Essential Yearbook Sections: Part V - Celebrating Teachers and Staff

Jazz up the teacher and staff section of the yearbook, and get away from the same old portrait photos!

We’re now at the end of this week’s focus on essential yearbook sections. We’ve covered the seniors, the underclassmen, school sports, and student life. But we can’t forget what every school would be incomplete without – its dedicated staff and teachers!

Every year, teachers and staff are there to send seniors off on a new journey, to welcome incoming underclassman as the “small fish in a big pond,” and to help each and every student out along the way. However, when it comes to their place in the yearbook, it seems the staff are often left with the least coverage. They’re usually relegated to head-and-shoulder portraits and meek lines consisting of their names and classes. There is nothing to show their special place in the school, the impact they had on students, and how their presence contributed to the community at large.

But we’re here to help you change all that!

No school would be complete without its dedicated teachers and staff members.
Image source: Flickr CC user Ilmicrofono Oggiono

THE BASICS

  • Portraits: Because each educator is an important part of the school, there should be at least one photo of each teacher and member of the staff. This part seems to be covered in most yearbooks I’ve seen, but there is generally a mixture of professional portraits and student-taken photos. It seems that since some teachers weren’t able to make it to picture day, the yearbook staff did their best to try and have a picture of each person. However, I find myself more drawn to the pictures taken by the yearbook staff, rather than the posed portraits. It’s much more interesting to see the teacher in their element, with a bit of their classroom or work environment in the background. The professional portraits, on the other hand, seem stiff, and everyone seems to fade into one another. When taking teacher and staff portraits, consider photographing the teachers in their classrooms and the staff members in their work environments for a more personal touch.
  • Names and classes: It’s important to include the name of the teacher and the class they taught or what the job was for that particular staff member. Don’t forget that there may be some teachers that taught more than one class – like 7th and 8th grade math, for example. Put in both classes, so students can easily recall whom they had for each one when looking back at their yearbook.
    • To take the naming convention one step further, you could also include any sports that staff member coached, any clubs they advised, or any other activity they took part in within the school. Maybe not everyone had the same interaction with the PE teacher, but they will remember that he was the best football coach the town had ever seen. Or maybe they never had a chance to take art class, but they will remember the art teacher as the very spirited pep club adviser.

EXCEPTIONAL RECOGNITIONS

  • Teacher dedication: Many times, a senior class will put it to a vote and select one special educator to name Teacher of the Year. They generally pass out an award to that teacher and praise them with recognition at an assembly, and of course in the yearbook! This is a great honor and truly means something to a teacher who has put in immeasurable effort throughout the year. Yet, it just doesn’t seem enough to simply name that teacher and give their background. The yearbook should share reasons why they were chosen and what they did that was special or significant. It’s not enough to simply say they were “dedicated,” “humorous,” or “memorable.” Let the seniors speak their mind on their favorite teacher. In the yearbook, include various quotes from seniors on why they voted for them and how they helped throughout their school years.
  • Quotes about teachers: While the Teacher of the Year dedication is important in its own right, don’t leave other teachers behind. Underneath the teacher or staff member’s name and class(es), include a quote from a student that describes that educator – what they did, what students learned from them, a great joke they told, how they made class enjoyable or memorable, and the overall impact they had. This will be a great surprise for each staff member, and a great component for students and teachers alike to look back on years from now as they are paging through the yearbook.
  • Board of Education background: The Board of Education is particularly significant in making decisions that impact school systems for every town across the country. However, we rarely know who makes up the board, let alone anything about them as individuals. How were they selected? What other positions do they hold within the community? What does being a board member mean to them?
  • Biographies of heads of the school: While students generally have day-to-day interactions with teachers, the superintendent, principal, and vice-principal seem to be at a distance. It is only when students are “in trouble” that they seem to have contact with these people, and that really doesn’t seem like the appropriate place to learn about someone. Instead, gather some information on these individuals for the yearbook. Ask them how they started their careers, how they worked their way up to this position, and so on. This would be a great way to humanize these heads of the school and make them relatable to the students.
  • Messages from educators: Now that we’ve praised the teachers, staff, heads of the school, and Board of Education… don’t forget to hear what they have to say! Chances are, they want an opportunity to pass on their warmest wishes to their students and the school as a whole. Create a patron page of congratulations and messages from the staff – just as you would for the advertisement section.

We’ve reached the conclusion for this week’s look at essential yearbook sections. Even with all this information, remember not to limit yourself to these sections alone. Expand on the typical yearbook to make yours truly stand out. With Treering, you’ll be able to construct new and original sections, create customizable pages for each student, lay out advertisements, and do it all online!

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