High school teachers celebrate small successes every day — a quadratic equation genuinely mastered, the successful recitation of Thanatopsis, a perfect 5 on an AP exam.
Proof of the real triumphs, though, the ones that turn occasionally wobbly teenagers into smooth striding adults, sometimes takes years.
Last week, my mother, a retired English teacher, accepted a spontaneous invitation from her former student to tour his place of work, and lucky I got to tag along.
That the former student happened to be Stephen Wisnefski, the Real-Time News Editor for the Wall Street Journal, made our visit infinitely more exciting for both of us.
Certainly, Stephen’s first teachers, his dignified parents, both also retired educators, had much to do with his success.
Still, it was a thrill for my mother to see her former English student thriving in a world built on the currency of words.
Stephen runs the global, real-time news desk and oversees almost 100 editors in New York. The enormity of his task, which includes the incorporation of the Wall Street Journal Home Page and the Dow Jones Newswires, in no way diminished his easy charm as he kindly escorted us through the busy newsroom.
He showed us the copy desk, the sports department, the virtual book club, and the editorial department — all enormous areas of the humming newsroom. In all, we toured three floors of the News Corporation building and poked our heads into a live taping of Money Beat, one of several shows produced in the studio.
“Go ahead,” Stephen said. “You can take pictures.”
And so, I did, documenting a surreal morning of sweet reminiscing while the news of the world swirled all around us.