SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (KNEP) Mr. Terry Pitkin, Scottsbluff High School Journalism Adviser, received the lifetime achievement award from the Journalism Education Association. He spoke about his career, teaching style, and what has changed in teaching and journalism since his start.
He served on the Nebraska High School Press Association Board and won many awards during his 40 plus years instructing. He was one of only ten recipients to receive the award. “You know, you don't know the impact,” said Pitkin. “You're just trying to do what you do the best you can. I know some kids have gone on and been successful.”
One of the things he was lauded for on the Journalism Education Association’s website was his initiative “Project 100” which helped get more schools involved with the state journalism contest. It’s opportunities like that and his engaging teaching style that engaged many of his current and former students. “I try to make the classroom, dare I say entertaining. So that's what I really strive for. Sometimes I'm more successful than others.”
The husker j-school graduate and s-h-s educator has seen photo journalism make the switch from dark rooms to digital and the introduction of computers to classrooms. He said from a teaching perspective, it’s much easier not keeping up a dark room, and working largely on computers. He also said that teachers have taken on more administrative paperwork that gets in the way of teaching in the classrooms.
Some of Mr. Pitkin’s former students are running newspapers, TV stations, and are nationally recognized journalists. His current students are dedicated to the school paper. During an “off period” when the classroom should have been empty, a few of them were working diligently. Pitkin is humble about his teaching success. “I'm not really worried about what you learn in my class, if you have a great experience, you’re going to learn in spite of yourself.”
Mr. Pitkin is retiring at the end of the year. He said he doesn’t have any idea what he’ll be doing in a year, but that he is looking forward to reinventing himself. He will miss the students and teachers.. One thing he won’t miss? “The paperwork.”