yearBookin' It

Another year, another yearbook finished. For those that don't have the pleasure of hearing my bitch/moan/brag in person, this is the second year I've been the yearbook adviser at the high school where I teach. I took the job with zero experience, but under the guidance of a fantastic rep from Jostens have started to get the gist. As a whole, this school was year has probably been my best yet (of six)- I had some fantastic kids, taught courses I enjoyed, and started to get settled in at the high school level (including making some new friends). Yearbook was definitely part of it- the 25 teenagers I worked with daily were not only dedicated, but a crap-ton of fun. Plus, this may be the closest I ever get to publishing a book. Some highlights:

The Book
The book itself turned out really well. It's not perfect and is probably nowhere near the caliber of the books from the surrounding high schools, but given our inexperience, and the lack of resources, I think it turned out well. It's like I told my students- it's better than last year's, which is all that we can hope for. The art work turned out pretty cool- a student in the class designed it and then the graphic designers at the plant did some touch up work. Everyone seems to really love the black matte, too. 

Covering the name of our school so you can't stalk me (yes, "Go to dentist!" is written on my hand)
One of my goals is to make sure we the yearbook staff understands that we need to get as many of the 2,400 (or however many) students as possible into the book each year. We do photo bars of candids up the sides of most pages, try to interview kids from the different groups on campus, and remind ourselves that it's not just about sports. I'm really, really lax in my criteria for letting kids join yearbook- this allows me to get a great sample of the student body. We have athletes, scholars, skaters, artists, shy folk, and fashionistas on staff (we are lacking males, though), all bringing something original. 
Two traditions we've started involve the last page and the page numbers. The last page is a farewell picture from the seniors, but never their faces ("it could be any of us"). Last year they wrote out "c/o 2011" on the backs of their shirts and sat on the school sign. This year it was this:

The ending page
We also try to do something original with page numbers. For the previous book we had a felt board with the page numbers and had students hold it up- at least one (or six) kids on each of the 200 pages allowed for a lot more students to be involved. This year we had students design the page numbers- we gave them a piece of card stock with the number painted on and they got to design it however they wanted, as long as it was appropriate. I was worried no one would want to participate, but I literally had hundreds of kids request a number (and about 20 who didn't turn them in, but that's okay). We had some fantastic art work that represented individuals, groups, and organizations.

200 student-created page numbers
I had 25 kids in the class, divided into seven groups. That means each group was responsible for about 8 pages throughout the year. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it really is quite a bit, considering they're responsible for taking the photos, interviewing, laying out, and editing (to the best of their ability). The kids, for the most part, did a really great job making deadlines, trying to be innovative, and communicating with me and the students editor. I was incredibly impressed that when I'd express concern and they'd say "I got this," they really did. We made our deadlines, didn't have too many glaring errors, and met our meager sales goal. 

A Damn Good Time
We had a lot of fun this year- at times I worried maybe a little too much. A lot of the kids I had had before, either in English or from the previous staff. We were constantly laughing and playing games- I often had to remind myself I was in charge. For the last month we literally had nothing to do; the book was done, we had finished as much as we dared to plan for next year, and testing was continuously changing around AP and IB kids' schedules. So, we played games. We played Silent Giraffe with my stuffed animal since I didn't have a ball, they taught me to play Four Corners (so lame), I taught them how to play Scattergories, and there were many rounds of BS (these were all done with EDI lessons, by the way; if you don't know what that is I suggest you keep it that way). We had an end of the year pizza party and this last week they all signed my book telling me how much they loved the class. It was definitely mutual.  

Trying to protect names!
The Future
I am on board for the class next year, but I've made no promises for the years after- scheduling with the other classes I teach has proven to be difficult. You never know, though, I could be doing this for the next twenty years. I am very excited for our upcoming book- we're dong it chronologically, which has more of a timeline feel, rather than specific sections. 

I am extremely sad to have lost a few seniors that I had grown rather fond of and already get a little teary when I think of graduation next year when I lose a bulk of my group. I find myself getting seriously attached to the older kids. The younger ones were always so obnoxious the last week of school I was happy to watch them leave; these guys are a bit wound up too, but I guess I just connect with them more. 

I am, though, definitely looking forward to a deadline-free summer!


  1. The yearbook looks awesome! I love that you make the effort to get peeps in there as much as possible. That's really what everyone wants: more pictures of themselves!

    For some reason I thought you'd been teaching longer, but we've taught the same number of years. (Perhaps it's just because you seem so much wiser that I am.)*

  2. I can only imagine how much work that was, but I'm sure you're proud of your end result! Go Braves!

  3. Great job on the yearbook! It looks great. Don't you just love having a class like this? That is exactly how I felt about my class this year. I actually cried when saying goodbye to them. First time in 7 years. Your class sounds like the kind of class they will remember when they are our age, thinking back at the fun times in life.

  4. What an awesome project. This makes me long for high school all over again. Well done - I think you probably gave your kids memories for a lifetime!