My Background and its Influence on my Professional Life

For the past four decades, I have lived in the United States as Pakistani born, American.   Throughout this time, I have witnessed the triumphs and struggles of our virtuous, inclusive, and diverse country, as these struggles and triumphs have mirrored my own life.  Arriving in the United States as a junior in high school, I quickly learned of the vast differences that existed between my new home and the place of my childhood.

As one of eight children, I enjoyed growing up with my immediate and extended family in a rural setting, eight miles from the heart of a major city.   Despite our modest means, I developed into a resourceful, confident boy, with a strong sense of community, and an understanding of the collective good and the universal truths of humanity.  My parents gave us many gifts, including a love of learning.  They taught us that every occasion and every individual could provide a lesson, if we were objective and reflective of our experiences. The focus of our childhood lessons was always on being an effective family/community member.  We learned to know our rights as individuals and live up to our responsibilities to ourselves and to our community.

When I arrived, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I was in awe of the fast-paced, permissive nature of society, but over time, I realized that the basic values of humanity are universal.   In 1969, the city of Cambridge introduced the complexity of diversity and provided opportunities to participate in an active social dialogue.   I also played cricket in the greater Boston Cricket League and learned to play basketball.   At the start of my second year in the U.S., I moved to Verona, New Jersey, and resided with two different families, thus experiencing the vast differences within the American culture. After graduating from Verona High School, I traveled across country and then settled in Worcester Mass for couple of years, where I continued to learn about my new home, its diverse population, and its numerous cultures. As my journey into adulthood continued, I got married at the young age of twenty-two.  For the next two decades, my wife and I raised our daughter and son, the way my parents taught me, with lots of love and nurturing.  Our home in Windsor, Connecticut mirrored my childhood home in Lahore, as both were an attraction for all the neighborhood kids. These years were rich with the experiences of family and college life, which coupled with my childhood experiences of Pakistan continue to influence my values today.  After my children reached adulthood, my marriage ended. Overtime I remarried, and I enjoy raising our two wonderful boys.

When I began my education career in 1990 my core values of respect, responsibility, caring, and understanding guided and prepared me to be a responsive teacher, committed to the genuine growth of all my students.  My ability to learn from others, reflect on my mistakes, and build on my positive experiences enables me to model appropriate behaviors for young people. These values continue to guide me in building positive relationships with all constituents, based on collaboration and mutual respect for an optimal learning environment.

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