“Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out.” Lee Wise
Recently, I started my first course towards a Post-Baccularate in Educational Leadership. The first class our professor asked us to introduce ourselves with a introduction post (class is all remote). You had to include your name, a information about who you are, and what you expected from the course. All very first class material to cover.
Being honest, I struggled a bit to think of what to write. I quickly typed up about where I teach, about my family, what I enjoy doing. I added in that I was not a “gym” teacher, but a Physical Educator. I did not spend an immense amount of time thinking it through. As soon as I posted it, I wish I could go back and edit it more to my liking, but I could not.
I felt I had left out a large amount of who I really am as a teacher. Yes – I am not a “gym” teacher rolling out the dodgeballs for another variation of throw dodgeballs at all the kids. However, have I taken the time to vet my Teaching Philosophy lately to be able to cover a question such as the one our professor was asking.
It brought me back here – to journaling/blogging/writing down ideas, triumphs, disappointments, failures, and successes that have shaped my teaching and my learning. What is it I really do?
Last school year, I taught P.E. for two months before our school switched into Orange Level Restrictions for the rest of the year. I took up a Grade 3/4 split classroom to teach the rest of the year (I had previously taught Grade 4 for two years). Through this learning experience (because that was what it really was), I learned more about my teaching philosophy and what I want my students to achieve, however, I never wrote it down, made a note, edited my philosophy so that I could reference it whenever I needed a reminder.
As teachers, we get bogged down in the everyday tasks of lesson planning, supervision, extracurriculars, and everything our school communities ask of us. It is fulfilling to teach students how to be their best, however, just like the saying goes – “You can’t pour from an empty vessel” – so too you can’t teach unless you are rooted and aware of your teaching philosophy.
Journaling for journaling’s sake is a tool to keep your philosophy and your perspective fresh. What is it I want to accomplish with my teaching not just today, this week, or this month? It’s reflection, taking time to mold into something bigger than yourself.
I see former students who have graduated taking care of their physical health and well-being and couldn’t be happier because it gives me pause to see where my philosophy has gone right. It also gives me time to contemplate how I could be better and where those improvements must come (and yes, they must come).
Do you journal professionally? Privately or publicly such as a blog?
My challenge to you is find what works for you. Journaling for journaling’s sake can be the excuse you need to boost your teaching. It’s great to get perspective from other teachers ideas, but you have to internalize it somehow – journaling.
“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.” Robin Sharma