Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Yearbook -- A Tangible Memory

Today, I'm passing out the school yearbook to the students. In my 34 years of teaching, I have been the yearbook sponsor for 33 years.

My first yearbook in 1982 compared to my last book in 2014. 
It was - and I guess it still is - expected that the beginning teachers sponsor a club or coach a sport. Taking over a club is the way the new guy shows he can handle even more than the rigors of lesson planning, grading, and parent conferences. Just another feather in the cap, as they say. Sometimes it gives a teacher a little bargaining power, especially if he sponsors something no one else wants, like yearbook. :-)

Most of the time, the beginning teacher keeps the club until he gets continuing contract (tenure) and then passes it on to another new teacher. Many times I wondered why I never passed the yearbook to someone else. I have complained a great deal about the extra work, the coaches who don't give me information about their sports, the parents for a variety of reasons, pictures that weren't developed properly (remember film?), etc.

However, being the yearbook sponsor allowed me to get to know a great number of wonderful students differently from just having them in a regular class. We have worked weekends, holidays, and late afternoons after school to meet deadlines. It's easy to get to know people when you are working toward the same goal. All of these students still remember the hard work they put into their book. It's really quite rewarding.

The yearbook is also something tangible that shows that I actually accomplished something that year. There have been some bad years that the book is the only way I can show that I made an impact.
I am not a journalist; I'm more of a producer. I don't enter contests where the yearbook is judged. My pride is that the book is always on time, is paid for, and is usually liked by the majority of the students. So far this year, there haven't been any complaints; however, it's only the first day. They will go home, pour over it, and find every misspelled name and wrong date. Where were they when I needed editors? 

My faculty picture in my first yearbook.

To end on a funny note, here's a picture of a teacher who wore the same outfit in his yearbook photo for 40 years. He was a great planner!