Meet Diamonnique M., a Rowan Global student from Essex County who began her master’s degree in history pursuit in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s going back to school at the same time as she navigates her first year teaching social studies and English language arts (ELA) at the elementary school level. Here, Diammonnique shares her thoughts on the power of education and dispels myths about studying history.
When I first started pursuing my associate degree, I thought that was just pretty much my stopping point. I’ll just get that associate degree, this will be it, and I’ll move forward with my life and hopefully find a job that’s better paying than the job I had at that particular time.
And I realized that no, Diamonnique, you need to pursue, continue forward, pursue the next step. And it just kind of became like an addiction, pursuing education. And I kind of started thinking to myself, well, you’re pursuing these degrees, what is it that you’re going to end up doing?
Because I already had a background in education as far as caregiving within the daycare system, and then moving forward to serve as a paraprofessional, I said, OK, this is ideally what my my track seems to be, my path seems to be to serve as an educator, teaching what it is that I have and imparting that knowledge to younger students who are up and coming to be scholars and change agents.
I teach social studies and ELA to on a second and third grade level. Prior to earning a full-time teaching position, I served as a paraprofessional and a substitute educator. It’s been a tremendous task for me to adapt to a different learning style, and make sure that I’m doing my best to keep students engaged, virtually opposed to being in person where I can use other tactics and different techniques.
It’s a new system, it’s a new set of rules that I am doing my best to implement, making sure that I’m keeping the students engaged, but at the same time, imparting all the knowledge that I need to impart within a certain amount of time.
I have a variety of students: learners who learn easily, learners who have a different way of learning, such as the visual learners, and so forth. I really do my best to make sure that I’m incorporating all learning styles in my presentation daily, so that I can make sure these students are not lacking in anything. And yes, we can easily use not being in person to learn and to teach as an excuse. But that won’t be an excuse that I am interested in making use of.
I take education very seriously: for my students, anyone that I encounter, even with my own children. Education is very big in our household. My son is 5 years old reading on a higher level. This is very important to me. And I hope that when my students progress to the next grade, they can constantly be praised for their efforts and the knowledge that they are sharing with the educator and other students that they come into contact with.
The impact that I hope to have on the next generation of historians is to really just tackle all of your goals fearlessly pursuing them in a manner in which you have a mentality that you are unstoppable, you are capable of doing anything and everything. Despite all of these different voices, all of these different obstacles, you get back, you fall down, you get back up, that’s just the sense of being that I wish others to have when listening to me knowing my story.
What’s so interesting is that when people learn about the history program being available, there’s … this negative connotation. And the negative connotation is pretty much: What can you do with a history degree? Are you sure? Don’t you want to reconsider?
I hope this thought process can shift as far as the negative connotation that’s associated with history in itself, and that it can shift to being something that is of more of an essence, it’s valuable, and it’s seen as necessary.
There are so many things that you can do utilizing a history degree. Clearly, predominantly, a lot of the participants of the history program pursue teaching. But there are other things that you can do, such as engaging in the political arena, engaging in areas that you can serve somehow, in a museum field, the list can continue.
That’s what I love about Rowan University. It’s very diverse, you have so many different areas of focus, such as global studies, gender studies, Africana studies … everything is just really tailored to what it is that you want to do as far as going out into the world and utilizing your degrees. And I’m really thankful that they had that when I first came in. I know that I don’t want to be confined to one particular area of content.
And I honestly promise you, it is not nearly as boring as people perhaps consider it to be. I feel like with the right educator, and the manner of delivery and the different visuals that are combined, in reference to the teaching skill, it can be only as exciting as the educator makes it be and only as exciting as you condition your mind to believe it is.
With that being said, even though the workload this recent semester was extremely heavy, I learned so much. And I enjoyed every little little bit of it.
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