By Mignona Hall, ’18
I remember juggling with the idea of what I wanted to major in my entire freshman and sophomore year. As the ideas weighed me down, I continued to circle back to my passion, which is the love I have for kids.
My original idea of becoming a pediatric psychiatrist quickly became a thing of the past, due to my strong belief of not medicating children after witnessing how many black and brown kids are medicated for all of the wrong reasons. This led to me declaring Elementary Education as my major, which was one of the most fearful things I’ve done. I’ve always told myself, “I will never be a teacher, they are always broke!”. It wasn’t until Dr. Ade Ofunniyin allowed me to teach a class for him, that I began understanding my purpose.
Two years later, I’m living the life of a third grade teacher who is responsible with her finances of course. Even though I chose to be a teacher, being broke was never the option I was willing to take :).
Looking back at it, I ask myself “If not me, then who?”
Although my parents were gung-ho about me being a doctor, I always said there would never be a doctor unless there was a teacher who first inspired and equipped that student. Out of all of the stories I’ve heard about teachers, I realized that everybody needs somebody. If not me, then who? Who will inspire the future generation? Who will the black and brown kids look up to in the classroom? Who will unclog the pipes of the school to prison pipeline? If not me, then who?
2 years and a Master’s Degree later during a double pandemic of social injustice and COVID-19, that who became me. Teaching black and brown kids who are plagued by both pandemics isn’t easy, but somebody has to do it. That somebody is me. That somebody is you. No matter the course you have decided to take, no matter the journey you decide to embark on, somebody has to do it. Why not you?
During these special times it is important to walk in your purpose, remember who you are, and remember what you are.
I leave you with the words of a great educator, Marva Collins. This is an affirmation I have my students speak every morning. “I am great. There is nothing that I cannot do. I am smart. I was born to win. I am royal. I am the greatest. I will not fail. This is a “class” where we all learn to succeed.” Your “class” is wherever you are in life. Walk in your greatness, remember your strength, never limit yourself, and remember you are a born winner. The road less traveled is never the easiest, but it could potentially be the most fruitful. Somebody’s got to do it, why not you?
We all need a champion. Who will your champion be? Whose champion will you be?
Rest in Power Dr. Ade Ofunniyin.
Mignona (Me-Ya-Na) Hall, M.Ed graduated from CofC in 2018. She is a third grade teacher in Spartanburg, SC. You can follow her teaching journey on Twitter @MsHallHollywood.
4 thoughts on “If Not You, Then Who?”
So inspiring! I love the the challenge you left the readers with, “If not you, then who?”. Oftentimes we need to be reminded that our journey is not only for us but for those that come behind us as well! Awesome read and keep inspiring our black and brown!
Someone should have prepared me for the tears before I started reading because your journey is so similar to my own. I am so proud to be your cousin and to watch you grow and thrive as an educator makes my whole heart swell! Continue on in greatness and inspiration for old folks like me and young ones like your students! I love you, Me-Ya-Na!
What a beautiful story of finding your life calling. May your students benefit richly from all the goodness you have to offer. All the best to you!
If everyone saved someone like me, there would be no one left behind. I too, am here today because someone took on the mantra ” If not me, then who?”. Thanks for sharing!