As teachers or teaching assistants, we undoubtedly love a bit of stationary! The summer holidays is a perfect time to grab a new planner and start looking ahead to your next year but with so many planners out there, which one should you get?
How to Choose the Best Planner for You
Now when you start looking for a planner, you can easily get overwhelmed with thousands of planners that offer various different features so it's important to understand the one you need for your particular role.
You can have weekly planners, daily planners, term planners, and even 18 month planners for those of you who really like to plan ahead. If you are looking for a planner where you can manage your day-to-day teaching activities, you are going to need a daily teacher planner. These planners will usually include attendance records, space for lesson planning, tracking student progress and tracking communications. If you need to co-ordinate multiple classes or plan out an entire term, then a weekly or term planner is best. These typically include more space for organising your week, lessons, tracking progress and organising assessments or meetings. These types of planners also work well for supply teachers.
Decide What Features You Want
Now that you know what type of planner you need (and it's always worth trying a few different ones!), you need to decide on what features you want to have in your planner. I know I'm quite particular about the pages I have in my personal planner and so you should be - the idea of a planner is to make your life easier! So when it comes to a teacher planner, some of the features you could have are;
academic year planner
You decide what you want, what is nice to have and what is essential and then find the planner that has it all!
My Top 5 Teacher Planners for 2022-2023
(Just click the titles to purchase!)
This planner has it all really and is great for any ECT's wanting to be the best prepared teacher in their school! It has a 5 year calendar, and then 2 double-page year-at-a-glance sections for years 22-23 and 23-24. You've then got space for so much lesson planning with 223 undated planning pages with enough space for planning in up to 10 lesson formats.
For the basic admin, you've also got registration pages, parental consultation pages and space for you to keep track of pupil progress. Really, I think the quote below sums it up;
"I carry this everywhere with me - it is like my own personal bible. I can make notes during staff briefing such as things I need to mention to the tutor group or things I need to remember to do like lunch duty or note if we have an extra assembly. It stays on my desk the rest of the time with my lesson plans facing out so that if I have a brain malfunction (which is quite often these days!) during a lesson I can easily refer to it to get my place again."
What I also love is that there are so many gorgeous covers to choose from! Undoubtedly you will find one that suits your style.
If you want a durable, dated planner that is easy to use, then this is the holy grail! Blue Sky Teacher Planners are great to note the weekly activity schedule and yearly overview for a full year of planning, dated for 12 months from July 2022 to June 2023 (with additional monthly lesson planner pages from April 2022 – June 2022). Whilst I have been somewhat dubious of spiral bound planners, this one is top quality and it's high-quality cover pages are bound with twin-wire spiral bounding which will keep it safe for a long time.
This particular planner is dated for the 2022-2023 academic year, so does become redundant after this but if you don't want to mess around with filling in your own dates, then this saves a lot of time! This dated planner can help you keep an outline of the day with Monday-Friday sections and nine subject sections, which work well for special education teachers or even small group instructors.
For me, thick pages are essential as I like to use highlighters and Sharpies in my journals, and the pages in this planner haven't bled through no matter what pens I have used. The thick pages basically allowed us to use virtually any type of writing material on the planner.
This planner also includes weekly lesson planning pages, a convenient list of holidays and special dates, reference calendars, special pages for class birthdays and a weekly activity schedule - so pretty much everything you would ever need!
This planner is on the more affordable side and also takes a minimalist approach. If you are looking for something that is simple, easy-to-use and neat, then this one is for you. It allows you to get the key information down and mapped out, without the need for complicated or extensive pages of notes.
The softback flex cover and spiral binding allow the planner to lay flat, which makes writing easy. The softback also ensures that it is easy to carry without getting damaged. It has weekly view pages for 45 weeks and 7 classes with 35 students per class.
This basic planner is perfect for school and home-school use. It has a blank calendar section, which is perfect for classes and weekly activities outside the normal curriculum.
Whilst this isn't a teacher planner specifically, the layout is one that I have found useful for organising both my teaching and personal life. I like having various different views (weekly, monthly and yearly) as it really makes me think about how I am spending my time and if it is contributing to my overall plans and goals.
The weekly view allows me to plan my entire day hour by hour, and since I have started time-blocking, I have noted such an improvement with my productivity. The monthly view allows me to get a quick overview of the month ahead and be clear on what is coming up over the coming weeks. Finally, the yearly tracker helps me look at my year at a glance and see if I am on track towards my annual goals.
Again, the paper quality is fantastic and I can use nearly every type of pen without having to worry about bleeding. It is a great option for keeping track of appointments, key dates and time-planning your week, but I wouldn't recommend this one if you need space for in-depth lesson planning!
Now this isn't a teacher planner but, in my opinion, it is a planner that everyone should have. We know that teaching is a stressful occupation and that, more often than not, mental health or wellness support is not readily available. Therefore, taking 5 minutes each morning to practice some individual well- being and mindfulness can really help you and your mental health.
This journal was developed in collaboration with therapists and writers and includes daily pages, weekly pages, task lists, monthly challenges and space to map out your goals. With prompts to make you think on highlights, priorities and things you are grateful for, this type of journal promotes a healthy mindset and inspires positive thinking. This three month fully guided system, providing you with all the tools to make your ambitions achievable.
So have a look through the various types of planners and find the one that works for you! Honestly, I cannot recommend writing things down in a physical book enough - it helps with organisation, mindfulness and you'll feel far more in control of your career and goals.