tape. Last year, while watching youtube videos about clever ways to organize all my beautiful supplies (yes, that is really how I spend my days off), I came upon the wonderful world of alternative planners. Even though I use evernote with students, I live and die by my basic paper planner. I had been using the same type of planner for a decade and I hadn't considered the other options until that fateful day that youtube opened my eyes! Although there were so many wonderful options, like Passion Planners and Erin Condren Life Planners, I decided on the beautiful simplicity of the bullet journal.
Why I think Bullet Journals are Great for Teachers:
- Flexibility. I always want to use those cute teacher organizers that I see in the teacher supply sections, but they never quite fit my needs. I work in a high school with a block schedule, international and domestic students, and a rapidly changing technology program just to name a few of my circumstances. I don't fit neatly into the six column boxes and my guess is that most teachers don't either. Bullet journals are inherently flexible, so they can be tailored to any teacher's needs.
- Centrality. I don't know about y'all, but I constantly find myself wondering where I put the notes from three department meetings ago that I desperately need to complete my to do list today and follow up on that post-it that is stuck to my monitor! Bullet journals keep all my random moving parts in one place.
- Simplicity. Although it takes a minute to get used to, a week or two into using the bullet journal system I didn't have to think about the how part of organization.
- Aesthetics. You'll see a very aesthetically simple version in the video below, but bullet journals are very easy to customize with beautiful accents. This part is totally optional, but it is an amazing way for me to de-stress and steal a few moments here and there for myself in what we all know is one of the most stressful jobs in the nation! You can see how I dress up my journal in the pictures below or click on the this link to see a crazy beautiful and intricate version from a non-teacher. You can also do a youtube search for bullet journals, but I warn you; you may get sucked in!
Here's the official bullet journal video followed by my pages with a teacher flare:
Now for some pages from a sample teacher bullet journal:
Note: I made the following pages as a similar version of mine, but I edited them to protect student privacy as my real journal has notes like: list of students failing with parent phone numbers attached, email addresses to send a positive note, etc.
The index helps me find notes and lists that I want to refer to later.
I keep my teaching goals close to the front so that I can refer back to them often and keep myself accountable.
Whenever I hear of a new tool that intrigues me, I add it to this list so that I remember to try it out soon.
Meeting notes are usually more detailed than this, but you get the idea!
I keep a 3 section to do list: 1. random to dos, 2. to grade 3. to plan/create. I usually make one set of lists per week, but they often take up two pages. Note: I don't include these weekly lists in my index as they are not things I need to keep track of long-term (like the video above).
I use a piece of construction paper and washi tape to keep notes about IEP and SST students private. Since I bring this journal everywhere, I don't want private notes to be seen when unnecessary. The construction paper adds another level of privacy when flipping though.
The habit tracker is one of my favorite parts of bullet journaling! Here is an example of a weekly tracker for some of my teacher goals. This keeps me on message in a way that other systems have failed me before. I also keep a personal bullet journal with daily habit trackers like: logging calories, 10 minute daily declutter, etc.
Instead of keeping the monthly journals like the official system calls for, I use the first 10 pages to washi tape the school calendar in for reference. My school is very good about keeping an accurate calendar from the beginning of the school year, so this works for me.
Do you bullet journal? Would you? If you want to know more, search youtube for inspiration and feel free to leave questions, comments, or suggestions in the comment section below! Thank you for joining us here at Simply Novel!