Sikh Teachers in Their Own Words

My name is Gurprasad Kaur Khalsa and I am an observant practitioner of the Sikh faith.  I have been teaching in the Los Angeles public schools for 22 years, dressed in full bana, which includes wearing a white turban on my head.  I am a bilingual teacher of Spanish and English and work in dual language programs in the primary grades.  My dress is part of my practice of Sikhism, which for me is much more than a religion.  It’s a way of life.  My dress is an integral part of my practice, and it would be hypocritical of me not to wear it to work.  I was told by the school administrator who hired me that they would not be able to consider themselves an institution of learning if they did not allow me to express my faith in the way that I choose.

My name is Siri Datar Kaur. I am biology teacher in Queens, New York.  I earned my teaching degree at Lehman College and have been teaching science for 5 years. I enjoy assisting students in learning about the wonders of life, how the body works, the interrelatedness of life, and the scientific method. Students enjoy a hands on approach that facilitates an understanding of the subject matter in an enjoyable way and in the process learn valuable skills, such as critical evaluation reading comprehension and writing. I wear a turban and this has not been not been an obstacle to my success as a teacher.  It is important for our community to know that we can and should be able to work in any position we are qualified for, without prejudice.

My name is Ajeet Singh.  As a New York City schoolteacher, I taught about the diversity of our world through the state’s World History curriculum. Although I wear a turban in accordance with my religious beliefs, my Sikh identity did not offend my students and did not prevent them from succeeding. The view of New York policymakers is that children who grow up in a diverse society will become better citizens if they gain exposure to people from different backgrounds. We know that only education can overcome ignorance and promote a more tolerant society. In an increasingly globalized world, we cannot afford to remain blind to diversity. It’s a fact of life.

My name is Hardip Singh. As a Sikh, I wear a turban.  After my retirement in 1995, I served as a substitute teacher for two years in Fairfax and Prince William Counties in Northern Virginia.  As a substitute teacher, I taught ESL, Biology, and Home Economics at all levels of school, including Elementary, Middle, and High School, and Special Education Adult High Schools.

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