Powerful tools: A pen coupled with paper. An impact on physical well-being. Just a few sentences a day can reduce stress, anger, sadness, and anxiety. What could be better than that?
Traveling in the WayBack Machine…
Oh no! Visiting a high school where everyone is taller than me…even the freshman. How can this happen? Is it too late to run?
My school system was kind enough to pay for me to go back to school for my teacher certification. After all, this accountant would need tools to deal with today’s kids. Too bad I was ahead of the game. I had already taught Algebra 1 three years before. A STEM background takes you far.
…Back to the story.
Being a social bug that I am, I quickly made friends with almost everyone at the school. I had a favorite, Denise. She taught English to an unruly pack of 9th graders. Just my kind of group.
Fast-forward to the first of day that I subbed for her. Showdown! My favorite…a staring contest. It didn’t last long. Laughing, “I’m from Philadelphia. Did you know that the Philadelphia Eagles were the first football team to have a jail in the stadium? We’d even fight each other.” Contest over. I won.
Being a math teacher didn’t help me that day. They were learning how to journal. I hid the fear by smiling. I knew what journaling was, but I had never done it. Luckily I saw a set of kind eyes from some kind of football player…a defensive back?
Doing what I do best, I yelled as part of an evil plan. “Sit down.” He already was. Stomping over. “Do that again and I’ll call security.” The room was silent. Oops.
“Think-Pair-Share. Brainstorm. What do you think that journaling is?” Too bad…I didn’t know so I couldn’t help them.
Back to my defensive back. “Ok. What’s journaling.” Big smile in return. “I won’t tell you.” I give a bigger smile back. “I don’t care.” My next response, “I don’t care.” Shock. “You can’t say that!” Sitting down. “I just did.”
I use my scholarly brain to perform some analysis. Plan B. “Okay everyone. It’s time to share.” You know who I chose first. BAM! He didn’t want to look like he was dumb. The fear and panic of one of ‘my kids.” It was like a dissertation. He spoke so well, giving everyone a chance how to integrate journaling into their everyday lives. He knew how. He journaled everyday after school.
I got the class of hooligans to become thoughtful writers. No one had anything bad to say about them now.
Journaling provides a place to clarify thoughts and feelings without rules. Writing corresponds with the left brain (analytical and rational). This leaves the right brain free to create and feel emotions. Journaling provides opportunities to feel centered and get in touch with feelings. Begin with strategies that are slow and simple, creating an environment for success.
Provide a private environment of privacy.
- Make the session free of noise. Less distraction.
- Don’t allow editing. Freedom is best.
- Begin with thoughts, short letters, or diary entries. Sometimes it’s most difficult.
- Brainstorm a theme, source of ideas (confusion, anger, change). Go with the flow.
The journaling process is a chance to write without editing, especially spelling. It provides an opportunity to solve disagreements calmly. Track trends and patterns. In time it will transform into an all-accepting, non-judgemental friend.
“Our kids” with ADHD are often misunderstood. They have hearts and minds too. Thoughts expressed like poets.
We rock 🙂