"Dave is always Eger to work," so reads a sign on Weston High School videography teacher Dave Eger's wall. Staying true to the poster, Eger spends his free periods helping students edit their films on Final Cut Pro and brainstorming ideas for the student-run television station that connects to his classroom.
His favorite part of his job? "The fact that they're so gung-ho that they're working on it outside of school," he says.
Dave, as his students call him, has been teaching at the high school for 12 years, but spent eight years before that working as a set technician for the school theater. Before he became the videography teacher, the students knew him just as "Dave" and it stuck. "Respect is not necessarily what you call somebody, it's what you show," he says.
And his students certainly respect him. Even though his videography and advanced videography classes are a full-year commitment, seats fill up fast. One of his ninth-grade students, Julia Armijo, says it's difficult to get into Eger's classes. "He teaches this stuff really well and he's really easy to understand," she says.
Another student, Jack Hamilton, says he appreciates that Eger gives his classes time to perfect their projects. "He's funny in class and he gives us a lot of time to do homework and work on our midterm," he says.
For the midterm, groups of students make their own three to five minute silent films and for the final exam, they make a scripted movie using the five or so cameras and the five editing stations that the room has available. The students get to critique each other's films and invite friends to come watch at the end of each semester. "They're very honest," he said.
The television studio that opened this year adds a new dimension to Eger's coursework. While Eger says he won't be teaching next year's television production course, he will be highly involved. Channel 78, or "Trojan TV" is currently running, but the studio is still growing since more money came from donations three weeks ago.
"The goal is to get enough equipment to make a functional class," he said. But for now, students may have to stick with cue cards instead of a teleprompter. Students will be taught to use all of the equipment. "Every student will have a job for each production, then they rotate and teach someone else the role."
"It will be a nice counterpart to videography," he said of the new class for next year. For part of the class, students will study a unit on the nature of the business. "[I want them to] develop a critical eye for viewing media," Eger said. "They're inundated with media every day."
Eger said hopes for the future include morning news broadcasts with an on-screen anchor and clips of sports games from the night before.
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