Luton teacher takes over as president of NASUWT union

She is the first Muslim person to be given the role
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A Black teacher from Luton has been named as the president of NASUWT – The Teacher’s Union.

Rashida Din became the national president of the union today (March 29) and has over 25 years experience teaching. She said: “It is an honour to address members at our Annual Conference as the first Muslim President. We are the union of equality, diversity and breaking down barriers, and that is why I am proud to be taking up this vital role.“Great teachers change lives and put a mirror in front of us to see our potential. They give us courage, give us guidance and great teachers create leaders of the future.”

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For all of her life, the 52-year-old has lived in Luton and has over 25 years of teaching under her belt - having taught science across primary, secondary and SEMH (Social, Emotional Mental Health) schools. Rashida was also a senior leader at Greys Education Centre, a pupil referral unit in Bedfordshire.

Rashida Din, President of the NASUWT Teacher’s Union. Picture:  SWNSRashida Din, President of the NASUWT Teacher’s Union. Picture:  SWNS
Rashida Din, President of the NASUWT Teacher’s Union. Picture: SWNS

She said: “I wanted to make a difference and it is those disaffected and disengaged young people that need that encouragement and that bit of extra support. I felt I had those skills to be able to deliver that.

“Pupils in those settings can be the most challenging and also the most rewarding to teach – they are often exhausting but you get the most inspiration from them.”

Growing up, Rashida was inspired by her English teacher Mrs Burchett, who encouraged her to pursue a career in education. She went on to study Environmental Science at Bedfordshire University, complete teacher training course from Brunel University, then a Masters in Educational leadership from Bedfordshire University.

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She said: “A great teacher changed my life and inspired me. She asked me what university I was planning to go to and what I was going to study at college.

“My parents had arrived from Kashmir in the 1960s, unable to speak or write English. I had grown up in Luton in the 1970s to the backdrop of Enoch Powell and his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and the emergence of the National Front.

“That was not the journey I, or society, expected me to follow. However, to have someone believe in you lights a spark and I became the first of my family to go both to college and university.”

She has held a range of roles within the union from a health and safety rep and negotiating secretary, to senior vice president and now incoming national president.

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Rashida wanted to look at the curriculum and see how this can be changed to help students.

She said: “I don’t feel the curriculum is best suited to today’s young person, especially given these young people are going to be the leaders of the future. There needs to be more critical thinking, more creativity.

“We need to another look at what are young people are getting from the education they receive in terms of the curriculum.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: “Rashida’s experience in teaching and a career spent working with young people will make her an excellent and national champion of teachers and headteachers.”

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