Learning Something New

A change is as good as a rest.

I had a great afternoon sitting at Pizza My Heart with my buddy Caille.  The conversation, like all conversations between teachers, was a meandering web of interconnected ADD ideas, anecdotes, complaints, and concerns.  Needless to say, it was exhilarating.

As we wove around, we discussed what it feels like to come home after work and not be engaged in our personal life.  I understand this a lot as I’ve actually CRASHED quite often over the past month — one minute awake, the next asleep.  I feel that I’m failing my family — not spending enough time with Taed and Keb.  I’m sure they would agree. They are a family unit, and I’m someone who lives here.

A huge part of the conversation focused on WHY do we feel so tired, disengaged, or burned out at the end of the day.  We got around to the importance of collaboration, challenge, and learning on changing this overwhelming feeling.  I couldn’t agree more.  I feel like the days when I’m most exhausted are those where it was an uphill battle of “same old, same old”.  I get why the kids stop caring about school because when I do the same thing day in and day out, I’m not inspired plus, I’m pretty sure, I’m not inspiring.  That sucks as a revelation; yet, it’s important in my progression as a professional.

However, I can say that, as stressful as putting together the yearbook was for me, it was also fun and exciting.  By having a goal where I could actually SEE the results, I was able to push myself.  This is interesting because I had been fairly reticent about goal setting in my actual academic world.  Then again, every time I did to change something, I could see the results immediately.  That’s pretty encouraging.  It means, of course, I have to change HOW I teach and access.  I can do that; I just need help.  And probably a partner in crime. 🙂

While the yearbook was a painful experience because it just DID not work out as I expected, here’s what I learned.

  • Start planning the day school starts
  • Get the whole staff involved — share your expectations
  • Design pages as you go — plan the pictures so you get the results you want
  • Make sure that proofs are sent out in time for teachers to respond
  • Standardize layouts
  • Give responsibilities to students
  • Make sure to communicate often and be forgiving of people whose priorities are different from yours
  • Start the year with a cover competition
  • Advertise and sell early and often
  • Sell advertisements to parents and local businesses
  • Make sure the book represents the community
  • Establish a good team of people — the support of others (positive talk or roll-up-your-sleeves) is key to success

This week I realized that I could happily teach yearbook skills all year.  The change, while hard and challenging, was good for me.  I learned a lot.

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