Time to sit on the beach, book in hand, and soak up the sun. Not so fast. For yearbook advisers, Spring Break is either your deadline or a to-the-finish line panic attack.
Here are some tips to help ease your mental fatigue and energize the staff to submit those final signatures. Plus, you can keep your staffers working happily as they cross the finish line.
Check the details. It might seem like you’re on the downhill slide with only a few pages left. Before closing out the pages, be sure:
- All ads have been approved by a parent or guardian and payment received.
- Names have been tagged on the last few pages, including the group photos.
- If you’re including sports, clubs and big events in the index, double check you didn’t move them from their original spot on the ladder to another page.
- Athletes and club members are identified in group photos. Ask the coach/adviser to help identify the students in the picture if you didn’t get the names at the time the pictures were taken. Have a responsible student type in the names.
Help the staff relax. Hold a two-minute relaxation session after you’ve taken attendance (see sidebar). Most teens have a lot going on – they will appreciate a “reset.”
Set the tone. If you’re a maniac, they’ll be maniacs. If you’re calm and in control, they will follow your lead. One way is to make sure your desk is cleaned off before you go home. Sounds silly, but if you face a disorganized, messy desk the minute you flip on the classroom lights, that sets the tone for your day.
“What, no graduation pictures?” If your school is new to a spring delivery instead of a summer delivery, you’ll have to answer the naysayers. The reasons for a spring delivery? When students have the opportunity to have friends sign in their book, the yearbook becomes a unique keepsake item. When students, especially seniors, are finished with school in May, they are done. They do not want to come back for a book. For those who insist on having the end-of-the-year events photographed, include a Facebook QR code in the book noting spring events are posted online. Use your Facebook page to post those photos.
Do not let staffers slack off. No, they cannot play on their phones during this time frame. No, they cannot do their English paper. No, they cannot text. Their spreads are finished? Help someone else.
Empty pages? There are 500 freshmen at your school but only 400 took pictures. You have empty pages and only days to finish. Don’t panic – here are some suggestions:
Q&A Page – Which Disney film do they prefer – the classics or the remakes? Favorite cookie, favorite pizza topping, etc.
Morning hang-out spots.
Transportation. Cars in the parking lot, students getting on and off the bus, who walks to school, rides a bike or scooter, parent pick-up line.
The Library. Photograph students with books that were popular this year. Feature what happens in the library – clubs, games, research papers, etc.
Who’s wearing it? Photos of backpacks, shoes, etc. and match to the student.
Keep your staff on track and you just might find yourself on that beach reading a book during Spring Break!
How to lead a short relaxation service:
1. Put a “do not disturb” sign on the outside of your classroom door. Overhead lights should be off. Use mini twinkle lights or a couple of lamps to set a serene mood.
2. Put on calming music – YouTube has a variety of meditation/studying/spa channels. Be sure you find one without ads – that interruption will break the mood.
3. Have students put their heads down on the desk, close their eyes and lead them through steps to relaxation. Breathe in and out. “Inhale… hold it… breathe out… feel yourself relaxing, letting the tension go… breathe in… hold it… breathe out slowly.”
4. Have them tense their muscles and then release so they can feel the difference between tense and relaxed. “Close your eyes really tight and then relax. Grit your teeth, and then relax. Tense your shoulders and then relax. Breathe in… breathe out…” Start by asking them to relax their eyes, face, and neck and continue through their stomach, legs, feet, hands and fingers.
5. Let the music play for a full minute; don’t talk and watch them. When you can see they are really relaxed, tell them they are in a deep state of meditation. Whenever they want, they can go back to this state by remembering the music, your voice, how they felt. Have one more full minute of quiet and then tell them to open their eyes when they’re ready.