Nothing Short of a Village

The Unsung Heroes behind Education

Teachers: Credit-Armored Meat Shields

Viewed as the poster children of education, classroom teachers are often the recipients of both unfounded praise as well as undeserved blame. Regardless of what happens to a student, be it good or bad, family and outside professionals will likely turn eyes first to the teacher. This underlying assumption, that teachers are the sole representatives of the educational system, is becoming dangerously prevalent in American society. As victims of misguided anger and frustration within communities, these teachers are on the path to becoming martyrs for all the failures of the school itself. Although such teachers may, at times, receive unearned commendations for efforts made by the school, there are no tangible or long-lasting benefits that exist to even remotely make up for the suffering and stress induced.

One Drop in a Vast Ocean

Reflecting on my personal experience with the school system, it becomes hard to believe that classroom teachers are given credit for even a fraction of what occurs in a school environment. Students are the product of many generations of educators, carrying along the knowledge and skills that have been passed along through a child's educational journey. Past the teachers themselves, there are trained professionals in the fields of medicine and psychology who provide guidance and administer care. There are learning experts who help determine placement and specific needs of children. There are directors and department heads who check for competency and organize content areas accordingly. There are principals and administrators who govern all of these educational professionals to ensure every duty is filled and all students are where they need to be. There are hundreds of such educators who put forth a daily effort to bring about great change in the future of our children, few who lecture information but each as important as the next.

Looking Beyond Classroom Teaching

As a society, we must move away from this fixation on a specific classroom teacher being the root of all evil and triumph. Whether it be parents, friends, or just parties interested in the advancement of education, every individual should take a step back and realize that educating a child requires nothing short of an entire village. The needs of a single child are astronomical, far too much for the child's family and a singular teacher alone. Much like the specific needs of a community that demand bakers and builders alike, educators and loved ones each play an essential part in developing the lives of our children. As such, we must take the time to consider what we, as individuals, can offer to bring about the success and quality education that each child deserves. Each of us plays a pivotal role in creating the future we envision for generations to come; it is entirely on our backs to ensure that such a role results in a positive influence.

The next time you see a problem in the education of your child,

Think not what others fail to do, but what you could be doing for them