Education studies and teaching news at Brighton

Shamima Khatun with copy of her book

Trainee teacher making her mark in pages – and pageants

Shamima Khatun is combining teacher training at University of Brighton with success as a children’s author – and in pageants such as Miss Great Britain.

Illustration from the book Two Peas In A Pod

Swapping the catwalk for the classroom, single parent Shamima Khatun is studying Primary English Education BA (Hons) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). But away from lectures and classrooms, she has channelled her passion for education into two published children’s books inspired by inclusion and diversity, entitled Two Peas In A Pod and Brown Pageant Girl. 

The latter draws on Shamima’s experience in 2021 of becoming the first Bengali woman to make the final 11 in the Miss Great Britain contest. Shamima, who was a bilingual dental nurse and dental tutor before training to teach, is hoping to continue her catwalk adventures by competing for Miss South Asia UK in 2023.

“I also have my third book coming out later this year. It’s called I Love My Mummies, and is a story about LGBQT and diversity,” Shamima revealed. “The illustrations have been done by Emma Clements – a deaf artist who also did the artwork for my second book. I like the diversity of working with different kinds of people.”

Shamima Khatun in the final of Miss Great Britain 2021

Does Shamima plan to bring together her work as a children’s author with her training to be a teacher? “I’m not using my own books just now for teaching,” she says. “But I will be using them during school placements very soon.”

Pippa Totraku, Principal Lecturer in the School of Education at University of Brighton, said: “I met Shamima during the application and interview process and from that moment it was clear to see that she has the potential to become a truly inspirational teacher. She is talented, passionate about children’s education, and it’s a pleasure to have her as a trainee teacher at Brighton.”

Leading the way on teacher training

The University of Brighton is one of the UK’s leading teacher training institutions, and has led the way in improving the diversity of those preparing to go into the profession.

In addition to Shamima, other current students on its teacher training programmes include a professional woman footballer, a Paralympic athlete who competed at the 2012 Paralympics in London, and a dog breeder with a string of Crufts successes. The university has also encouraged more men to train for primary teaching to counteract a major lack of gender diversity in the sector.

The University supports teacher trainees in myriad ways. It offers multiple routes for this with and without a first degree, alongside outstanding specialist facilities and classrooms that replicate those used in school. For postgraduate trainees, there are tax free bursaries and scholarships of up to £29,000 available for 2023 course entry.

Shamima has high praise for her course at Brighton. “The teaching is great, and the support received so far has been wonderful. I feel comfortable, and confident and I enjoy getting involved in class!,” she says. “What surprises me is how passionate our tutors are when it comes to teaching students – it just goes to show how inspiring they are to us when it comes to our learning.

Find out about education and teaching degrees at the University of Brighton.

Kerry Burnett • February 14, 2023

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