Diana Rubinov – Her Story

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you
care.” President Theodore Roosevelt.
This is my story…..

My name is Diana Yakubova. I came to America with my family in
the early 1990s from the former Soviet Union. I was born in
Uzbekistan, a modern city of Tashkent. Just like so many others,
my parents came to America for the sake of their children, so that
we could have a better life and freedom of religion. We settled in
New York, in the predominantly Russian speaking community of
Rego Park and Forest Hills. My parents were providing for us
while we were attending school. Growing up in America I knew
that I was an immigrant and that in order for me to get on my feet
I had to work hard in order to rise up the economic ladder. In 2003
I graduated from Forest Hills High School and got accepted to
study at CUNY Hunter College. I always wanted to work with
people. Psychology fascinated me and I wanted to become a
Clinical Child Psychologist because I wanted to help children
cope with anxiety, stress, and other emotional-social issues. After
I graduated from Hunter College and got my BA, I got a position in
social services. It was my pleasure helping low income families,
helping them to get services in finding work and getting food
services. On the side, I was hired as a tutor, in a tutoring center. I
worked there part time with kids of all ages. I would help them
with homework, prepare them for tests, and teach them how to
read and write. I fell in love with teaching. So, I decided to go
back to school and get my degree in Adolescent Education and
Social Studies. My family refused to send me in to work with
teenagers. My mom, may her soul be at rest, told me to get a
degree in Childhood Education. I told her, “Mom, this is my

calling. I want to teach high school students.” She was happy at
the end to see me make a difference in students’ lives. Everyone
knows how much teachers make yearly. When I told many that I
want to go into teaching, I got many looks and was told why would
I want to go into this field, which pays so little and is not rewarding
at all. I never did or did anything for money. I wanted to teach
students and help them along their journey. It was not an easy
journey, with tons of bumps along the way. I got married and had
my son in 2015. I dedicated my two years of life to raising my boy,
and just wanted to be a housewife and a mom. I am glad I was

able to do it. After sending my son to daycare, I applied for DOE-
The Department of Education, and was hired as a floating

substitute teacher. I used to travel all over the public schools in
Queens. Then I got a full time job as a middle school teacher,
where I worked for a year. And eventually one of the high school
principals emailed me back, and I was interviewed, and got a
position as a Social Studies teacher. I teach in Astoria. It is a huge
high school, serving students from all walks of life. I enjoy going
into school and teaching my students about the world and how to
make connections with the past and the future. “History definitely
repeats itself, not in the exact ways at times, but the past leaves a
turning point for the future events.” I deal with students that may
not come from perfect households, some live in shelters, and
many do not have parental guidance. We as educators and
administrators of the public school system can only do as much. I
always tell parents that the first thing we have to do is get
involved in our children’s lives. Doing homework, participating in
their school events, talking with them on a daily basis, and being
a good role model for them is very important for their social and
emotional growth. Lets face it, COVID caused a lot of damage to

our children’s education. All students missed two and a half years
of real learning. They were stuck doing remote learning or
attending school a few times a week. COVID took a huge toll on
us educators as well. We are working hard to make sure our
students catch up to all the learning that was disturbed during the

There are talks about drugs and how we lose our young ones to
it. I definitely see it and I do believe that all kids have good
qualities in them. Children need guidance and support. They need
conversations because it is one of the most important therapies.
My students tend to come over during my free period and engage
in conversation with me. Teenagers like to vent and just like
grown ups do, venting can help to release all of your emotions
that are kept inside of you. I am glad that I was able to help many
students to get on that path of the future, where they see
themselves not as a lowlife and a failing student, but a young
adult with a success and potential to make a difference in the
world. My students are my children and I care about them all. I
have a lot of work to do and I do not know where I will end up
tomorrow, but for now, my path is with my students, guiding them,
and helping them to graduate high school and become better
citizens. My dream was to become a child psychologist one day
because I love to help children cope with social and emotional
issues. I enjoy being around people and the community. I am so
proud of many of our Bukharian men and women serving in public
service and working for the DOE. Some think that teaching is
easy and that our job simply consists of “babysitting.” I always tell
myself that it is ok to judge, but come to my classroom and see if
you can handle thirty something students. Teachers do not end

their work at 3pm. Work continues past 3pm. Many of us also
have families and children. But we need to grade and come up
with lesson plans, attend meetings. We care for our students and
we hope to make that difference in their lives. It takes a village to
change one’s views, and the school administration does
everything in its power to make sure our kids receive equal
education. We work with a diverse student population and we
meet students from all walks of life. I get to learn so much about
my students each day. I am fascinated by their experiences. If
there is anything that I want them to learn is that it is important to
never give up and even when we fall, we need to take all our
strength and continue walking.