This morning, finishing the district newsletter gave me a feeling of efficacy. I may not be one of the greatest graphic designers in the United States, but I bet I’m one of the best ones in at least four counties. Of course, that’s not saying much. I’m not swear I’m not trying to be conceited, I just enjoy working on layouts and I feel like after three decades of doing it, I know what I’m doing.
But then in the afternoon, I let myself get discouraged while trying to edit, revise, finish and submit yearbook pages. You’d think after advising for 20 years I’d have figured out how to hold students accountable for production work and deadlines.
Don’t get me wrong; this year I had some of the most competent & hard working staffers I’ve had in years. More pages are done and done well than ever before. Be that as it may, I can’t believe how many don’t have captions yet, how many are started but not finished, and how many have huge, childish point-sizes.
I feel guilty & inadequate for not teaching well enough, not reinforcing & coaching enough, and most of all not enforcing rigid enough consequences. Then I looked at next Fall’s roster and saw both how small it is and how many students are on it who have a history of behavior problems. Ugh.
How do you instill veterans with the ability to assess what needs to be accomplished & the initiative to act on it without having to be directed to? How do you instill rookies & underclassmen with enough sense of pride and responsibility that they follow through on their obligations and don’t just expect someone else to finish up after them?
Is the answer really as simple as clear & consistent expectations & severe & merciless consequences? Which is more important ultimately, process or product? Will they still catch your enthusiasm if you reprimand them for doing everything half-assed?