Every day, I look forward to working with my students, especially my yearbook staff. I love having a creative outlet, where I can talk about “non-English" things, like graphic design, typography, and pop culture. I love talking about developing a style in journalism and the ethics and duties of a journalist. I love playing with a computer. I love teaching the staff how to make the idea in their heads match what is ultimately printed.
See, yearbook—journalism, in general—is the most collaborative, real-world experience most of my students have access to. Here, they have complete control over a gargantuan undertaking. They are afraid to mess up because they want it to be right. It is their yearbook. Here, they talk to each other about life matters, but also about the proper place for a comma in that list about Zac’s favorite bands. Here, they realize that language isn’t about national standards or state exams; here, it is about communication and effect. Here, they tie the verbal to the visual in a way few English classes can effectively do.
I fell into this position of yearbook advisor by chance, and I was nervous when I took over. But, I couldn’t imagine my chaotic day without this hilarious bunch of professionals who contradict the pervading stigma that teenagers are immature, irresponsible, ignorant twits that need to be controlled.