Mark Webber


Number of years teaching
39 total that includes 25 years as a high school journalism instructor. I also spent 5 years as an adjunct instructor of Communication at the local state university. In addition, I worked about 20 years part-time at the local daily as a copy/news editor and Spanish-to-English translator and retired in October 2015. I now receive a modest monthly pension. How cool is that!?

Name(s) of media you advise
The Magnet Tribune print and online newspapers (25 years), and Tapestry literary magazine (2 years).

School Name & City
Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts (We’re a fine arts and Communication magnet school), Laredo

Most unusual item in/on your desk?
An unrelenting mess of paperwork and work to grade.

Favorite deadline snack?
None. We must get everything done during class time because the students leave for their “home” schools after our school day ends.

Nicknames your students have given you?
None that I am aware of (yet). Students are creating one as we speak since I’m one of two original teachers remaining at the school from when it opened 25 years ago. In fact, some of them are working on ways we can celebrate the paper’s 25th anniversary.

Superpower you’d want as a teacher?
The ability to create super writers who could submit perfectly written stories the first time! (Without any editing or revision needed!!)

Personal catch phrase or motto?
All we need is usable and publishable material. I don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to like it. Just make it useable and publishable. Nothing else matters to me.

What is the most important lesson a student has ever taught you?
Be yourself.

What is the most important element to a successful program?
I believe the most important element is to make the program kid friendly and fun. Especially since in my case, there is not a “staff” like everybody else in high school journalism has, and I have to spend some time telling the students that they’re part of a big staff that is spread over 4 blocks, being a part of something awesome that few others get to do.

Describe your favorite lesson to teach.
A series of practice stories I’ve developed over the years. I conduct interviews (actually more like press conferences) where I pretend to be people like an elephant trainer, the person who builds a new sleigh for Santa every year, a scientist who discovers a new species of tree in the Himalayan mountains, and such. I tell students to create questions, then we have a press conference where they ask their questions, then at produce at least a rough draft. I’ve done for many years as regular assignments and also as part of final exams. It’s a lot of fun for me and also for the students, or at least they’ve not complained much.