I took a day off last week. Seriously, a personal day.

I only gave the school about 5 hours to plan for the coverage of my class. I had a sub plan. It wasn’t the best but it would get the kids and the sub through the day without causing me to have to go to a meeting. To be perfectly honest, I was tired. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally wiped out. I think the last four categories just come with the territory. It’s the last 15 days of school for us…. Don’t roll your eyes, we go back to school August 1st. The first category of exhaustion was a result of my choices….NewKid01

I took Friday off because Wednesday lasted so far into Thursday that I almost merged them. I have mentioned in the past that the expectation for all of our competitive teams is to qualify for the state tournament. I would almost say the expectation is almost a demand. On Wednesday, we had not one but two state tournament events happening on our campus. Considering that I am still building the program, I had to make a choice. Cover the soccer match or the baseball double header. If you know me, I don’t have to tell you that I chose baseball. I love baseball. I am actually sitting at a baseball practice for my son as I write this. From March through October, I crave baseball.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from baseball is my disdain for producing soccer matches. I appreciate the sport - the conditioning, the skill, the team work, the acting - but I loathe producing soccer matches. There is no stop in the action, not a lot of scoring, no real stats, etc. I feel like I have nothing to do other than follow the ball for 2 hours.

Choosing baseball was the beginning of the end for me. I called the guys at the University of Georgia and we put together a crew of about 10 students and we were going to do the greatest baseball broadcasts of all time…

NewKid02Game 1 of the double header started at 6p opposed to the normal start of 5pm because our starting centerfielder is also the school record holder in long jump and triple jump and the region track meet was on the same day (Talk about a great day for that kid - Win a region track meet and compete for a state title in baseball in the same day… did I mention he is also all state in football). The 6pm start time wasn’t something that flagged me yet that I was in for a long ride. It was the first inning and a half that took almost two hours to complete. Our boys pulled of a controversial walk off 12 - 11 win. If you know baseball, you know how long it took for the teams to score over 20 runs. Game 2 was set to start 30 minutes later…

At 12:55 am on Thursday, the opposing team won 6 to 5 on a walk off laser to left center. Now comes the fun part, clearing the stands and spending the next 90 minutes wrapping cables and breaking down our broadcast... On my way home, I considered just stopping for a cup of coffee at the Waffle House, a quick shower, then just head back to the school. I melted into the bed at 2:55am. My alarm went off at 5am and off to work I went… Oh did I mention that I had another ball game to call that night because it was a 3 game set. Did I mention that it too went into extra innings and that we lost so it was all for nothing…. EXCEPT the over 400 people who watched the game live! I’ll take that for a new program!

So I took Friday off. It’s good because the list of things that hurt and were tired caused me to be a whiny sniffling sack of nothing all day. Seriously, I continued to see this photo in my head and thinking about the emotions those kids were going through and I would just ugly cry. This is a picture of the five seniors who just played their last game walking around the field and chatting. I just happened to catch them as they stood under the scoreboard.

I wanted to complain. I wanted to shout from the rooftops how tired I was but I couldn’t. I just kept thinking about how those kids played their hearts out in a game that they knew could be their last.

By the way, the soccer team lost too. The loss by both teams meant my broadcast season was over. The only thing left is the spring football game and graduation…. THEN IT SET IN.

I HAVE BEEN HERE AN ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR! Holy Wow. When did that happen? How did that happen? What do I do with my hands now?

Well, I started tackling things that I put on the back burner during spring sports. Literally a week removed and the tired that filled my soul last week has been replaced with excitement.

A couple of weeks ago I got fed up with students sitting around doing nothing. You all know how it goes. They have a week to produce a piece and they are going to sit around for 3 days before they get started. I took all of that away. We no longer are focusing on student produced products like newspackages or features but instead, we are working on doing stand ups and interviews. When the students enter the room, there is a show board with a list of things that have to happen that day. They pick the elements they want to do (cut show promo, sponsor read, sports update, interviews, etc) and they go do them. They have a call time for when they are to return and a live time when all of their elements are to be in and we start the show. This has worked! It’s been great. I have not felt the need to choke a child or spike a cellphone into the floor in weeks.

We moved into our new space in October and since then I have spent tens of hours working on getting our Tricaster to recognize the NDI sources on our network. Yesterday, all of that work paid off. The entire class was so excited they could not wait to do their first live hit so we did it today. It was a safe play, we interviewed the art teacher next door but it worked and it worked well. We also served our graphics over NDI for the first time today as well! Super excited about what we can do now. The long term goal is a central control room for some of our sports shows. IT WILL BE MINE!

The animation side of the house is rolling right along. The intro students are really starting to question their choice in this class because I have them doing a kinetic typography project. I give them a list of famous speeches to choose from and they have to create a 2 minute piece with it. What they don’t know is that it will require about 300 layers and a lot of patience.

My animation 1 students are working on their final projects. They have been working away since just after spring break. I have them recreating a 5 to 7 minute movie or TV clip as an animation. They had to use everything from preproduction (scripting, storyboarding) through 2.5D animation in After Effects. It’s pretty cool to see what they are creating.

As I close out the school year, I think I have learned all I need to navigate the socio-political waters of the new school. I have learned how to take a personal day, how to order equipment, how to produce a newscast that doesn’t cause a meeting and where the teacher bathrooms are. I talked with a collegue today and we were lamenting how quickly the year has gone and she said it best. “It went by fast for you because you just jumped in here like you have been here all of your life.’ I think that sums it up. I just jumped in and now it’s coming to a close. It’s pretty easy when you work at the coolest place in the world… I mean we have a corn hole set mounted to the wall in the front office in case an emergency game breaks out.

Commencement ceremonies and a summer of professional development are all I have left for this school year. I’ll let you know how those go next month.