How do you go about planning your week in teaching, weekend plans or your annual goals and ambitions? Have you got a classic planner setup or is it all in mental notes in your head? One method for staying organised that is growing in popularity is bullet journaling. Given the mindfulness benefits it also provides, it can be perfect for busy teachers too.
In this piece, we’ll show you a few incredible examples of teacher bullet journals plus a few other tips to help you get started with your own.
What is a bullet journal?
Bullet journals bring day-to-day planning, goal setting, written meditation, diary entries, brainstorms, to-do lists and a whole lot more together to make one unique all-in-one streamlined solution to organising your life.
Where bullet journals excel when compared to ordinary journals is in their holistic nature. Originally developed by designer Ryder Carroll, the system organises many aspects of your life into one notebook. In the process, it becomes a kind of meditative activity, helping you to not only be more organised but also less stressed.
The possibilities are endless too. A whole community of bullet journal enthusiasts has emerged online, giving anyone new to the topic a vast array of ideas and inspiration. In the next section we’ve listed just a few that apply to teaching, but social media has a treasure trove of creativity to tap into.
Bullet journal ideas for teachers
1. The teacher dashboard
We spotted this teacher dashboard page and loved how simply it displays a quick to-do list. Excellent use of post-it notes too, meaning you don’t need to take up pages of paper creating a new one each week.
Source: Alexandra Plans
2. Weekly planner
Surely the backbone of any organisational journal, you’ll find lots of inspiration for how your weekly planner should look. There are plenty away from the field of teaching, but the example we loved does stick to what we know.
Not only is it split by day of the week, it also features key topics the class are currently covering, with noted reminders of what to cover each day.
3. Term view
The term view will be another essential aspect to most teacher bullet journals. In the video below, the colour coordination and general organisation of the whole journal are a perfect display of bullet journaling at its finest.
The whole video is really worth a watch, but the term plans page is discussed from around 30 seconds in.
4. Mood tracker
Mood trackers are one of the more popular pages for bullet journal keepers of all fields. Bullet journals are as much about mindfulness and mental health as they are about organising your day. The mood tracker is one of the best ways to achieve this.
You’ll find loads of creative ways to visualise a mood tracker; here’s one we loved.
5. The goals contract
Setting goals and aspirations are another common theme people touch on in their bullet journals. This example below sets out a contract stipulating your commitment to achieving goals and improving yourself. On the opposite page are a list of goals and rewards you allow yourself as you tick them off.
Source: Little Coffee Fox
6. Sleep log
In a stressful role like teaching, sleep is of the upmost importance. If you’re having an issue with sleep, getting a handle on it starts with tracking how many hours of quality sleep you are getting. One way you could do this is by adding a sleep tracker to your bullet journal.
7. Balance your life
Another way you can benefit from a bullet journal is by adding small reassuring reminders that bring some light to life’s stressful moments. Motivational quotes are one example of this but below is a more holistic reminder of what it means to have a balanced life.
Achieving a better work/life balance is high on many teacher’s lists of to-dos – a daily reminder could be exactly what you need to get there.
8. Countdown to summer
A fun final suggestion – a countdown to summer! Watch the days tick by until you can bask in freedom from the classroom during the summer holidays.
Amazing hacks for effective bullet journals
1. Smudge test your pens
Before you make a start, there are some key preparations to be made. One of which is the pens you plan to use. Find some similar paper to that in your journal and test out a variety of pens to see how they come up on the page. Give them a score for the bleed through the page or level of smudging that occurs.
Nothing is more frustrating than seeing your organisational bible ruined by a dodgy pen.
2. Create a key
With so many tables, lists and colours throughout your bullet journal, complexity can quickly spiral. To help you along, create a key that reminds you of key colours, markings and symbols. Keep it right where you need it, for example attached as a flap to the top of the inside of the back cover; that way you can easily refer back to it if you need to.
3. Add post-it notes for more info
All the thoughts for your bullet journal don’t just have to be confined to the paper. For areas that commonly change or need to be updated, post-it notes can be a powerful addition.
4. Buy a journal with a pen holder
Pens have an incredible talent for not being where you thought you put them. When an idea pops into your head, there is nothing worse than not having a pen to jot it down in your journal with. Plus, as a teacher, how many times have you loaned out your last pen only to never see it again?
It sounds obvious but invest in a journal with an in-built pen holder and you can leave this issue behind.
5. Keep it simple
Once you’ve started a bullet journal and you’re faced with just a notepad and a pen, things can look a little daunting. The best advice you can give any teacher starting out in bullet journaling is just to keep it simple.
Ultimately, this is a place to organise all your thoughts, hopes, plans and ideas. Keeping it simple will help you to keep things simple in your teaching life in general. Start off small and add new tables and information until you’ve built your own bona fide bullet journal.