March 14, 2009

Yearbook Deadlines, Taking Photos, Feeling Pride

Yearbook deadline is killing me.

We have taken a lot of pictures this year, and the staff members, it seems are always wandering out to just shoot some pictures. How we are short, I don't know. Okay, I do. They take a lot, but we are down to icky pictures and same ole kids. We simply need more.

We're down to the mass candid pages in the back of the book. It's middle school. Our book is small. You know, those pages with just kids doing stuff. Not a crisis. A crisis is a lack of sports pictures after the season ends. Pictures of students being themselves? Easy! Just get it done!

I sent one of my editors out during one of my English classes (she was finished with her work) to take some candids. I told her to go to the cafeteria during breakfast to get some good picts. Those kids are just hanging around, and they WANT to have their pictures taken with their friends. THEY'LL POSE! Tell them to stop flashin' their signs or they won't be in the book. They do it, or you go to another group. How easy? She came back a few minutes later, telling me nothing was going on. I told her to go back in 10 minutes. She never did. She just wanted to sit down and read her book. I was so irritated with her!

I sent out a different staff member from another English class, and she came back with a bunch of pictures. (Nice to have the smart kids who finish everything early in my English classes and who are on my staff, too.) Unfortunately, most of them were blurry. Irritating under the gun, but I can't be too mad because at least she tried to help out. She took some cool pictures of a chess match. She has a great eye for perspective--if only she would stand still when she pushes the little button.

I spent my prep trying to get those extra pictures. I sneaked into 15 classrooms and shot about 60 decent shots. How damn hard is it? Of course, the teachers might be nicer to me than my wandering staff members, but I enter and leave without speaking to anyone. That's what they've been told to do, too. Phantom photographer. Some of the teachers help by asking their students to grab their projects to show or to look up and smile.

Of course, I really needed to use my prep to proof and print pages so I could get them to my administrator. Now I'll be giving them to her when I need to back desperately soon. "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part." She would never say that, but now I am in the vulnerable position of that famous saying.

I went to the basketball game after school because I was summoned by the dean to get a photo of the winner of the free throw shot contest at halftime. I took probably another 25 shots of fans in the stands. Easy peasy. They begged me to take pictures of them. They posed. They smiled. They threw up signs. I told them I wouldn't take the picture. They stopped.

In the course of one day, a little over an hour's worth of time, I have so many pictures of beautiful, smiling, happy students. Nearly a 100 to choose from. Of course, I've been doing this a while, and I have fewer mistakes, but initiative helps.

Not that hard.

After we're done with the book, I'll send my picts to the broadcasting class for the 8th grade video they produce at the end of the year.

I've already passed on pictures to the magnet coordinator for the banner they're making for the Magnet Schools of America conference (we are getting an award again).

(I know some yearbook advisors would never share pictures, but as long as it doesn't ruin my yearbook surprise or sales, it's no big deal to me.)

These last two points have nothing to do with my yearbook crisis, but I think it's cool that our staff contributes to other areas of our school. I think it would be cooler if I could say that ALL of the pictures were taking by our wonderfully talented students. Instead, I get the credit. Bummer for them. Another day at the office for me.

I am really so petty that I would take credit for all of the pictures? Hardly. I tried to get some pictures out of the magnet coordinator because I knew she's been trying to capture the essense of our school when I took my pictures to share with her. She would not surrender them. She took our pictures with relief and said, "Oh good! You all take much better pictures than I do!" Not me. My staff. The pictures I gave her were taken by all of us.

We all collectively get credit for the yearbook and the photography, as we don't tag credits on our photos. But you know how it goes when the books come in or they see their own photos on the video. The students say to their friends and family, "Look! I took that picture!" If I end up taking most of the pictures, they lose out on that source of pride. Oh, I am proud of my good shots, too, but I'd rather be proud of them for theirs. Either way, I feel good.

What do they get? My irritation and no glory. Man, it must suck to be on the yearbook staff.

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