Advice for New Advisers

From JEA listserv

  • You must build trust with the kids, and kids must trust each other
  • Nutella and graham crackers is always a help
  • Kids with diabetes can generally still snack on pretzels
  • Set up a wall with everything visually presented for the year- deadlines, teams, etc.  Keep it updated.
  • Role play what you will do when a kid answers, “Oh, I didn’t do it because I was busy.”  It decreases the amount of slapping, I’ve found.
  • Photographers must understand low light shooting- must must must- it’s too late when the photog comes back with blurry pictures
  • Some coaches and club advisers are impossible, but their kids still matter, so 5% of the adults will take 95% of the time to get the information
  • A few parents be crazy, yo.
  • A photo only on a memory card isn’t really a photo.  A photo on a PAGE is a photo; until then it’s just a good intention.
  • Empower the editor
  • Keep the principal in the loop
  • You can either have exciting extras in the book, or miss deadlines – sometimes there isn’t enough budget for both
  • It takes longer to agree on t-shirts than a theme; I don’t know why
  • Pepperoni pizza is 3x more popular than cheese; order accordingly
  • A teenage boy eats as much pizza as is put in front of him; put distance between the two make the boys go back for more
  • If you order in food, and the order is messed up, USE THIS as a moment to explain how we respond when others make errors. This comes back big time at the end of the year when our mistakes are out there for everyone to see.
  • Mistakes happen when we rush
  • Freshmen athletes get the worst gym times (or pool times, or field times) and so deserve amazing coverage; freshman moms are easy to win over and are very loyal all four years
  • 8×10 pictures of the athletes playing, printed for $1.50 at Costco, warms even the coldest coaches heart
  • No player (nor coach, nor club adviser) knows the actual name of any of the other players.  No one knows why
  • Kids who jump into pictures aren’t clever, they are parasites that sometimes require a reshoot, and a consequence
  • You can’t make everyone happy.  Start with yourself, then the staff, then get a beer, and then tackle the rest
  • Mistakes happen, which is why God made crack-and-peel stickers and tip-ins.  These are not admissions of defeat, but corrective treatments.
  • A seasoned yearbook adviser can make the apocalypse feel like a garden party; but there is only one way to get that experience.
  • As hard as this is, this is the students’ book.  It’s not for me, nor the parents, nor the administration, nor the school board.  This is their year, their experience, their effort and their success (or failure).  This is the most lasting thing they have produced so far- yearbooks are FOREVER, and good advisers work hard to make sure every kid on staff can be justifiably proud of the book.  Only when you really understand what you are trying to do will you realize how impossible it is.  That’s when the fun starts!


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