A Village Girl
by Ariel Wang
Beyond the Classroom
Crack open any dictionary, and a village is often defined as a small, self-contained community. In the context of schools, each school can be seen as a small community within the larger community of a city or town. A school does not have only one teacher and one classroom. A school has multiple teachers of multiple subjects or disciplines. A school is run by the administrative staff and maintained by the janitorial staff; its students taught by the teaching faculty, fed by the cooking staff, and are given a multitude of extracurricular opportunities. Many parents are also active participants in school events to encourage their children's continued growth. There are many other roles played by the same faculty or even other people from the greater community. All of these roles working together are what make a school the perfect grounds for physical, emotional, and creative growth of each an every student it services. To shape students and to prepare them for adulthood as a functioning and contributing member of society is truly an enormous task that extends beyond the desks and blackboards.
Elementary school taught me reading and writing, but it also taught me about teamwork and cooperation through events like field day and treating others as I would want to be treated through interactions with new-found peers.
High school helped me hone my leadership skills through leading my peers and coordinating with teachers as I simultaneously navigated the uncharted waters of Ariel Wang's adolescence.
Those in the greater community came to my college to provide opportunities for us on our first steps toward adulthood while college itself prepared us for our respective future professions of choice.
As a Student
One of the most important lessons of my life occurred during my elementary years. My favorite teacher, my first grade teacher, Mrs. Lyons, passed away in a horrific car accident when I was in the third grade. It was a huge shock and a heavy blow to everyone in our school who was her colleague or student at some point in time. However, this is when I learned about true community during this great time of sadness. The whole school really came together to lean on each other. Even the parents and those in the immediate community felt the loss of a great teacher and a great human. Her untimely passing affected me greatly because, while I had many great teachers, there was something about her that caused me to see her as my favorite teacher.
Apart from the adults in the school setting who impacted my life, I also learned invaluable lessons from my peers. Teachers and parents gave me the necessary guidance, and through interacting with my peers, I learned to work together as a team with my peers, resolve conflicts and accept and love people despite our differences. Looking back, I realize that it is not just about the information I will be teaching them through lesson plans, textbooks, tests, and projects. It is also about who I am as a person and how I carry myself. Children see and absorb everything. As a future teacher, I want to be able to set an example that students will admire and want to follow. I also want to be a creative teacher who knows how to make learning fun and desirable for my students. Beyond my own classroom, I know I will be able to depend on my students' parents and all the other active members of our school community to teach them different life lessons. It truly takes a whole village to raise a child.