Tag Archives: yearbook

It’s Different

Walking into the scene shop to get started organizing yearbooks, my breath caught and I had to swallow tears. Usually opening the boxes is one of the most joyful moments of the year. There’s music and dancing and awe when the editors have the staff gather round for the unveiling.

The editors take the staff through page by page and tell them stories, and we laugh, even over the pages that made us cry.

And then the kids alphabetize the yearbook boxes, find their books and pour over the pages for an hour. After that we have our awards ceremony and eat.

Then it’s more organizing followed by the staff signing party.

Kids are in and out because they have tests or makeup work or projects to present. The room is constant activity. Constant music—sometimes I have to say “hey, language in the newsroom,” and we laugh and laugh and laugh.

Then we open the doors for early distribution and the signing party.

Sometimes there’s cake.

This year it’s me and DH, and it’s all task oriented. Do this, do that, get done.

Distribution starts Tuesday and runs 3 hours a day through Friday.

I have no idea what to expect.

I don’t have those feel-good moments of watching my editors open their books for the first time. I don’t have video of them going through page by page. I don’t have the happy to get me through the complaints that are simply part of the publication process.

Or the memories of the staff as they look trough their books. This year’s book is the biggest ever for CTHS at 255 pages. The staff would have loved that celebration.

I know I need to shift my mindset. To embrace the happy that happened. But this is hard.

I’m thankful to DH. For 21 years he’s offered to help with yearbooks. Today he got to do it!

I’m so proud of my editors who can’t be with me today but who worked SO HARD. They completed over 100 pages at home in a month on little laptops in quarantine. A parent emailed me in April to see if we were even going to have a yearbook since school closed and nothing happened. I was able to say “oh, no. We had a year and a lot happened. And the end looked different, but we still have a book. And the book even covers the end.” We have four spreads of National COVID coverage—thanks Walsworth— and two spreads of CTHS coverage done with help from all my classes. That’s a victory, a huge thing to be happy over!

I’m so thankful to my school and the support they’ve shown.

One more week.

It’s not the book we planned exactly, some pages had to be replaced, but it will always be the most memorable. And through the bad—thanks Coronavirus—there were some really great moments.

DH helping with yearbooks. ❤️💜💛

Day 5243

The President suggested injecting disinfectant to stop the virus today so there’s that. 😲

I planned on sending out applications to teacher recommended students when we got back to school after spring break.

I sent out the emails today.

I hope some will accept the challenge. And it will be a challenge! But it’s an important thing for us to do. It will be different, but we will still have a year to cover.

Today is the first day in forever I didn’t spend all day on my computer or phone reaching out to my students. I let them email me and responded instead. I can’t do that often but I needed to breathe today.

And I visited my parents for the first time in six weeks. I kept my mask on the whole time and was sanitized. I couldn’t stand being so close and not seeing them. Mom hugged me and I almost started crying because I know that wasn’t safe but she needed that hug and I did too.

I don’t want this to be our new normal.

Expected But

Campuses are closed for the rest of the school year.

I knew that was coming. I agree with the governor’s decision. It’s the only right answer.

And still.

I can’t stop crying.

I can’t stop crying because I really love these kids and I can’t tell them. I can’t call on Teams and have a big mourning session for the end of the year.

I’ve learned I can’t write the words I want to say. Writing has always been the way I best communicate. But in a world where everything is in writing, I’ve lost my words.

I can’t hug the kids. I can’t fix this.

And we have to finish the yearbook.

My editors have worked so hard. Yearbook is fun at school. It’s not fun like this. It’s work with a purpose. It’s learning. But final deadline is not fun. It’s a necessity. And at school we get the payoff, the excitement, the other staffers, teacher support and kids support and admin support.

Now, these kids are doing all the hard without the payoff.

And it’s my job to fix that. It’s my job to find the fun. To figure out a way to celebrate and be a motivator and help them see the importance of what we do.

But I can’t because I can’t stop crying.

I don’t know how to do this.

I don’t want my beautiful editors to finish the year with a negative view of what we do. I don’t want to hurt them with my words. I want to build.

This really sucks.

That is all. Except

I miss school. This isn’t school. But it is what it has to be.

I miss peace and hope.

That’s gone too.

At least right now it is.

I was going to make some scones to eat my emotions, but the strawberries I planned on using are gone, so I can’t even do that.

I know I’ll get through this. I just wish I didn’t have to.

The Good Day

My editors this year are incredible.

Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic. The end of their senior year spent in their homes for at the most part, sometimes at work. But not at school, not where they can direct the end of the production of the biggest yearbook our school has done, not where we can play and laugh and be silly and make fun of each other. Not where they can plan yearbook Olympics and theme parties. Not…And yet, they are finishing.

They are collaborating with their staff, asking for help, doing what they can do to finish this book. They’re uploading and downloading, emailing, texting, snap chatting, doing everything it takes to honor the school with their book.

We’re down to two proof parts to be done. Still a couple weeks to go but so, so close.

I finished the senior tribute for my senior staff members today and cried for a good 30 minutes.

I love these kids. It’s been an honor to serve as their adviser.

Thank you God for the good day.

Comparison is a Joy Thief

If you would have told me social media was going to make me hurt over teaching in the time of Corona, I would have said you were crazy.

But it’s happening.

I’m a mess and there are all these videos and ideas and lessons and shout outs and “We Did Its” and rah-rah-yay! moments and all I can think is WTF?!?! And then I’m in the guilt spiral of why can’t I just be happy for people instead of self-critical about my lack of Yay! And then I’m in a guilt spiral over the guilt spiral over the guilt spiral.

I’m a mess.

But it will get better.

I love you yay people. I’m just not there. I hope I will be. I like being a yay person. This has been a year of non-yay, and that was before Corona. Dang menopause.

Meditation Trial and Error: Tales From the Classroom

When I reach the end of my Calm session and the coach says “okay, now if you’re ready, open your eyes…” I’m never ready.

I have a giant class this semester smack dab in the middle of the day. The class that follows is not big, but they are loud and excited about life all the time.

I asked if they wanted to try breathing with the Calm app and they were all in.

So we sat in a circle and closed our eyes and focused on breathing.

About half the class broke after a minute. They couldn’t stop the laughter.

It does feel awkward to sit silently breathing the first few times you meditate. It’s just weird when we’re so used to constant bombardment from a million different directions. So I get it.

A few of us kept breathing, but the kids who laughed got busy working.

We’ve tried a few more times with the same level of success.

Then yesterday hit and the kids sat in a circle breathing, no laughter, no anything other than breath and peace. When I stopped they said “Nooooooo! That was like a minute.”

Nope. 2 minutes 48 seconds.

We made it to 4 minutes and started work.

Y’all, those four minutes were everything.

The stress of the day was gone for me AND for the class. They were so much more focused in their work. And they could not believe how much time had passed.

We don’t meditate every day, and it’s completely optional. The kids said they wished we would make it an everyday exercise.

Maybe we will.

I just really like this new leggings print.

Living Deliberately

Maybe that headline is little too much, but I’m making a point to be a more aware of my time second semester.

It’s super easy to get caught in work and to live in the newsroom. I like it there. It’s fun. I like the kids. We do great work. The students like 80s music and will jump into a dance party on demand. I mean, yeah. It’s AWESOME.

But I need to reclaim my time. And they need to reclaim theirs.

Yes, after school deadlines are part of my world. No, staying after school every day is not healthy, wise or a good lesson for my kids.

So…

I have a signup sheet on the table. If kids need to work after school outside of designated work nights or past the 30 minutes I’m always here, they have to sign up on Monday for the week. They can’t stay after Friday. We’ll see about Saturday mornings. They’re fun but they make the weekend short, and that’s not good for any of us.

This live deliberately goal will require all of us to plan better. It will also encourage us to do more outside the classroom.

I want my room to be vibrant and alive and exciting and fun. But I want us all to be healthy with the time we spend.

We’ll see how it works. 😊👩‍💻👏

An aside: you guys, Quest chips are LCHF heaven.

What I’m Loving: coffee, Diet Dr Pepper, these temperatures, Quest chips, LCHF, our yearbook cover, the scene I just wrote in my WIP, getting all my electrolytes in, the Daily Calm

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Doubt Demons

I passed out doubt demons in class today. I started class showing off mine. His name is Freddy.

I told the kids I write novels and love words and help edit others’ work, and still there are times I sit at the computer and hate everything about everything. I hate the way the words look, they way they feel when I say them, the scene they’re part of. I hate the commas and periods and pronouns. I hate it all. And if I let it, that feeling will consume me and the work and it’s so bad I just want to trash it all and start something shiny and new and fun. Something I can LOVE. But with my doubt demon around, I can pick him up, put him on my finger and say, “Not today, Freddy. Not today.”

After I told my story, I broke out the demons and invited the kids to choose their own. No one had to, but if they wanted one, they could take one, name it and have it out at their workstations while they work the rest of the year.

I thought I’d been pretty open about my writing, but as I told my story today my kids sat there listening and nodding their heads and even saying “Yes!” at times. They’re halfway through the year and they’ve faced all the doubt struggles that come with interviewing and writing and designing and photo stories. They know their work is going to be published and it lasts forever and the pressure is real. Some of them write creatively outside our class. They understand doubt. But until today I don’t think it ever really connected that I know doubt too.

I hope the doubt demons help us all banish the negativity and embrace the reality that the doubt is just part of the process.

*I ordered my doubt demons at Archie McPhee.

I’m thankful to Angelique L’Amour who introduced me to Doubt Demons at last year’s DFW Writers Conference. If you get a chance, definitely take her classes!

What I’m Loving: Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead, LCHF, Finals!, Saginaw Night Writers, Quest nacho cheese flavored chips

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Books I’ve Loved This Year: Atomic Habits, Dumplin’

Lessons

Be kind.

Help others.

Event + Response = Outcome

Everyone is just as busy as you are. We all have the same 24 hours.

When you’re feeling down, do for others. It will make you feel better.

When making a parent phone call, put yourself in that parent’s position and ask yourself what you would want to hear.

You can’t take words back.

Don’t speak in anger.

The universe listens and responds.

The Serenity Prayer is real.

The Golden Rule is real.

Say yes more.

Learn to say no.

You do you.

Written goals are better.

Dream big.

Make your own fun.

Perfection is impossible.

Deadlines are deadlines.

A clean desk is possible.

A messy desk isn’t a moral failure.

Ask.

Listen.

Love.

21st Century Education: Yearbook

A few years ago someone asked me if yearbooks were even relevant anymore.

I was ready with my standard response: Kids in publications classes learn to communicate effectively, collaborate, problem solve, question why, tell their community’s story creatively and work on a deadline under massive stress in complete chaos. Relevant? Check out the 21st century education skill sets demanded by today’s top corporations and you’ll see yearbook checks almost every box. With design and surveys, it even makes the math cut.

Yearbook, newspaper and journalism classes aren’t just about the end product. BUT the end product does, in education speak, show mastery of the skills learned in the course. In yearbook’s case, the book encapsulates the school year FOREVER. In 50 years the book will be what people turn to to learn about the past. The yearbook is the school in book format.

Yearbook is not just relevant, it’s essential.

(More on this tomorrow.)