We love when a teacher gets involved in the yearbook process – it always makes for a great book. The Saint Joseph’s book was no different, and truly stands out. The book’s custom pages, great level of student involvement and special messages passed on from staff make the book a carefully crafted memento of the leavers’ time at school.
We spoke to staff editor, Mr Griffiths, about how he made the yearbook such a success, and what tips he would pass on to other staff editors.
Hi Mr Griffiths! What advice would you give to a teacher who’s just getting started with a book?
Start early! Yearbook Machine’s system is set up so the pupils will do the work, as long as you give them enough time. It also gives you and your team more time to come up with original ideas. Planning is everything!
Also, never forget that it’s the pupils’ yearbook. Obviously, all copy has to be proof-read to ensure the content is appropriate, and you have to be on your toes to make sure unfamiliar phrases aren’t horrific slang that you’ve never heard of! Beyond that, though, it’s the pupils’ memento of their time with you. Let them decide, with your support and advice, what goes into it.
Did you work with a committee or other staff members on the yearbook?
I worked with a committee, but started too late, so I ended up pulling a lot of it together myself. At least the committee had a chance to shape the overall style and content of the book. It’s so important that it’s their yearbook, and not what a teacher thinks they’d want.
What was your favourite feature of the site?
The photo library. I like how it helps you to keep tabs on whether a picture has been used before. That’s a particularly useful feature when you’re designing montages and can’t recall if a picture’s been used elsewhere.
Your custom pages look great – how did you create them?
I made infographics on Piktochart and imported them as pdfs. I was nervous of doing that as I was worried the resolution wouldn’t be good enough for print, but I’m very pleased with them. They look great! The level of support I received from the team at Yearbook Machine made me feel confident to try it: I knew that if it didn’t look right in print they’d have been straight onto me to let me know.
When graduating students could have used social media to remember each other, what was the point in making a yearbook?
It’s so much more special to have a physical reminder of your time in school. Even though our Year 11s are as devoted to social media as any teenagers are, they still wanted something in their hand to remind them of their time in Saint Joseph’s. It feels official, and it’s always exciting to see yourself in print, even when you’re a card-carrying member of the digital age! The Year 11s were absolutely delighted when they got their hands on their yearbooks. It was clear they would cherish them.
And finally, what was it that made you choose us to produce your books?
Quite simply, I felt they offered more of the features I’d hoped for than the other yearbook specialists I’d looked at, and at a very competitive price. I was also attracted massively by the fact that they’re a small company, as I suspected that meant that every publication would mean something to them and they’d take a more personal, hands-on approach to their production. I’ve got to say that I was right. They were remarkably flexible and supportive throughout the process. They bent over backwards to help and delivered far more than I’d expected.
This is the third yearbook I’ve produced, but the first time I’ve used Yearbook Machine: I was very happy with my previous publishers, but Yearbook Machine went to another level. I’m genuinely thrilled with the yearbook, the staff can’t stop telling me that they think it’s the best one the school has ever produced, and most importantly, the Year 11s love it!
If you’re a teacher looking to make a book for 2020 and would like a hand getting started, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d be happy to give you a hand. Or – sign up here!