One Sweet World

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A Private Place March 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 1:28 am

            You do not need to have a mental illness, live in poverty, or be involved in criminal activity to have problems! Everyone has them and everyone, at some point in their life, feels like no one understands. I know that I have been there! So what do I do when I am on the verge of breaking down? I grab my journal and my pen, the two things in my life that always listen and never judge. It seems that my method of coping is quite common. I found a great article that talks about teens, like me, who use journals to deal with their everyday problems.

            Humberto Zavala had problems with violence. He solved his problems through fighting and other aggressive behaviors. You don’t make a lot of friends that way, but you do make a lot of trouble. One day Zavala was near his breaking point, and just picked up a pen and started to write. It almost happened instinctively. Now when he is angry he uses his pen instead of his fists. His journal allowed him to channel his anger in a creative and productive way.

            So why does it seem to work for so many people? Joan Neubauer, author of The Idiot’s Guide to Journaling, seems to think it has something to do with acceptance.


You don’t want to say or do the wrong thing for fear of ridicule. A diary is the place to get acceptance.


Ana Garcia, a life long journal keeper, says that she uses her journal when she does not feel like talking to people.  

I just feel sometimes that maybe they won’t understand, that I just need to write it down instead of talking to someone. They might take it in another way that I don’t think is the correct way, so I just write it in my journal.


How true. When you are a teenager it is hard to talk to your parents and friends about drugs, sex, peer pressure and love. A journal gives teens a place to do this. The article moves on to talk about how many people are now using blogging instead of journaling, but for the same purpose. Blogging isn’t as personal as a journal, but it does allow for human feedback and connection. I think journals can be excellent tools for education! As a future English teacher I know how important it is to give students time to write! This is a perfect way to give them that valuable “free-writing” time, and it also gives them an outlet for all their problems, worries, concerns, dreams, fears, and creative energy! Students can also use their entries as ideas for their various writing assignments. It is a great place to practice writing and many people who start journals continue to write in them throughout their life. It becomes habit. We have accomplished a lot, as future educators, if we can get our students to be lifelong writers.  

Full ArticleLohnes, Kate. “Journey with Journaling.” The Monitor. 21 March 2007.


7 Responses to “A Private Place”

  1. Megan Roers Says:

    Hi Mandy-

    I completely agree that blogging/journaling is an extremely beneficial habit for young students to pick up. Obviously, in addition to providing an outlet for problems, students are also able to practice and improve freewriting skills. I’m really glad that you touched on this subject, because it absolutely pertains to the secondary English classroom. A good method of getting students interested starting personal journals/blogs might be to have a set of classroom journals. Students could keep individual blogs and write it as personally/impersonally as s/he desires. Throughout the week, students will be given the opportunity to respond to their peers’ entries. This could not only be a fantastic icebreaker, but it could get kids familiar with the idea of social networking and with freewriting. This, by the way, is not my idea- my 10th grade English class did this during the first month of class. Shortly after, I (along with most of my friends) started a livejournal which I wrote in nearly every day until I graduated. Every now and then I’ll go back and read my entries from sophomore year compared to those from senior year and the difference is remarkable. Journaling is also a great way for students to observe how their writing changes throughout time- this is definitely an awesome ego-booster.
    : )

    Megan Roers

  2. I agree that journaling is needed and could be used as an effective classroom tool. However, I absolutely hated journaling in class. I always felt pressured to write something profound or extensive, and could never force myself to love journaling. This is weird to me, seeing how much I love to write spontaneously on my own. I guess I see, especially in a Perter Elbow sense how journaling can get students to write and write and write and write. I would say, though, that as it is happening, many students (like me!) are going to hate it. As a teacher, I would be looking for those opportunities to provide all kinds of personal writing opportunities. Who knows? Maybe I am the writing I am today because I was forced to write and write and write and write. You post got me thinking!

  3. Mandy, I like the way that you treat writing as you think about it in a classroom. I just read your review of the keynote speaker at Bright Ideas as well. I think that keeping the power of writing as a healing listener and an inspiring flame in mind is important as teachers. It should remind us that we need to teach writing in a way that does not defile the joy of writing. Just like kids should not leave high school hating to read, they should not leave high school hating to write. It is too valuable of a pleasure and a comfort for us to kill the joy out of it. Great topic for your whole blog!

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