Return of wInksday: Episode 8 – School Ink

I’ve been thinking about moving this blog away from just pens and ink and stationery to also talking about writing and other creative stuff I enjoy. I will keep my Fountain Pen Friday series going beginning next week BUT it will be much more limited as I am officially running out of fountain pens I actually own and I’m just not ready for a gold-nib commitment.

Today I’m going to NOT talk about fountain pens. I’m going to talk about pens that I think are the best for educators in general. I know we can write with whatever we have on hand. $0.10-a-pen Bic disposable pens, novelty pens we got from students, or the Walgreens-brand pen someone accidentally stole.


There IS a certain magic to having a pen that feels good. Those pens I mentioned tend to just feel flat and frail. Easily lost, so in a way my suggestions are environmentally-friendly! (I’ve made this same argument for fountain pens. No, I’m not sorry.)

So here are my picks for the best pens for educators.

Pentel Energel Needle Tip, Bic Gelocity, Papermate Flair, Papermate Inkjoy, and a Mildliner highlighter.

A quick summary of the pens, all prices averaged out to the closest retail value.

Pentel Energel Needle point (4 pk/$6). This was the last pen I really got invested in before making the jump to fountain pens, and remains part of my EDC. I love the way it writes and it takes the best parts of the other pens mentioned on this list and puts them together.
Bic Gelocity – (3pk/$5) an underappreciated pen. The body has a texture similar to both the inkjoys and the grip of the Energel, and even as a 0.7 pen it writes like a 1.0, and it is BOLD.
Papermate Flair (5pk/$5) A felt-tip marker rather than a pen but these past several months I’ve found this one to be very useful for quick grammatical corrections and notes.
Papermate Inkjoy – (6pk/$10) – Prior to discovering the Energel, I gravitated towards the inkjoy. It’s comfortable no matter how you hold it as the entire pen is basically a grip. The only thing I don’t like about it is that I can have a wide range of experiences with the pen. Sometimes it’ll write beautifully, sometimes it’ll be a Bic disposable pen with better grip.
Zebra Mildliner Highlighter (6pk/$5) – The biggest downside to this highlighter is that the colors are…well, a little mild, especially compared to the road flars that your average Sharpie highlighters are. But that’s the extent of the downsides, honestly. BUT the problems stop there. It’s the ideal pen for both regular pens and foutnain pens due to the fact that it doesn’t smear the ink all over the place.

I used to be a big fan of Pilot G-2s for work buuuuuuuuuuuuut not if I’m going to be highlighting anything.

The mildliner only smudged the other ones a tiny bit but it made the Pilot G-2 go all over the place. And I mention this because of a little tiny thing that’s important to me: I’m a lefty. I’m a person who grew up with ink stains or graphite on his palm so outside the realm of fountain pens, having smear-resistant inks on my grab and go pens is always good. Plus, if I’m working with things I need to sign quickly or notebooks I spot-check, having these on hand is always good.

Published by obsidianpalms

Hugo Esteban Rodríguez Castañeda is a writer and educator hailing from Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley. He is the author of “…And Other Stories” (2018, La Casita Grande Editores) as well as other short stories, poems, and essays that have appeared in places like The Airgonaut, The Acentos Review, Picaroon Poetry, Neon Mariposa, Mathematician Transmission and the Texas Poetry Calendar. He is a graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso's MFA program and hus fiction has been recommended as part of Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net slates and was longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50. He is currently a reader for RUBY Lit and occasionally freelances as a content editor for a publishing company. A fountain pen enthusiast, he lives in Northwest Houston and is most at home at coffeehouses, shopping malls, and mosh pits.

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