Beyond the Classroom

By Jay Lauf

Every child should have one of those teachers--the one whose positive impact lasts a lifetime. 


I had two who, looking back on it, prepared me beautifully for the position I'm in today at The Atlantic. One introduced me to Ernest Hemingway, whose first work, "Fifty Grand," we published in July 1927. The other, I actually returned to after college--and luckily, just before he retired--to personally thank him for setting me up for the success I'd had by then. They were inspired and inspiring, and that had a lasting impact in my life. 

The Impact of One, presented by Capella University, quantifies the influence educators have on students in a unique infograph (pictured below). For instance, a principal in a small school can impact 3,900 individuals in the classroom over the course of 10 years. 

In this series running exclusively on TheAtlantic.com, educators also discuss a range of topics from how to better connect with students to what inspires teachers. 

Lesley Taylor, a Capella University student and a principal of an elementary school in Savannah, argues that even though education has changed over the years, one common factor remains the same. Children need passionate, caring, driven teachers who inspire. 

Vicki Davis is one of those teachers, and for the next few weeks, she is giving us a glimpse into what goes on inside the classroom. 

In her first entry, she writes, "Now that I see the impact of a teacher, I believe that teaching is the most noble profession. For in my classroom, I have a tremendous amount of influence and can use that for good. Teachers are noble because the world will see tomorrow the results of what we do today." 

I agree with Vicki. I am still grateful to both of my aforementioned teachers, and now as a parent, to the ones who have had a similar impact on my children.  

Capella 3.jpg

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2012/02/beyond-the-classroom/253364/