Being a new adviser can feel like being caught in a flood or an avalanche or any similar out-of-control situation you can imagine. Here are the top three tips we’ve gathered for new advisers over the years that might set your mind at ease.

One: Phone a friend

It’s likely that you’re the only person in your school who has the responsibility of running the yearbook program — and not only it that a big job, but it’s really off the beaten path, compared to teaching freshman history or 10th grade English. It is imperative that you find a mentor, or even just another newbie adviser, to share your experience with. One option is to check neighboring schools for advisers. Your rep is likely to have a long list of people you might want to reach out to. Another option is JEA’s mentor program. Just know, even if you are alone in your school, you are not alone is this yearbook world. There are plenty of advisers out there who would love to help.

Two: Learn and Teach Simultaneously

As you would for any new prep, don’t feel like it’s even possible to learn everything you need to know about yearbooking all at once. Find an important topic that fits where your staff is (theme is a great place to start.) Use our workshop sessions and watch them with the students. Discuss, reflect and take action on what you have learned together. Take it one little bite at a time and understand that there are MANY ways to yearbook. Check out the these getting-started resources. Learn a little, teach a little and repeat.

Three: This is not a DIY project

If you have a class or a club, this is for you. (If you don’t, skip to the bottom.) Your students are the people who should be working hard to gather content, take photos and design pages. Not you! Your job is to coach those students and then get out of their way and let them perform. And, just like any other coach, you need to find out what they are good at and put them to work doing those things. Not everyone in the class can be an editor, just like not everyone can be the quarterback or the goalie, but everyone should have their role on the team. If you are busy learning and teaching, do that shoulder to shoulder with your students. Yes, help them! Empower them. Don’t do it for them or without them.

No kids? Elementary school yearbook person? Teamwork is yours for the taking. The message for you is similar. Rely on the people around you. Ask other teachers to take photos in their classes. Ask moms or dads with cameras pointed at their children to spread the wealth and send photos to the yearbook using eShare. Use our templates and Book Looks. And most of all, don’t stress. We have everything you need to get the work done.