Photo by: Elizabeth Braden

New yearbook advisers receive oodles of information at Adviser Academy

Written by Sarah Scott

Following a welcoming opening session on Monday, the 35 new yearbook advisers attending Walsworth’s Adviser Academy filed next door to their classroom.

Instructor Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, Walsworth Yearbooks sales rep and former award-winning yearbook adviser, opened the session by taking questions.

She asked, “What do you hope to learn?”

The advisers said they hope to learn how to work smarter, not harder. They brought up concerns about how to keep the students motivated throughout the school year.

As everyone introduced themselves, it became clear these advisers had a wide and varied range of experience. Some first-year advisers had been teaching for many years before taking over yearbook. Many were about to begin their first year of teaching. Backgrounds ranged from teachers of English, journalism, art and health/sex ed to one biologist-turned-teacher.

Monday morning’s session was all about getting started.

Schmitz discussed the different styles of advising – hands-on, coach or mentor. She encouraged the new yearbook advisers to consider what their role will be in the upcoming school year and how involved they will choose to be.

She covered important aspects such as staying organized, meeting with editors, and establishing a relationship with parents. She cautioned that yearbook isn’t like other classes, so meeting with parents is beneficial. She explained how and why to get on the good side of fellow teachers and coaches.

Schmitz gave tips on preparing the yearbook room, working with editors, and teaching students to take themselves seriously as journalists.

A large part of the class was devoted to stepping back. Schmitz discussed the breakdown of duties and what responsibilities should be left for students to handle.

In the discussion on setting procedures for the classroom, Schmitz covered how games can be used for two purposes – they’re fun for students, but also serve to identify leaders and problem-solvers in the group.

The morning’s final pieces of advice: build your network, join yearbook organizations, utilize social media, reach out and don’t try to reinvent the wheel your first year.

Ripped construction paper played a major part in Monday afternoon’s session. While explaining the basics of design, Schmitz had the first-year advisers rip up construction paper and lay it out according to the rules they’d just learned.

She explained that it’s a good activity to test students’ knowledge of design. The pieces represented photos and text boxes in a page layout – and gave these advisers an opportunity to practice their layout in an easy-to-change method.

Sarah Scott
Sarah Scott

Sarah Scott is a content writer for Walsworth, specializing in blog posts, eBooks and case studies for the web. She’s been writing most of her life, and previously worked as a radio journalist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.