Budget – Again, this is something you will need to sit down and talk to your company rep about the first week of school or before. Once you know what the overall bill will be, you can work backwards to begin collecting money. We sell business advertisements and senior tribute advertisements to help lower the cost of the book for our students. I teach in a very rural school district, and I wanted as many students to have the opportunity to purchase a book as possible, so the ad sales help. It’s important to know the end goal up front, so you don’t overspend on book design extras, etc. My full yearbook curriculum has an entire teaching pack included for business sales, etc.
Equipment Organization and Photography – Whether you have a small staff or a large staff with a lot of equipment or a little, there has to be a system to keep up with everything so it’s all protected. My staff has several cameras, lens, etc. and each staff has a laptop as well. Before they can even use the equipment, they must sign a release form. My principal approved my form, and I hand it out on the first day. Next, I have system for check outs. Anything checked out must be signed out and signed back in. For the computers and other materials, each student has a bucket and a cubby. Last, one of the most important things you can do to protect images and keep them organized is to require each student to have his/her own memory card. In the past, I’ve supplied those cards and they get lost, stolen, broken, and/or erased. Once I started requiring staffers to have their own cards, those problems were almost nonexistent.
In all, I realize there is a lot of turnover in the yearbook adviser world, and rightfully so. It’s not an easy job for many reasons: deadline stress, money worries, drama from staffers, unsupportive admin and/or faculty, nosy or apathetic community members, subpar publishing companies, and the list goes on and on. So, if you are a new or newish yearbook adviser, I hope I can share something from my struggles along the way that can help you. If you have a little bit of extra time, stop over by my FB page and watch my webinar on “Getting Started as a Yearbook Adviser.”
So…..my #1 tip for new yearbook advisers? Eat the elephant one bite at a time. You can’t change the world — or a yearbook program — in a day!
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