I am Sabaa, an English teacher in Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, training through the Teach First programme. In my first summer holidays as a teacher, I have been interning at The Story Project. I am extremely privileged to have this role, one where I hope I have been able to make a real difference and impact on the organisation and where my interests and priorities in inclusion and diversity have been used as a strength to invigorate the project.
My interests lie in inclusion and diversity, shining the light on those who are underrepresented and ensuring there is real equality and accessibility for all. For my undergraduate degree dissertation, I focused on the exclusion of diverse voices in the GCSE English Literature curriculum, highlighting the ‘whiteness’ of it. It was an immense research project, whereby I interviewed groups of teachers and students and worked through transcripts to get to my findings. I found that young people of colour felt their voices were sidelined, that they had to assimilate and that this impacted their enjoyment and engagement in the subject. I found that teachers felt they had a lack of autonomy, that the course was regressive and that it favoured narrow experiences. This dissertation taught me many things, but more importantly made me realise that the way to enact change was to become part of the system and see what was causing the hold up. I am buoyed on every day by the young people I teach, who come from a plethora of backgrounds and experiences, but share the common goal of acceptance.
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