NEVER! There is always an opportunity to teach kindness to our students. Yes, we are all over extended. We have lots going on. The weekends are our time to unwind, spend time with family and friends. But, can you give one hour of your time to inspire students? I know you have it in you. That’s why you get paid the big bucks and pursued a career in teaching. Yes, this is not a job folks — this is a career and a calling.
Here’s the big idea. My staff and I are going to go to a nursing home at the end of January. Why? I know you are probably wanting to know how this is relevant to completing a yearbook. Well, we are going to use it as a time to document patients’ lives and we are going to upload the interviews to the Library of Congress using the Story Corps app. We hope that this will be a gift for residents’ family members for years to come. Over Thanksgiving, when students participated in #TheGreatListen, they loved it so much and learned so much by interviewing elders, that they wanted to continue. This spark of interest lead to one student reaching out to all the area nursing homes to take a chance on us and our craft.
What I hope the experience will teach students is the age-old adage that everyone truly has a story and that the skills they learn in yearbook can transfer into anything they choose to do in life. This is a powerful way to give back, to show people we truly care and build relationships in the community. Additionally, this provides students with hands-on practice in mastering the craft of interviewing, a great photo opportunity and a chance to have real conversations.
I am excited to see where the project takes my students and hope it becomes a monthly event. I see such potential in teaching students the relevance of documenting history. Who knows, we may turn the senior citizen community into yearbookers and Herff Jones can discover a whole new untapped market.
Cheers to a New Year, new beginnings and opening our students’ eyes to being active and engaging citizens to all members of the community.
Parkway West High School Ballwin, MO
Mother to Sydney and Zoe, wife of Michael and teacher to many publications students. Passionate about empowering students to be their personal best. Always striving to be better than I was yesterday.