Name: Naznin Chowdhury
Role: Science Coordinator, Section Head
Region: West Midlands
Years Served in Education: 17 Years including overseas
Leadership Journey: Curriculum Leader
Inspiration: Mother Teresa
Twitter Handle: @naznin08
Why do we need WomenEd?
The human race in this 21st century has been preparing to move to Mars. Reaching every corner of the world is just a matter of few seconds or more, but the fate of the women in this modern world still remain a question. No matter how educated we (women) are, what position we hold in the society, how much we contribute to the development but still somehow somewhere we feel the limitation for ourselves. Women are the group who are suffering in the developing countries at home and at their workplaces. Girls are treated differently at home and at work, they are low paid although they work equally or more. They are not given the chance to lead. Even in the most developed countries of the world, still, women are not treated equally, fairly. Still, there is significantly a huge number of capable women leave their education before gaining their degrees. For all these and many other issues, we need a platform where we can take these questions forward to make good and sustainable changes in the system for ourselves and for the future generations. I think no one will come and do it for us unless we do it for ourselves. It is important that every woman feels confident to flourish to her level best. And to do so, women need support and inspiration. WomenEd is that source of support and inspiration for us and we need this platform to excel in our professional and personal lives.
Why do you volunteer to contribute to the WomenEd community?
I strongly believe in girls’ education and their independence. While working in a girls’ school I have seen many of my highly capable students do not have any ambition or dream for their future. They think they are supposed to raise children and look after the family. That’s why they think they don’t have to have a degree. This outlook is very limited to me. I take every opportunity to inspire my students to be educated in order to have respect in the family and outside world. Because I can imagine what are the challenges they will face without being ready for the world. WomenEd is the community who inspires and support women to excel in their professional lives. I feel truly happy to be a part of WomenEd because this will give me a chance to support others or inspire others. Besides this, when I started my teaching journey in England, I always had a fear of being different especially as a migrant worker. However, I managed to adapt to the environment very quickly because of my sociable skill. But still, I always felt the need of a community where I could be a part and I would get some motivation from the like-minded people. WomenEd is the community which is trying to promote diversity and equal opportunity. This is another reason why I would like to volunteer.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
When I first started my teaching career I found it very tough to have that balance. Waking up early in the morning, delivering good lessons with a happy face, completing all other work or school duties, meeting deadlines, planning, marking even in the late night took all my time. There was no life in the beginning. But soon when I started to organise my work in a better way, I kept the weekend free, I said ‘NO’ to the late night planning and I started to follow my ‘to do list’ by giving priority, my life has changed. Now I have a good control over everything and I feel happier. I maintain that balance carefully just by following my rules.
How do you lead?
‘Be yourself. The number of leadership styles is limitless’ I believe in this leadership mantra. In my leadership journey whether in the classroom or with colleagues or even with parents, so far until today, I have been very successful. And the reason behind that is, I treat everyone fairly, equally and with the respect that they deserve. I use different styles and approaches to deal with my students/colleagues and other staff depending on the situation. The most important thing I always remember is: keep your word. I believe if I don’t keep my word then nobody will rely on me which will lead to a poor relationship. I maintain the space but at the same time, I am always ready to listen to others. As a leader, this is very important to know everyone and to know them, we must listen. I believe in empowering others, giving chances to others to excel in their professional lives. ‘Be quick to praise, but slow to admonish. Praise in public, but admonish in private.’ I follow this rule with all my heart.
What has helped you progress in your leadership career?
The school where I have been working for the last six years is a newly established school. I joined as a science teacher but soon I was promoted as a head of science. This opportunity gave me the chance to develop and to lead a new department successfully with the support of my colleagues. Also, I have been fully involved in the development of the whole school. This has boosted my confidence and given me the courage to take up more challenging responsibilities. Later, I was promoted as a Curriculum Head in the school. This role has helped me to develop my relationship with every teacher of each subject while working with them closely. All of these have become possible because of my inclusive nature. I involve everyone in discussions and take their opinions in order to make a decision. It is important that all teachers feel valued.
What is your vision for education?
I dream of the world where EVERY child will get the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of education, no matter what race, what colour, what background, which country they belong to. I dream of the world where every girl will be treated with respect and equally regardless of her background and their contributions will be recognised and valued. I dream of the generation to whom pen will be used as the most powerful weapon. I dream of a world where the word ‘discrimination’ is extinct and diversity is embraced. All these are possible only by providing education to everyone.
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”
I am currently reading ‘The little book of Peace’ by Tiddy Rowan
“A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.”