Knowing Notton


Taylor Gavelek, Reporter

He is an aspiring movie critic, a world traveler, a book nerd and a constant source of encouragement for the students he teaches. Celebrating 20 years as a teacher at Langham this year, there is no question that his role here has left an impact on those around him.

Jeffrey Notton stands out in many ways; he is constantly encouraging his students to pursue higher education all while teaching them how to become their own greatest teacher. 

“You are the best teacher that you’re ever going to have,” Notton said. “So, what I try to do is encourage students to think and read and teach for themselves.” 

Although Notton started out teaching World History, he soon found a love for all things European History and the students who take the class. 

“It’s more interesting, the cultures, the events,” Notton said. “Relationships are also a big part of the gig and I already know most of [the students] and [they] are more motivated and they are seniors, so they know a little bit more about how the world works and are more open to intellectual pursuits.”

Relationships are an important part of creating a safe and fun classroom for Notton. Knowing how to communicate and help his students succeed in every class and phase of life is principle to him, even when that means staying up to date on pop-culture and all of its glory. 

“I’m just myself around my students, being a teacher means to be who you are, I think people know when you’re being phony,” Notton said. “I try to stay up on youth culture a little bit so I can sort of snidely reference it.” 

Notton has lots of recommendations for students in need of a good book. To him, a book is “a well of untapped knowledge,” most containing information that will help in your pursuit of success. While other books, such as his ‘stuck on a desert island book’ The Stranger by Albert Camus, contain the knowledge to change your view on life.

The Stranger, is a nod to my AP Euro class,” Notton said. “And if I’m stranded on a desert island, the point of The Stranger is basically that life is pointless and absurd and I would think that would really hit home if I was on a desert island by myself, because I’m going to be dead in a week because I have no survival skills whatsoever.” 

Besides being an intellect and a hip high school teacher, Notton is seen as a well-versed globetrotter, having been to many countries and dream destinations. Notton splits his vacation time between his wife and his students, taking a student trip every other summer. Being acquainted with lots of knowledge on European culture and lifestyles, it’s no surprise that his favorite destinations are those far from home. 

“I really like Paris, it’s got big city feel and buzz to it and then just all this cultural stuff,” Notton said. “A sort of underrated place is Amsterdam, it’s sort of in the same way as Paris, like a cool city but also had tons of art and culture that you don’t get that much of in the United States.”

Notton’s impact on students will continue through his teaching career. His take on how the world works and how we each will impact it in some way has shaped many to believe there are great things waiting for them after high school.