The opportunity fell into my lap, without warning, without preparation, but not without enthusiasm.
This sums up how I started teaching journalism. It started with a simple question at my interview for an English position at Meridian High School, Macon, Ill. “How do you feel about yearbook?” To be honest, I’d looked at a yearbook, but I can’t say I had even read any of my own high school books.
I took the job, yearbook included.
A few years later, I was asked a similar question. “How do you feel about having a newspaper class?” Again, I’d read a newspaper, but beyond that, I can’t say I knew how to start one.
It’s been 13 years since I said yes to yearbook, eight since I said yes to newspaper, and six since I said yes to broadcast. I serve on the Illinois High School Association Journalism Advisory Committee, have an award-winning online publication, yearbook, and students who compete at the state and national levels.
Our publications have undergone serious renovations in the past several years, but the greatest change has been in my role as an adviser. I am passionate about the growth of my journalists and strive to provide them with every possibility to succeed, to find their niche.
Historically, my plate has been full. I tend to stretch myself thin: wife, mother of three, teacher of sophomore English, yearbook, newspaper, broadcast adviser, drama sponsor, class sponsor, committees, leading student trips out of the country (this list could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea). Last year, I made a life-changing decision.
I’ve lived so much of my life busy. It was time to clear the plate and focus on a specific area in my professional life, one which would allow me to give students the time they deserve, but also devote more time to my first love–my family.
I started the Master of Journalism Education program at Kent State University last summer. Effective next school year, my plate will contain publications related activities and time with my family.
I look forward to growing my programs based on the knowledge gained through this master’s program. More importantly, I look forward to watching my family grow.