Last year, almost to the day, I discovered the bullet journal and I fell in love. Hard. I’ve been using that wonderful planning system created by Ryder Carroll for my personal life ever since.
Don’t know what a bullet journal is?
My post The Bullet Journal – Why I Use It & Why It Works will explain everything!
But when the time came to think about my school planner, I got stuck. Although I love my bujo, when it comes to my lesson plans, I need to be able to see all the weeks in advance. The option of adding the days as they came was not feasible.
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Now, most of the schools I’ve taught at supply a teacher’s planner for the staff. The only thing is, it’s super bland. It’s also usually too small and kind of boring. And I know there are stores and companies that sell other teacher planners, but I could never find one that completely fulfilled my wants and needs. And believe me, I’ve looked.
There was always something wrong: not enough space, irrelevant sections, missing sections, not enough blank/notes pages, nowhere to keep loose leaves of paper, no way to move things around, high price, etc.
I thought about getting MAMBI’s Happy Planner (or the teacher’s edition), thinking it could maybe work for my job because I really liked the disc binding system. But after thinking about it, no. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely lovely! But neither of them was The One for me. Maybe I’m too specific (or anal, some would say), but I don’t care! I want what I want and I won’t apologize for it damn it!
When I couldn’t find a planner that really spoke to my teacher’s heart, I decided to create my own, gathering ideas from here and there. Let me introduce my ARC planner!
One of the most important thing was clearly to have something customizable. I’m a creative person and I need (yes, NEED!) that to translate, even in my work environment. Also, I wanted to have something where pages could be added wherever, a bit like in a binder. But cuter. Plus, as I said, I liked the idea of a round coil or discs, which meant that I could open the planner completely on itself.
That’s when I discovered that Staples sells a complete system of discbound planner, the ARC. It comes in different sizes, which meant I could choose one big enough to have room to plan my classes. It also comes with dividers, which meant I could create sections for grades and meetings, and a hard clear plastic cover to keep everything neat for the whole year (and beyond!). I added pocket dividers to keep loose notes (like this one from a student!). All that for a really fair price!
Because I’m me, I quickly started decorating everything. I found quotes on Pinterest, printed them and used this pretty washi tape to stick them to the dividers. I also found a cute design to write my name on the cover. Then, I created my perfect weekly spread, with all the space I craved. And I added some more washi to make everything beautiful (and reinforce the holes).
Yes, I did all the pages for the whole year by hand (using Sharpie Fine Point Pen, which I love). Yes, it took me a long time. But you know what? It was worth it. And, now that I know how much I loved them and how perfect they were, I’m planning on creating a design on my computer and print them to safe me some time.
Isn’t it beautiful?! I’m telling you, I’ve been using it for almost ten months and I’m not tired yet. I got so many compliments on it during the year, too, it’s crazy. I will definitely make one for the upcoming school year and the ones to come. And the best thing is that I can totally reuse this! There is no need to buy a completely new planner, I will simply take the pages from 2016-2017 out, stuff them in a brown envelope and file them away! Tada! The discs and dividers will be ready to welcome brand new paper! I’m all for saving money in the long run 🙂
Before you ask, no the holes in the pages are not like the ones we’re used to in binders. The discs (which can also be found in different sizes and color at Staples and most Michaels stores) need a specific paper punch. Yes, it’s an added cost. But, if you’re planning on using the system for a long time, like me, I think it’s a perfectly justifiable buy.
Here’s an overview of the sections I used this year, with pictures:
School Year Calendar
Months (which I didn’t use at all, so that’s not coming back next year)
Long-Term Planning (that needs tweaking as well, I didn’t really use it much, that’s why I’m only showing you the divider)
Meetings (again, I’m only showing the divider, since this section contains confidential information.) I’m thinking I’ll probably do subcategories in this section next year, but I’m not sure yet. We’ll see.
Grades (once more, only the divider, to keep my student’s grades confidential)
So, what do you think of my ARC Planner? Are your familiar with this system? What kind of planning system do you use for work? Am I the only one who can’t find what I want?! 😉 Let me know in the comments below, on Facebook or Instagram!
Thank you for reading and until next time,