Photo credit: Flickr CC user Katikati College
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein
It’s curiosity that makes this world evolve. Imagine how different the world would be if Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs didn’t have a natural urge to want to figure things out? What if Isaac Newton hadn’t questioned things or Madame Curie hadn’t started tinkering around a male-dominated laboratory?
It was curiosity that drove them to succeed.
So what do you as a yearbook adviser and these scientific masterminds have in common? As the leader of an elective course, it’s up to you to spark curiosity in your students to help propel them forward both in yearbook class, and in other aspects of their young lives.
As someone who has constantly been curious my entire life, it’s hard for me to relate to someone who doesn’t want to learn. I mean, I would practically salivate when the elective classes in middle school and high school were released each year because I loved mixing it up and learning something new. I remember I took World War Two history one semester in middle school while all my girlfriends took an art class because I was so into the Indiana Jones franchise and wanted to learn everything about the era. I took forensics in college because I was fascinated by unsolved mysteries. You get the picture.
My point is, it’s good to be curious and try new things, and it’s good to get into this practice when you’re young. The students on your campus are at the perfect age. Their school years are the best time to explore all sorts of cool and creative things–whether it’s playing around with graphic design programs during yearbook class or honing their skills in a culinary elective. Elective courses let students explore their passions, and when they’re doing something they’re passionate about great things can come out of it.
With your yearbook staff, brainstorm all the elective courses offered at your school. How have some students taken what they’ve learned in these elective courses and moved them beyond the classroom? For example, has someone in a woodshop class gone on to win an award outside the confines of the hour-long period?
It’s also important to interview the teachers behind the elective classes and see where they first discovered their passion for art or welding or journalism. You can even do an exercise during your yearbook class and have the students interview you. How did you become a yearbook adviser? What’s your favorite school memory? You will more than likely be surprised by the creative and original questions they come up with.
Once the spread is complete, you can open a discussion with the students about following their own passions. Encourage them to sign up for an elective class that might be a little out of their comfort zone because they just might surprise themselves. You never know when something might spark someone’s interest and change their entire life’s course, whether it’s an art class or a debate club or an engineering course.
What were your favorite elective courses in middle school and high school? What drew you to them? Let me know about your experiences in the comment box below.