Bristie Rouf Rahman
BEd in Elementary Education Alumna
“… I wanted to create a sense of belonging in my classroom and be more culturally responsive for my diverse students.”
Institute for Teacher Education - Elementary
- BEd, Elementary Education
COEAA Spotlight on Bristie Rouf Rahman by Kayla Ueshiro
What is your education background?
I graduated from the University Laboratory School and earned my BEd in Elementary Education from the College of Education.
Where do you work? What have you been doing post-graduation?
After graduating, I knew that I wanted to venture out of Hawaiʽi and experience something different, so I thought that moving to California would be a great opportunity! I chose to go to the Bay Area because I love the culture and have family that reside there.
I currently work at a private institution, Stratford School, where I have been a kindergarten teacher for three years. I enjoy the aspect of team teaching, which is something I never experienced until coming to California. I am the lead teacher during the morning and the support teacher during the afternoon for thirty students. During COVID, I actually had only ten students, and it was always in-person. I am definitely a proponent of smaller class sizes after that experience!
How did you become interested in education?
There are two major reasons why I decided to pursue a career in education. One, I traveled to Bangladesh in 2017, which is where my family is from. I went to visit a school that my father actually created in his hometown community. It is a non-profit school called Mukti Mancha, which translates to “a stage for freedom.” Freedom for all students to learn. My father founded this school in order to provide educational opportunities that are not readily available for those in the community. During my visit, I was very emotional witnessing the challenges that the students faced. I felt immense gratitude for all of my educational experiences. Therefore, I developed a passion for helping other people. I wanted to learn more and do more to help education.
My second reason for pursuing education was that I felt my teachers never practiced multicultural education. I was a minority, and I remember in seventh grade, my teacher did an activity about culture. She had us match into an ethnicity, but mine was not present. I left feeling ashamed of who I was. With that experience, I wanted to create a sense of belonging in my classroom and be more culturally responsive for my diverse students.
Is there anyone who inspires/ or inspired you to become a teacher?
I think the students from Mukti Mancha inspired me because once I started talking to the students and witnessing their talents, I got the chills knowing that education unveiled these talents. They inspired me to be an advocate for education and continue to unveil the hidden potential within each child.
What are three fun facts?
1. I just got married and went to the Maldives for my honeymoon! It was beautiful!
2. If I had a superpower, I would choose teleportation. After I left Hawaiʽi, all I wanted to do was travel and continue to develop my cultural awareness.
3. A future dream of mine is to open a poke shop with my husband.
Our COE alumni continue to reshape education in inspirational ways, and Bristie Rouf is a wonderful example of being a leader and advocate for multicultural education. Read below to learn more about how Bristie celebrates multiculturalism in her classroom.
I am a part of the student council team in which we teach about different cultures each month to represent the diverse students at our school. Multicultural month is in the month of January, and I love being a part of this because I never witnessed or experienced this as a student or an educator. We created assemblies, had performances, made presentations, and completed research to celebrate multiculturalism. One activity (photographed above) included having students from each classroom decorate their class bulletin board to represent the diversity present. Each classroom went on a gallery walk around the campus to view all the boards. This is a simple way to celebrate diversity!