Adviser Jim Jordan thought it would be fun to see how many of his former Del Campo High School editors and staffers he could get in touch with and help them stay in touch with each other. To do so, he turned to Facebook.
The occasional offbeat request from a parent is a reality for yearbook staffs. It helps to have a ready explanation – namely, that the yearbook is about what the kids in their school experience.
As advisers, every time we change something about our yearbook operations, there is bound to be some resistance. I saw the need for one significant change: go from a May to an August delivery to include spring coverage. To make that significant of a change, though, I had to first change the class from an editor-centered to a student-centered class.
Every year, yearbook advisers everywhere give the usual lecture about why yearbooks are important. We stress the historical aspect of our task, remind students that they are creating the memories that we will all look back on in 20 years and how important it is to freeze the year in picture and words.
In my limited experience as a yearbook adviser, I have learned so much about myself and just how far I can push seventh and eighth graders. Let me explain.
During my first year as an adviser, I pleaded and begged, but deadlines were barely met and typos and fuzzy pictures were printed. Then our book arrived. It was a step up from previous books, but it was not their book or the story of their year. It was the way I, the grumpy old adviser, saw the year.
Not fair and not fun, right?
As a member of the newspaper and yearbook staff during high school, I would always remember the sense of joy and accomplishment when I would see my name in print. I knew journalism was the career for me.
Fifteen years later, the world of newspaper reporting is behind me. No longer am I sitting in my cubicle writing stories and designing pages at a Pittsburgh newspaper. Now I am standing in front of 50 yearbook students, proving to them how journalism can make an impact on their life and give them benefits that are unimaginable.
You can get your staff to cheer about yearbook. Trevor Johnson, the yearbook adviser at Sherando High School in Stephens City, Va., gets his staff to cheer and play games, all in the interest of motivating students to a new level of dedication to the yearbook.
It is registration time and we’ve put up posters saying, “Yearbook wants you.” We’ve run announcements advertising the yearbook class and distributed applications to interested students. Registration finishes and my principal calls me up to pick up the preliminary list. In addition to those students that my staff and I worked hard to recruit are students I don’t know.
They can’t always spell.
They can’t always read.
They can’t always write.
However, I have found Individualized Education Plan (IEP) students deserve a spot on my yearbook staff as much as the straight-A-in-every-English-class students.
In May 2001, I retired after 30 years of teaching, and completed my 19th yearbook, my last one – or so I thought. In January 2003, my replacement suddenly resigned, and I was asked to finish the year. My concern for the students forced me back, but I struggled. In addition to facing a staff whose response to me was mixed, I discovered in March that our account, which enjoyed a $4,000 balance in 2001, was now $3,000 in the red.