No one involved in the process knows everything they should know to produce a senior tribute for the yearbook. Most parents have never designed, photo-edited or written for a yearbook before. Yearbook designers and the tribute staff have never had children graduate. These two groups — parents and ads/tribute staff — are often at odds in the tribute production process.
Despite our differences, our common purpose is what motivates us: to produce a good book for our audience at a reasonable cost in manpower and dollars. We want to be proud of our efforts. And we have every right to have fun, too.
Yearbook staff members typically form cliques based on previous friendships and their grade levels. Freshmen are often intimidated by the upperclassmen and are reluctant to ask them for help during deadline crunches. New members of any grade are unsure of their roles and how they fit in.
These situations can create an uncomfortable working environment within the classroom. Experienced staff members know how to make newcomers feel welcome in this high-stress environment where they have much to learn.
What a daunting task it is to tell the story of a year in pictures! I helped my students toward that photographic goal 29 times. In all those years, what I still remember vividly is how, at the beginning of each year, the feelings kept creeping back. Can we do it again? Can we do it better?
To help you organize the processing and editing of photographs, here are sample timelines for traditional and digital photography that can be followed by a yearbook photography staff. No matter what your staff size, I believe it is imperative that photographers edit their own negatives. This builds their own initiative and ownership of their work. I used this approach and found that shooters appreciated being able to help usher their images into print.
Follow these simply seven steps to keep your yearbook on track and keep yourself in yearbook nirvana.
As a yearbook adviser, you probably consider yourself indispensable. Yes, you trained your editors to oversee staff as they cover events, design spreads, sell ads, keep the financial records, and distribute the yearbook. It is their book, but you are the adviser. But you ultimately are responsible. So there is no room in your life for the occasional cold or the flu. You trudge forward with the yearbook.
But the yearbook staff trudges forward without you when the adviser has cancer.
I recognized a student in my class from a workshop the previous summer. I talked with her to encourage her to try a different class this year. She looked so sincerely at me as she said, “As soon as I went home last year, I got a job at a dry cleaners so I could be sure to have money enough to come back to this class this year.” Knowing how hard dry cleaning work is, I understood the value this student placed on her workshop experience.
School is real life. Classes are full of students. Some we choose. Some we do not. But as yearbook advisers, we are the adults. We are not to grow for the students. We are not to bend them to fit our images. We are to be alert to opportunities that allow our varied students to develop themselves. The yearbook needs a variety of talents.
When Steven Covey penned his bestseller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he might have visited the typical yearbook room beforehand for ideas. In many of these rooms are the most productive, creative and effective people on the planet.
This is not to say that all yearbook staffs are well-run machines. The ones that struggle may benefit from these tried-and-true methods used by highly effective yearbook staffs.