A diary is a daily record of experiences or events. The idea or concept of a diary is somewhat ‘old hat’. These days, many people prefer electronic devices for recording, whereas a diary was traditionally a notated (by dat and date) book into which people wrote. Paper diaries used to be quite expensive but these days their price has come down a lot – no doubt because they have competition from electronic versions.

I have over the years developed the habit of keeping a paper diary. While doing a fair bit of electronic record keeping, I find that writing by hand into a diary enables me to think and to reflect on things in away that doesn’t happen when writing onto paper.

Another point is that electronic recording can be quite indelible and it may be things you want to keep as private thoughts and reflections, get to be shared by face-book, twitter or by email.

One of the things I like about a paper diary is that if I am feeling a bit uptight or twitchy, the act of writing by hand, which takes time, tends to settle me down. It is important to think clearly about things you do and to write by hand can help that clear thinking.

Diary writing does not have to be painful, long winded or torturous. You can spend as long or short a period as you like in writing thoughts and reflections. I always think it a good thing to spend a little time reflecting on the day, not only noting things to do but successes you have achieved. It is important as a student and a teacher to note successes and to self-congratulate. A diary is a tool that helps.

When writing in my diary I sometimes use pencil, also pens of different colours.

Pencil is for when I am shaping thoughts. These can be gone over in pen at a later time.

Different colours ‘stand points out’ so they hit you in the eye when you re-read. Red for ideas, blue for celebrations, black for things needing to be done might be a simple code. I also run a highlighter pen through points I really want to remember or emphasise.

Part of keeping a diary is to periodically flick back through its pages and recall things you have written. This recall helps when it comes to remembering and reflection.

Teachers of course keep records highlighting children’s progress. This essential record keeping is a part of school programming requirements. A diary is an extra but it is worth the time taken to complete daily entries. It is a device that helps with personal reflections – ever so important to teachers and indeed to all professionals.

I commend to you the thought and the habit of keeping a diary.

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