One would not deny that the education industry has been harnessing traditional methods to offer learning to seekers. However, these methods are effective but have proven to be less engaging with students. Nevertheless, there are some organizations, like School Should Be—Founded by Zahara Chowdhury, that help schools as well as students reach their desired goals through positive, unorthodox means.
Zahara is a compassionate educator who participates in creating a better world for every generation of students. She works with schools and organizations to support diversity, equity, and inclusion training and development. She is also a blogger and podcaster, focusing on education and school, mainly secondary education. She is also a qualified personal trainer, a reformer pilates teacher, a kettlebell instructor, and a studio cycling instructor, making her a goal-oriented fitness enthusiast and a disciplined individual. Her blog and podcast are called School Should Be which she started at the end of 2019. It started as an online book club and social media account and has evolved into a very diverse podcast and blog.
Zahara had a very humble upbringing; she was brought up by a single-parent, Muslim, South Asian family, and while growing up, she witnessed the ‘low socio-economic’ bracket. She attended the local secondary school and was among the few of her friends to enroll in the university. She completed a degree in English literature with a focus on multiculturalism, American, Indian, and Caribbean literature, along with modules in 19th century Victorian Literature and of course, Shakespeare (reading a play a week!). For Zahara and her family, education is and has always been a top priority. It has always been seen as a path to achievement as well as a means of securing a secure future, a steady income, and personal safety and property. Everything that a millennial, would deem successful and happy. Hard work has been a key aspect of Zahara’s success. Career representation was scarce, and teaching was something she happened to be quite good at. Thus, she started her career in teaching but hated the workload and it took its toll on her wellbeing. This resulted in her leaving teaching for a short while; she, however, fell back into it very quickly, which luckily made her who she is today. Eventually, she progressed to associate senior leader and learned so much about the value of diversity, representation, and relationships with teenagers in the classroom.
Moreover, it’s Zahara’s students that spurred her on to pursue other ambitions such as fitness, well-being, starting her own business, and taking risks. She still feels like she owes her career and leadership style to them. She believes that diversity and inclusion are the keys to improving student wellbeing, school standards, and teacher wellbeing too. “It is very much down to the culture I created in my classroom with my students,” Zahara mentions.