The ‘Ah-Ha’ Moment

The best part about being a teacher is the “ah-ha” moment from a student. It’s that moment when a student gets why you have been teaching this concept, why you have been pushing and pushing to make them better.

In my Yearbook class (Student Media in the course guide), we hit the ground running from day one. Over the course of the year, the students are expected to create a 200-plus page book using industry-level software, InDesign and Photoshop. The students shoot all of the photos using DSLR cameras, and write all of the stories on top of doing all of the layout and design. Oh, and did I mention that they sell the books and the ads that go in the book? Yes, it’s A LOT of work.

Needless to say, the students get a little overwhelmed when they hear about the workload at the start of the year. They wonder and ask how they are supposed to create a book from scratch. With a blank page in front of them, it can be a daunting task. But through practice and trial and error, they succeed, and we start to reach that “ah-ha” moment.

Much of first semester is spent learning how to do the different aspects of the class — training on the cameras, learning InDesign, and practicing sales techniques. While second semester is all about getting the pages done. In the second semester, they are pros at the software. They even find tricks that I didn’t know existed.

By the end of the year, my students with the biggest doubts turn into my best designers, my best photographers, and my best salesmen.

We are currently putting the finishing touches on this year’s yearbook. It will be out this fall, and the students will see the fruits of their labor.

While this is a great moment, it’s truly those times when students find their passion from yearbook. They see why we practiced spreads, why we rewrote stories, and why we took the time to make edits, and they turn it into future career paths.

That’s why I teach.

Ashley Wiehe,
Yearbook Teacher and Communications Manager