Idea File - 2017 Spring

Teaching Moment

Robin Sawyer 2017-03-07 01:53:51

5 LESSONS LEARNED IN YEARBOOK CLASS Yearbook is an elective that sometimes gets a bad reputation for being a fluff class, an easy A, some say. Few of my former students would say that. In fact, some 20 years after taking yearbook, I’ve had former students say it was one of the most demanding classes they ever took in high school, and it taught them a great deal more than journalism. I surveyed some of these former students and compiled a list of 5 Life Lessons. Here’s a summary you can use as you recruit your next staff: DON'T SPEND MORE THAN YOU MAKE. Remember when you wanted to add some amazing extras to your book and your adviser said, "We can't afford that because y'all didn't meet your advertising budget." Ouch. That hurt. But you can apply that same principle throughout life. Whether you're trying to decide which entree to order for dinner or how much you can afford for rent, it all comes down to money. THE LITTLE THINGS ARE HUGE. Yearbook advisers are notorious for going to great lengths to make sure staffs understand the importance of spelling EVERY name correctly, getting quotes right and checking facts. Why? There's no such thing as a small mistake when you're face-to-face with the person you've wronged. It's the same feeling you'll have in college when that silly mistake is the difference between an A and a B on an important assignment or when you're facing your boss after you've made a careless error. THERE'S A REASON THEY'RE CALLED DEAD-LINES Yearbook folks know that if their work isn't done on time, they are dead meat! Creative people are often big procrastinators. They're constantly tweaking and perfecting. Having to perfect and submit pages on a strict deadline teaches this skill in a way not learned in other classes, except maybe in newspaper. Ultimately, being able to manage your time is essential to your success in college and the real world. IF THE TEAM WINS, I WIN. The best organizations understand the importance of teamwork. Imagine a cart being pulled by four horses that are all going in the same direction. Now imagine that same cart with four horses pulling the four wheels in different directions. What happens to the cart? The wheels come off. The same is true for a yearbook staff. Each year the adviser pulls together a pool of different personalities with a variety of skillsets to reach a common goal. When each member of the group is pulling his or her own weight without needing to get credit for that work, the result can be amazing. CLICHES ARE NOT ALWAYS CLICHE. While your yearbook adviser will surely edit cliches out of your copy, some are the inspiration needed to get the job done. "Nothing worth having comes easy." "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." i ON THE WEB For more Teaching Moment columns, go to Robin Sawyer is a retired journalism adviser from North Carolina, where she taught at First Flight and Manteo high schools. She earned the JEA's Lifetime Achievement Award, a CSPA Gold Key and the NSPA's Pioneer Award. Sawyer was named the Dow Jones National Journalism Teacher of the Year in 2000, and was the first high school journalism teacher ever selected to serve on the Dow Jones News Fund Foundation Board.

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