What World of Warcraft Can Teach Yearbook Advisers and Staffs

A screenshot from World of Warcraft

A screenshot from World of Warcraft

Bringing Warcraft to the Yearbook

It is no secret to anyone who knows me—students, family, friends, colleagues—that I am an avid video-gamer.  I grew up playing them—going all the way back to Pong—and I really see no need to stop because it is no sillier or serious as walking around a field whacking a ball with a crooked stick. As an English teacher, I often spend a great deal of time talking about some of the fascinating tricks writers do with language like symbolism or analogies. In my role as a yearbook adviser I spend a great deal of time and energy looking for inspiration–both for myself and my staff members.

What does any of this have to do with anything that is even mildly important? Well, in my search for inspiration for a blog post I thought I would use my gamer background to make an allusion or analogy. That line of thinking led to the idea for this post. So, if you are already wondering what a video game can teach you about yearbook, hold on to your mouse…

5 Things Yearbook Advisers and Staffs Can Learn from World of Warcraft

  1. Know Your Role: You often hear this piece of advice given to new players in WoW. When you are part of a group you have to know what your responsibilities are and that your role can change from situation to situation. You might be the healer for a group one run and then a DPSer (damage) on the next run so you have to know how to do those different tasks. This definitely applies to the yearbook. Staff members need to know their responsibilities for a given situation and then they need to make sure they handle those responsibilities. You might be responsible for the photographs for a particular spread one week and the article for a different spread next week–know what you have to do to accomplish those different assignments. One noteworthy consequence about “Knowing Your Role” is that by knowing how to perform more roles–you become more valuable to your group. The lesson advisers can take from this is that they are the “Adviser”. That means let the students do the work as much as possible–easier said than done sometimes.
  2. Grind it Out: In Warcraft if you want to make it to the maximum level with your characters, or if you want the best gear, or if you want a lot of gold, or if you want a cool reward, you have to “Grind It Out”. You have to put in some serious time to reach some goals by doing some things over and over and over and over. There are very few things that happen on the first time attempt at anything. And you can bet that anything that will get you noticed will take some serious effort. I frequently tell my students that “cool” takes time. If you want your spread to look “cool”, it is going to take some serious time and real effort to make that happen. So, just like trying to get the 300 tokens to get some awesome mount in Warcraft–creating an award worthy spread or yearbook is going to take work where you may only see small steps forward each day, but may add up in the end to something greater.
  3. Gear Up!: In Warcraft if you want to participate in certain events or activities, you have to meet certain gear requirements. This is even scalable and more applicable when in a group situation; if you want to be of any real value to your group, you better have good gear. When you don’t have good gear–you die. A LOT. No one enjoys that. To apply this to a yearbook situation, try thinking of it in terms of what you bring to the table. What can you offer to the other staff members? What can you do that will help make things better for those around you? If you want to be the photographer for the group, it helps if you have a camera–and more importantly you know how to properly use it. If you want to design all the spreads, if helps to have creative ideas–or know places you can find some inspiration.  Most importantly, and this really is the heart of the “Gear Up!” call, you have to find ways to improve. Get better gear. Learn new skills. Master skills you already have. Just get better.
  4. Have a Plan: Going into a Warcraft Raid or boss encounter usually entails having a plan if you do not want to die repeatedly. When there is no plan bad things are guaranteed to happen. Groups get angry. Tempers flair. Nerves fray. No one has any fun. Those things happen to yearbook staffs as well when there is no plan. A strategic course of action saves a lot of grief down the road. Individuals also benefit from planning: whether it is plotting some way to get that new piece of gear for your rogue, or what you want to do with your Homecoming spread, a plan makes these tasks manageable and easier to accomplish.
  5. Don’t Freak Out: So, you ground out a bunch of repeatable quests so that you could gear up. You know your role and are in a good group that has a solid plan. You and your buddies are ready to take on some top-tier, end-game content. You are dreaming of all the great gear, titles, and rewards that await. Then, on the first attempt downing the first boss everyone dies within 30 seconds. Don’t Freak Out. No matter how good everyone’s gear, no matter how prepared they are, no matter how sound the plan, some times things go wrong. Unexpected events will happen and mess everything up. Just stay focused and take another run at it. You might have to tweak the plan. Being able to adapt and overcome the unexpected is crucial–whether it is Warcraft or yearbook.

There you have it: some lessons World of Warcraft can teach advisers and students about yearbook. I hope you were able to take away something useful from that.

And just in case you were wondering, the picture at the top of the post is an actual screenshot I took while playing. This particular shot shows a group of guild-mates  going into a raid area for the first time. As an added note I should point out that you cannot actually see my character in this shot–I know that makes you sad.

What advice would you offer to yearbook students or advisers? What games have taught you some lessons, or created some insight to other areas of your life?

As always feel free to leave comments, or questions. If you like this post or site, like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, subscribe, or share it with someone. The more, the merrier.

Some of My Other Yearbook Posts:


Something Completely Different

ABC Award

For some strange reason my colleague over at awritablelife decided to throw an ABC award my way. So, I will begin by thanking her for this undeserved honor.  It seems that the honor comes with a bit of a tradition which requires that I compose a list revealing information about myself using the letters of the alphabet.

I forewarn you now that I am not very good at these MEME type activities. So, with that in mind, here we go:

I am/I am a

  • Andrew
  • Brother
  • Christian
  • Dude
  • Exiting the building
  • Frequently in need of a nap
  • Gamer
  • Homebody
  • Incoming
  • Joking
  • Killin’ it
  • Large and in charge
  • Musician (once upon  a time)
  • Ninja wannabe
  • Old-ish feeling lately
  • Photographer wannabe
  • Quicker than you would think
  • Reasonable (most of the time)
  • Son
  • Teacher
  • Uber-excited
  • Viable
  • Xbox hater
  • Yearbook adviser
  • Zero losses, all wins (riiiight)

There. First part of the “tradition” or “requirements” completed. Now I just have to pass the award along to some other unsuspecting blogger. This will require some research on my part before I pass the award along to some blogger who is far more deserving than me.

My Dirty Little iPad Secret

My clean iPad screen

My clean iPad screen

I guess if I was going to file this post away in a filing cabinet, it would have to go in a folder labeled “Confessions”. I freely admit that I am a bit of a strange guy. Especially when it comes to some things. There are aspects of my personality and how I do things in regards to certain situations that don’t correspond in a neat, tidy, linear 1-1 fashion to similar situations in other aspects of my life.

The case in point here is my iPad screen. Or, more precisely, my almost OCD-like compulsion that my screen be sparkling clean at all times.  This is definitely one of those areas that doesn’t track with other areas of my life. Anyone who knows me can tell that I am not in any way fastidious about how I dress, my housekeeping, or my car.  But, for some strange reason, my iPad screen has fallen into that strange, Twilight Zone-esque category of things that just have to be a certain way.

Given the way that the iPad is designed to work, I fear this could be the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. All this swiping, tapping, and pinching may push me over a smeared, smudged, finger print covered edge into the loony bin. But I won’t go without a fight.

I am almost always armed with some sort of electronic friendly moist towelette, microfiber cloth, or fancy looking dust swiping device of some sort.  Oh OK, I’ll admit it–I usually have all 3 of those things within easy reach. And a stylus.

My preferred form of electronics dusting towelette is actually ones that come in individual packets. The ones I normally use are actually for eyeglasses–at least that is what it says on the box. They do an excellent job: no streaking-very nice. I once tried some that came in a large container and was supposedly meant for gamers; they were marketed towards gamers for certain. I hated them. They left little fibers all over the screen. It was agony.

This week I decided to try some that came in a large container that also had a micro-fiber cloth in a special compartment in the lid. Wet clean and then dry. It is heavenly. No steaks or fibers anywhere. My only complaint is that I can’t get the towelettes to stay poked-up through the X-shaped slot on the dispensing side of the lid.  But I may be able to live with that.

In class one day I asked a student to show me something on the iPad. When they held the device up, I found myself looking at a screen encrusted with what can only be described as Cheetos dust. A substantial layer. Thick. Formidable. And alive with finger prints. I still have night terrors about that moment.

So there it is: my dirty little iPad secret. I have iPad clean screen OCD. Oops, gotta go. I think I see a smudge.