April 7, 2002 / Spring 2002 / Staff Management

Remember to Add Fun

Written by Karla Sprague

Let’s face it. Yearbook is tough, and it’s not always fun and games. The important thing is to take even the toughest and most frustrating moments and learn from them. Sometimes, you can even turn them into something fun.

As a middle school adviser, my first yearbook staff (three years ago) caused me to spend a considerable amount of time in the principal’s office crying or complaining. It was not a good experience, and I dreaded going to that class.

But I did not give up. Instead, as an opening to a yearbook staff meeting, I gave everyone a balloon and a piece of paper.

We talked about the problems the staff had been having. Anyone who had a gripe or concern was allowed to voice it without harming other people.

Then I asked them to write their gripe or concern on the piece of paper, put it in the balloon, and blow it up. I told them that once they put their problems into the balloon, they were nothing but hot air. We put the balloons into trashcans, carried them down to the gym and had a balloon-popping race.

The staff was divided into two teams and they had to sit on the balloon – just like the game you might have had at your 8th birthday party. By the time we were fin-ished, everyone had forgotten about their gripes. The problem was “gone” once we sat on the balloons (having also discussed them prior to the race).

Most of my middle school students just want to be heard. This was a therapeutic and fun way to release some frustration.

Now, I do lots of fun activities with my staffs, including going to the haunted houses downtown every fall, and going ice skating in the winter. I try to do things I would have liked to do as a kid (and still want to do now!) It helps my staffs bond and helps me stay sane!

Karla Sprague