Adviser Update Adviser Update Fall 2017 - Page 5

5 B y the end of July every summer, I am in the habit of waking up late, deciding what TV show I am going to binge-watch for the day and thinking about whether I am going to take a nap or not. But once the first bell rings on the first day of school, I know that most of these life perks will go away and I’m okay with that. I practice personal sacrifice. As an adviser and an impassioned supporter of scholastic journalism, I’ve come to realize there are certain parts of the job that require serious commitment to ensure that my students are successful. “just for the staff.” waiting to see for three months. When I realized my students understood the importance of sacrifice, then I too had to be OK with giving things up. Sacrifice. The level of sacrifice comes in different ways – most frequently, it is the sacrifice of time. A Wednesday night might have been reserved to make a phone call to a friend, but then having to cancel because the copy for the yearbook spread due tomorrow magically deleted itself. Or, a Saturday is spent at school to ensure that the online news staff has access to the technology and resources they need to complete a multimedia package, instead of a matinee of the movie I had been Initially, I didn’t realize that my duties would extend past the end of the school day, and even past the last day of school. I figured that 85 minutes on a block schedule was more than enough time to keep an online news site up and running, as well as a 248- page yearbook on schedule. But, I soon came to understand that sometimes sporadic and sometime urgent emails and group text messages would soon become the norm. In my ninth year advising, I have accepted the sacrifice as part of the job, but that wasn’t always the case. I pushed against it because it didn’t seem fair that I should have to give up parts of my life. Then one night, an editor was talking to a staffer about how this is for “their peers” and not MAT THEW L APORTE Matthew LaPorte is starting his 9th year advising the Southwest Shadow Online News Site and The Howl Yearbook at Southwest Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada. He serves as the JEA NV State Director and the Co-President of the Southern Nevada Society of Journalists. He was recognized in 2015 as a JEA Rising Star. Check him out on Twitter @educatelaporte and Instagram @matthew.laporte. And other times, the sacrifice might be financial. A trip to a local conference may end with a donation to a student who did not bring enough money or pitching in for a late-night pizza party on a deadline night. Advisers are not cashing in Publisher’s Clearinghouse checks, but we know that sometimes the extra $20 investment in our program will go a long way. To keep myself sane, I had to identify my personal limits -— what I would allow and would not allow. For example, I now turn off my group texts at 8 p.m. I now require work nights to be planned at the start of the year and not the day before. I had to also acknowledge my students’ sacrifices as well. They have turned down birthday party invites because they have to attend the NHS Induction ceremony or they may stay up an extra hour to finish editing photos. They even enroll in one, if not two, summer school courses to ensure they have room in their schedule just to be part of the program. They know that sacrifice is part of the job, and they understand that it’s sacrifice in order to complete their duties as journalists – to inform and to serve. If that is the lesson I am teaching, then I am more than OK with sacrifice.