From refugee to superstar science teacher

Nila Sayeed tells of her experience arriving as a refugee in Australia and her determination to succeed and help students with a refugee background.

Duration – 1:35

Video transcript

Nila Sayeed, Science teacher, Holroyd High School

My family escaped the country because of the war.

We went at 10 o'clock at night and the next morning a rocket was hit into our house. The house was just demolished.

My name is Nila Sayeed. I'm a science teacher at Holroyd High School. I came to this school as a refugee.

Everything seemed a little bit different – the environment, the system of education.

I still had that worry inside me. Is this a safe school for me? Like, do they know what I've gone through?

Holroyd High School is a very special school. About 70% of the students come from a non-English-speaking background, and the majority of those kids are from refugee backgrounds.

They gave me that sense of belonging and that sense of safety as well.

Some of my students they get surprised when I tell them I went to this school.

Student 1

Ms Sayeed is actually a really nice teacher. She's like one of my favourite teachers.

I can relate to her because we're the same.

It motivates me that I can like follow my dreams and stuff and achieve them, just like she did.

Nila Sayeed

I wanted to make the same positive changes that my teachers made for me.

Student 2

Even if you are from another background and another culture, you can still have a future.

Nila Sayeed

One day I was in your state. I am a refugee, you know?

I went through what you're going through. I do feel you and understand.

Do not waste your time thinking; 'I'm not advantaged or I can't do this' because of my background or because of my language barrier.

No. Look at me.

You can do the same thing, you can even do better than that.

You can achieve anything you want as long as you work hard for it.


Faces of Education

End of transcript.

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