Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yearbook and the Moment I've Been Expecting Since my First Year

Over the last school year, I have alluded to the challenges of my first year as yearbook adviser.  I haven't really had the energy to go into it because sometimes something sucks so much that it's not worth the emotion and energy it takes to write it down.  Yearbook was like being a first year teacher again.  Here is why:  I had no idea what I was doing, I had no idea how to manage the kids, I lived under constant fear (self-imposed) of being fired, the kids had absolutely no concern at all about the yearbook or their grade in the class, and that was all just the first few weeks!  After many nights of insomnia worrying about how I was going to meet deadlines and many afternoons coming home frustrated to the point of tears, I am happy to say that a yearbook I am proud of was uploaded on time.  I also came to have a great relationship with the kids and we became a family.  I went from saying no way on this earth would I ever do yearbook again to being excited about next year.  I am in the process now of interviewing staff (which is nice, because I can pick kids I know and have a relationship with) and making plans for next year.

Typically, the staff should consist of well-behaved, bright students, who are motivated and require little supervision.  But since there are only about a dozen of those in the entire school...bwahahahaha!  No seriously, I've got some good kids coming in.  I also picked a student that I actually failed in English 10 last year.  Jordan is good-natured and personable, but he slept through most of my class last year and never turned any work in.  When I called his dad, I was told that, "Jordan has a first class case of the 'I don't give a shits' and we are out of ideas."  This year, Jordan has matured quite a bit and also comes to visit me every single day.  He volunteered to do work for the yearbook, taking pictures after school, to prove to me that he deserved a chance.  He is a great example of not only how a kid can mature over the course of high school, but how building a relationship with a teacher can facilitate that. 

Other big news--the moment I've been expecting since about 8 weeks into my first year teaching, came when our principal announced that he is leaving.  I'm not sure what exactly the story is, other than that his five year contract is up and either he decided not to renew it or the county did.  I have mixed feelings about his leaving.  On the one hand, after a rocky start, he and I have built a great relationship and I know that he likes, respects, and trusts me.  He also has been very supportive of me in some pretty intense situations (see my previous blog post for an example).  For better or worse, I understand how the school works with him as the head of it and know how to navigate it.  That said, it would be super awesome if we can get a real ball buster in there who the teachers all can get behind and who the students can respect and trust.  I am hoping that one of our current vice principals gets the position. 

Finally, I am back to enjoying teaching again.  After months of the tedium of teaching 5 paragraph persuasive essays to prep for the SOL, I am so excited to get back to the kind of creative lesson planning that teaching literature can inspire.  With us into the last quarter of the year, which always flies by, I know that summer will be here soon enough.

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