Tag Archives: TAJE

J-Teacher and Proud of It

21010_84342_0(There’s a request for comments at the end of this. PLEASE comment!)

I love my job. It’s stressful, crazy, political, time intensive. It’s teacher, counselor, motivational speaker, cheerleader, project manager, classroom facilitator, photographer-photography teacher-camera man, advertising manager, marketing director, technology guru, technology support, Adobe Genius, Apple aficionado, sound checker, light checker, mic checker, school supply-battery-Duck tape-Sharpie-supplier, Mom  all rolled in to one.

I’m sure I left something out.

But still,  love my job. In spite of 12-15 hour days, in spite of summer months spent at camps without being paid for the time, in spite of meals missed and mad momma phone calls and a $0 budget, I love my job. To me it’s the best job in the world.

Here’s why:

Yearbook and newspaper and AV are outcome-based products, produced collaboratively by students for students using project management, high tech, and problem solving skills. Students leave journalism programs strong writers with an eye for design and the ability to use professional programs that get them real world jobs right out of high school and paying jobs on college/university staffs. They know how to work in chaos–probably the most underrated skill learned in the newsroom. Remember dorms? Me, too. If you can’t concentrate on the work in front of you even though there’s a tequila line outside your door, you’re in trouble.

Our kids learn note-taking skills like one other. They learn to discern the important stuff and read between the lines and question authority RESPECTFULLY. They learn ethics and editing and how to be on a crazy-insane-OhMiGodI’mGoingToDIE Deadline and survive SUCCESSFULLY…even if it’s done at the very last second.

Our kids learn how to manage commercial budgets and sell an invaluable product to a community to make that budget happen.

Our kids learn how to produce quality products in 45 minute classes and time spent after school while learning Elvish or Spanish or Sonic-ese on the side. And they learn the difference between analysis and news, unlike most people today.

Media literacy problems? Not with J-kids.

Our yearbook kids produce the ONE thing that stays with the school forever. When anthropologists look at what teenagers were like in 2013, they’ll look at yearbooks because they last forever. Technology can’t compete. DVDs are almost passe, and my kids don’t even know how to use the boom box in my classroom, but they can go to that 1962 Rider yearbook, and they totally know what to do. THEY LOVE THAT BOOK. It’s the first Rider book and it tells the Rider story. It’s the only thing that can.

Our newspaper and A/V kids serve as the voice of the students body, the defenders of the constitution. When I tell my kids that, they think I’m kind of crazy until we start talking about it, and they realize how absolutely essential they are to a quality school environment.

J-classes are some of the most important classes on a campus. It’s why when you look at the 21st Century Classroom description, you can line it up next to a J-class and check, check, check…all the way down the list. We are cutting edge. We are forward thinking. We are the 21st Century Classroom, which is funny since I’ve been in the high school newsroom since I was 15…back in the day of cut and paste and lightboards and headline counts from hell. But you know what? Back then we were cutting edge 1980s technology. (We even had a computer that worked with something other than C:    )

That’s the nature of high school journalism, and it’s why quality schools have quality high school J-programs.

Yep. I love my job. And I’ll fight for it forever.

If you were on your high school J-staff (yearbook, newspaper, broadcast), tell me how it impacted your life in a positive way whether you’re in the industry or not OR drop me a line at marybeth AT marybethlee DOT com. I’d love to be able to show people why my classes matter.

THANKS!

JCamp 101

I don't have the kids' permission to post pics of them to my blog, or I'd have a pic of them working!

I don’t have the kids’ permission to post pics of them to my blog, or I’d have a pic of them working!

Yearbook camp at Rider this week has been amazing. It’s not just my kids. I invited all the area schools. Iowa Park, Hirschi and Graham have been in the room with several of my kids. So far we’ve learned more about story and photography and how to critique. Tomorrow we start design and the kids will be get busy working on actual products they can take back to their rooms for use in their yearbooks and papers. MSU Professor Bradley Wilson and two of my former students–one in training to be an adviser, one already an adviser–are there helping. It’s AMAZING. Two yearbook companies have donated supplies. Balfour brought adviser gifts and fun stuff for the kids. Walsworth gave us food yesterday and brought supplies. My rep Brian would have taught, but photo ran over on time, which was totally cool because the kids learned so much. He’s coming back Thursday to help instead.

My vision when I decided to do this camp was to improve scholastic journalism in the area and to let everyone know about TAJE, our state J organization.

The reality is so much more than I ever could’ve imagined.

Yep, I love my job. #

 

 

I love conferences

I’ve learned so much and been inspired and written lots. This conference has been a true blessing. I did learn from someone today that contractions aren’t to be used in writing EXCEPT in quotes. This was news to me.
Actually the person who told me this did a great job for the most part. And until she told me this, I listened to her. Once those words came out of her mouth, I think my eyebrows landed somewhere in the vicinity of Mars, I said REALLY???! and that was the end of that. My students had to hold their hands over their mouths to keep from laughing.
Ah well. Hopefully this person NEVER gets my book to judge in anything super important. Somehow, I feel confident she’d HATE all our stories. We use contractions on a pretty regular basis. 🙂
She really was nice. And she gave some good pointers too. I’m just appalled that a writing teacher thinks contractions aren’t supposed to be used. I wonder which guardian of language destroyed her ability to craft story.
I probably should’ve told her what I thought of that rule. But I had students with me and I thought that would be wrong. Especially since she spent a lot of time on our book. And she gave some amazing Photoshop pointers I plan on using immediately.
Tomorrow we go home. But first, we get to hear the absolutely AMAZING Thomas French. (I wonder if he knows you’re not supposed to use contractions? I bet it’s a box on the Pulitzer checklist.)
Today also I went to a class given by Pine Tree yearbook. They’re from Longview. and they’ve had hundred of evacuees in their town. Their yearbook staff has set up a blog where high school reporters help tell evacuee stories. It’s amazing! If you get a chance, check it out.

Gold Medal, Conference escape, Sometimes husbands really screw up!

Last year’s yearbook earned Gold Medal status from Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Woo Hoo!!!!
Publication competitions are a lot like manuscript contests. Last year my book got SLAMMED. This year, they love us. I love us too, so I ignore the slam years. 🙂

I’m in San Antonio this weekend with two of my editors. We’re attending the TAJE conference. I love this conference. It’s so uplifting. And BOY do I need uplifting!
And I needed the escape from home to finish this book!

Speaking of home, I just reminded DH he wouldn’t see much of me from now until December (Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!). His response: That sucks. But it’ll be okay AS LONG AS YOU MAKE SUPPER.
Poor, poor man.
He’s just earned himself a month of bologna.
Worst part: He has no idea why I’m upset.
If I needed proof, I’ve got it now. Men ARE from Mars.
I think I’ll pick up a bologna cookbook while I’m here. Maybe I can find a recipe with spinach. He hates spinach. 🙂