Apocalypse: Yearbook

For some of you it might be the cold weather making it harder for you to breathe. For others, it could very well be the warmer weather trying to fight it's way into March like a boxing star, creating all them fronts adding to your allergies and headaches galore.

March's weather messes with us, but the reason I can't breathe right now is due to the yearly syndrome that is Yearbook COPD. I'm still waiting for Eli Lily to come up with a breathing treatment so I can't get through this part of the year with less tightness in my chestual regions.

Alas, I guess it's what I signed up for when I scribbled my name across the dotted line of my teacher contract.

For most of the year, helping students brainstorm ideas, write stories and understand basic design is enjoyable. Challenging, but enjoyable.

At the middle school level, yearbook classes don't normally exist. A yearbook is usually left to the devices of a math teacher that is the lowman on the totem pole (nobody usually wants to be in charge of the yearbook, so it's handed off on some new teacher who's willing for the sake of a job...they do it for a couple of years, and then pass it on to the next assuming youngin' fresh off the farm).

Typically, said Totem Pole Lowman has a handful of misfit students who are in charge of creating a yearbook after school, and just like any club, since it's not mandatory, attendance is shaky at best.

The math teacher not only has to be a math teacher, but create a book with which they have no training.

My training was shaky at best. I learned good habits as a student teacher, helping out with the yearbook...but the best way to understand the management of a yearbook is to manage a yearbook.

It's on the job training.

And guess what? Each year is completely different. Just when you think you've figured it all out -- there's some guy hiding in the shadows, well-equipped with all the wrenches.

The one thing that has gotten better with each year is my organization: I am the gatekeeper of the yearbook. I know what is going on which page, I know what we're missing, I know what we have too much of, and I orchestrate my students to write the stories and get the photos to help make sure we've covered a good measure of the school.

It's never perfect.

As an elective in middle school, I'm a class that is about exploration: try out photography, try out design, try out a different style of writing. I only get to keep you for 9 weeks, and then my classes rotate, and I have to train another group of students. It's all I've ever known, so it makes sense to me.

At this point in the year, with a looming deadline, it's all about sitting down and editing pages, making sure they're as perfect as can be, and submitting them to the publisher. This is the hard part because the book is technically in my hands. It's up to me.

What makes it hard to breathe this year is all the other things I need to do, too. I still need to write lessons, I still need to grade, I still need to teach class.

So, as per usual, I will continue to beware my own Ides of March.