Beyond the Blackboard

by Vijitha Kantety

It is not an exaggeration to say that a great teacher can change a student’s life. There are an endless amount of stories that attest to the benefits of a strong relationship between an educator and pupil.

As some of the most influential role models for developing students, teachers end up being responsible for more than just academic enrichment. The most influential teachers connect with their students and reach them on multiple levels, because as the best teachers are committed to their students’ well-being both inside and outside the classroom. By forging strong relationships, educators are able to affect virtually every aspect of their students’ lives, teaching them the important life lessons that will help them succeed beyond term papers and standardized tests.

Beyond the Blackboard- Film

In the film, Beyond the Blackboard, Stacey Bess is an independent, strong woman. All her life, since she first started school, she had wantedd to become a teacher, becausse school was a place wwhere she felt safe and guarded. When Stacey Bess gets her first teaching job, she’s shocked. It’s not at all what she expected. Stacey is assigned to something called The School with No Name, a space in a homeless shelter that’s supposed to be a classroom. The children are all ages, many from broken families, thrown together in a “classroom” lacking essentials like desks and books. Stacey must tackle her own fears and insecurities as she works to gain the attention and respect of her young students. Using compassion and determination she takes on nervous school board officials and apprehensive parents. Eventually she transforms the barren space into a warm, comfortable environment where the children not only acquire knowledge, but also self-respect and a measure of dignity.

Stacey Bess, An Inspiration

Stacey Bess was a phenomenal teacher. She wwas determined, strong, resourceful, and caring towards her students. She embraced the diversity of the classroom, and proved to be a trustworthy teacher among the homeless shelter. Stacey Bess provoked the children's thirst for knowledge, and helped them find hidden talents that they didn't know about before. Stacey Bess was a determined woman who strived for the best, to create a classroom full of students who enjoy every single second of their learning processes.

Stacey Bess's Classroom

Stacey Bess's classroom was not an ordinary classroom with the typical desks, chairs, blackboard, and decorative papers. Mrs. Bess was astonished once she walked into the  classroom to see the lack of classroom supplies. However, she made the space in the homeless shelter into a makeshift classroom. With the help of Mr. Warren, Stacey Besswas able to make the classroom complete.


The community and families of the children influences the students at school. Because the parents and communities initially did not show importance to learning, the students decided that nobody cared and school wasn't worth it. However, when the community changed and cleaned itself up, the kids flourished and started focusing on school, and soon fell in love with it.

Changes after Stacey Bess's Arrival

Once Stacey Bess arrived, the homeless shelter changed for the better. For years of the students not giving importance to education, Mrs. Bess was able to change the mind sets of the people. She gave them a place in the world, letting them understand that people cared, and that they were important and deserved just the same as any wealthier family.

Due to Mrs. Bess,

A law was passed saying that homeless kids can go to public school.

Thank you!!

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