Dressed in a timeless baby blue power suit, Zahra Hassan looks like she’s about to strut on a runway. Instead, the fashionista is stepping foot into a classroom full of eighth graders.
While her outfits are described by some as unconventional, the middle school educator says she is using her style to break stereotypes and inspire kids.
“I love fashion. I’ve always loved making different outfits and going to different thrift stores,” Hassan said.
From sneakers to sweatshirts, Hassan’s students quickly took notice of her unconventional, yet hip, attire and encouraged her to start a TikTok: misswondroussoul.
She posts her outfits and educational content. A number of her posts have gone viral, with more than a million views.
“Teacher style doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be bland, you can be creative with your outfits,” she said.
Not your average Grade 8 math teacher, Hassan wants to break stereotypes and show kids they can be themselves – lessons that can’t be taught from a textbook.
Kersti Harvey, a teacher at the school where Hassan works, says students “very much look at her as someone who they can identify with, they can share ideas with.”
“They really connect to her.”
While fashion is her art, the middle school educator also hopes she can be an inspiration to Muslim students and children of colour, adding that when she was growing up there was a lack of representation in the classroom.
“At the end of the day I am a younger teacher and it shows students who look like me, ‘Hey look at me’ and I can still take up space like this.”