Be The First…

A couple of weeks ago I saw probably one of the most amazing films I have ever seen. ‘Hidden Figures.’

It is about “The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.” (Ref.)

This film for me exemplifies all that #WomenED and #BAMEed are working on, now. In 2017. Equality, equity, diversity. Through these movements I have heard and read the most amazing phrases coming out of these grassroots movements…

“You can’t be, what you can’t see!”


“Be bold for change!”


The ladies in Hidden Figures, became what they could not see by being bold for change. Aside from the film being cinematically superb, I was completely shocked, saddened and worried as to why I had never heard of these amazing women. Why did I not know about them? Why did my history lessons not teach me about the significant change these ladies have bought to many peoples lives?

In particular was totally blown away by the scene below. Which I must admit, I have now watched quite a few times! I often fall into a dream like state whilst watching movies like these and try to put myself into the characters shoes. Being, Asian and Muslim, current the only privilege I have other those and others is the fact that I am male. I try my best to consider what she would have been feeling attempting to do what she did.

“Your Honor,” Jackson says, “Out of all the cases you’re going to hear today, which one is going to matter one hundred years from now? Which one is going to make you the first?”

Wow! You could see in the judges eyes how he was moved by the fact that he has the chance to be the first. How he can make a difference, a chance.

I recently wrote in a cover letter about being ‘The First.’ I wrote about the fact that I am,

  • the first to go to university in my ENTIRE family. Both here in England and Pakistan. Along with being The First Ali to have stepped into the teaching profession from all of the generations of the Ali family!

I went on to write that I am indeed proud of that achievement. I am honoured that I will also be The First to become a published Author from my area! BUT I now want to create more of ‘The First of’ in others! I want to help shape students lives, expectations, ambitions and desires to look past what hasn’t been done, what has never been achieved or never been seen. I want them to say, Sir…

‘I want to the first…’

Is this social mobility? Is this being inconsiderate of reality? Whatever it is, how will you create the first of…? What will you do? I want to do more than just want; I will continue to be equitable, I will be creative, I will be hard working, I will be determined, I will be resilient and I will not give up. Those are the reasons I am also a teacher.

If like me you don’t want to NOT know about amazing people like those in Hidden Figures then click here for 26 Amazing Pakistani’s who are making us proud!

After a brief convo with Sameena and Jonny- screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-13-40-45

I have very quickly come up with using the hashtag #HiddenFiguresinED, where we can share those Hidden Figures, such as Bushra Nasir, the first female, Muslim Head Teacher in the United Kingdom. Read more here!


Amazing lady, however, she is indeed another Hidden Figure in Education. If you know of anymore, do share information about them using the hashag, #HiddenFiguresinED.

And don’t forget to watch Oscar winning Moonlight, A truly breathtaking film about being black and homosexual and what that means in the 21st century.




One comment

  1. Great post Amjad. I find that one of the best things about working in a school that has a catchment with quite high deprivation is that I am able to help so many young people be those ‘firsts’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s