EMU COE Student Highlight; Darline Saeidifar. A Mother of Five, Working Full-Time, Rises Above Challenges to Pursue Her Passions in Education.

By Rachel Renou, COE Grad Assistant | Published June 3, 2020

A photo of Darline Saeidifar
Darline Saeidifar
A photo of Darline Saeidifar

Darline Saeidifar

The time management of juggling working full-time, family, and school is not always an easy feat to accomplish, but senior Darline Saeidifar continues to pursue her goal of becoming a teacher despite the challenge and implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Saeidifar is currently working towards her bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education at Eastern Michigan University. In 2015 it had been 12 years since Saeidifar had gone to school before deciding to attend Eastern for a nursing degree. Her father-in-law, an alumnus of EMU, had highly recommended she attend because he knew EMU would be great for her.

A couple years into her degree Saeidifar made the switch to education. Changing her major would mean more school while balancing working at Ford Motor Company and being a wife and mother of five children, but Saeidifar was confident this new career path was where she was meant to be. She kept herself motivated to graduate by striving to be a good role model for her children. “There’s been plenty of times when I seriously wanted to quit, but I keep pushing because that’s not the example I want to set for my children,” (Saeidifar).

Saeidifar began pursuing a major in Early Childhood Education because she is passionate about helping children feel welcomed and valued. Saeidifar is originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Upon arriving in the U.S., she remembers the difficulty of fitting in with other children in her classrooms. Unfortunately, she experienced bullying and the feeling of loneliness as a student growing up. When her teachers could have stepped up, she remembers their lack of action taken and felt like just another student they had to teach. Seaidifar decided she would pursue teaching and give to a child the experience that she did not get as a student, the feeling of being welcome.

“I want to provide for every student that walks through my door a place of safety, friendliness and love where they feel important, wanted, and that they matter regardless of their popularity, ethnicity, or if they’re from a different country.”

Although balancing work, family, and school has not been easy, Saeidifar knows it will be worth it in the end. From driving her children to appointments and school, taking classes on her off days from work, and working on homework in the evenings, there’s little time to enjoy for herself. Despite the hard work, she knows that there is a great rewarding career waiting for her upon graduation. “Everything that I’m going through is worth it to me because getting a college degree/education is very important and is something I have to do for me,” (Saeidifar).

With the COVID-19 pandemic that largely affected EMU’s Winter 2020 semester, Darline did her best to keep this bright outlook among the difficulties brought on by the pandemic. Despite the unfortunate chaos the pandemic caused, Darline was thankful to have some time off work and complete her classes online. She viewed the long period of time as a much needed vacation, and did her best to continue turning in assignments while being with her five children all day.

Even before the stay-at-home orders that moved classes online in Winter 2020, Saeidifar had found the availability of online classes toward the beginning of her degree helpful. While still being excited for her field experience and student teaching, she understands that she will need to dedicate extra time toward accomplishing her degree in-person. She aims to take advantage of campus services and assistance that help with homework and writing to remain successful.

As she nears the end of her degree, she has a lot to be proud of. “Aside from being a mom to five wonderful children, I am most proud of making the decision to go back to school in 2015. Better late than never, right,” (Saeidifar). In addition, she has earned a 3.6 GPA and made it on the Dean’s List. Above all, she shows tenacity to accomplish a goal that she set out to do.

“I have so many things in my life that I could use as excuses to quit, but because of my children, my husband, work and my age, I have become more determined to succeed to show other working, married (or single) moms out there that pursuing and getting a college degree can be done and is attainable!”

About The College of Education at Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, The College of Education (COE) at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) continues to be one of the largest producers of educational personnel in the nation. The COE includes a comprehensive variety of programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral program level. Non-degree and certifications are also offered through the COE as well. The COE includes departments for teacher education, special education, and leadership & counseling. All of the professional education programs offered by EMU’s COE are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and are also approved by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The graduates the EMU produces are highly desired in the field, due to the strong reputation the COE has earned throughout their many established years. The COE has been recognized for its strong success rate by U.S. News and World Report’s: America’s Best Colleges.