It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Betsy Bryan

"It takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly used traditional African Proverb. In my experiences throughout my life, I have heard it being said mostly by busy, stressed out parents who rely on help from extended family and friends to meet the demands of parenting. I believe that this quote is not only true for parents raising children, but it is also true in the context of children going through school as it relates to their education. The quote is relevant to education because of the number of individuals that impact the child’s education and the different roles that those individuals play in order for the child to successfully grow.

There are many different individuals that play a role in a child’s education. The most obvious individuals that shape a child’s education are classroom teachers. But what about other students, school paraprofessionals, teacher aids, student teachers, nurses, diagnosticians, school psychologists, school counselors, coaches, administrators, & lawmakers? Have you ever thought about the “big picture” when it comes to individuals who effect education?

The individuals listed above are not the complete, exhaustive list of all the individuals who make up the “village” that is the education system. Each individual has an impact on a child’s education, whether it is directly or indirectly. Children can be quite impressionable, so the “village” they are surrounded by can have a positive or negative impact on them. A classroom teacher has a direct impact on a child and their education. They are there with the child day in and day out, guiding the children not only academically, but often through behavioral and personal issues as well. These individuals who have direct contact with children will definitely shape their educational experience and have an impact on their academic success. Individuals such as teacher aids, student teachers, school nurses, school counselors, coaches, and administrators may also have a direct impact on a child, depending on the child’s situation. Then there are those individuals who have an indirect impact on a child’s education. Included in these individuals are the lawmakers, who make laws that have an indirect impact on education.

From my personal experience, I definitely believe that it “took a village” to make me the student that I am today. When I think back on my education from elementary school until high school, I have memories of dozens of different people who had some kind of impact on my success. These were my teachers, principals, school counselors, and school nurses. All of these people were part of my village. I truly believe that my success is due to the collection of experiences and actions of all the individuals combined, rather than one individual.

I believe that it is important to look at the bigger picture of education, rather than just focusing in on one teacher or one administrator. Many individuals work together to shape a child’s educational experience. These individuals make up the “village” of individuals that shape a child’s education.

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