Teacher Feature: Learning to embrace her own culture lets teacher help students embrace theirs

Rachael Mahmood makes it a priority to ensure that every student’s culture, background and identity is reflected continuously and proudly in her classroom.

“For most of my childhood, I was embarrassed by my culture; I was embarrassed that I wasn’t white and Christian,” Mahmood said. “I always blamed my race, culture and religion for not feeling included in school. Now, I use those feelings I had as a student as an empathetic perspective of how students may be feeling in our schools.”

Mahmood said if she could go back in time, she’d think differently.

“I would tell myself to spend less time trying to fit in with the dominant culture or groups of students because we are all born to stand out,” Mahmood said. “Have pride and confidence in who you are and be the person who stands up for others, too.”

Today, the teacher spends her days helping students feel that way.

We sat down with her to learn more.

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