A richer semester ~ with Susan Dentel~

Teaching Journals

I’ve always kept a personal journal.  Sometimes I would go a year without writing in it. Sometimes I wrote every day.  My old journals are stored in a box in the basement.  Maybe I’ll go through them one day and pick out the “jewels of insight” and put them together into a book for my kids.  Or maybe I should build a bonfire and watch the pages rise up in the smoke.  Whatever ends up with those old journals really doesn’t matter, they were beneficial to me in the moment.

It wasn’t until last year that I had even thought about keeping a teaching journal. The idea of keeping an ongoing teaching journal began once I became involved in designing DL and MM courses. I had a really hard time trying to excavate all of the details of things I did in a course during a semester. So I started writing everything down.

Currently, I keep a separate journal for each course, but everything is in the same notebook.  I try to write as soon as I can after a class. Sometimes my entries are long and sometimes they are short, but I write, regardless.

Some benefits of keeping up a teaching journal:

  • It stimulates creative thinking and the exploration of feelings.
  • It is a way to look at what your students are communicating to you.
  • It helps me to keep track, feel more in control and stay organized.
  • It relieves stress and makes you feel better during times of self-doubt.
  • It helps with the prioritizing of what is important about your teaching.
  • It increases focus and concentration.
  • It helps to clarify short and long term goals.
  • It helps me to zone in on what is working and what isn’t.
  • It helps with self-trust and nourishes the inner life of my teaching.

Susan Dentel
Life Sciences Department
Washtenaw Community College

3 Responses to Guest Blog

  • Max Gibson

    This was inspiring. Though I’ve kept journals over the years, I realized after reading your entry, that it has been a while since I’ve written in mine. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration Susan. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • Fiona Gray

    I think I’m going to do that also – thanks for the inspiration!

  • Nagash Clarke

    That is a really good idea, Susan. After reading your entry, I did a journal for my one class today. It was very therapeutic.