My Early Years
“Reality hit home, as my first few days of school was a nightmare”
Hello, I’m a Maths consultant and trainer specialising in Singapore Maths. You have to be pretty confident at Maths to do what I do but there’s something about Maths I really enjoy and hence many have told me my love and passion for the subject can easily be seen in my training sessions, but it hasn’t always been like that…
My story is different to most of the consultants and trainers in the UK as I was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh where I enjoyed my childhood living amongst most of my family. My father earlier had already immigrated to the UK but then choose for his family to live in Bangladesh and therefore for the first 6 years of my life I lived in a middle-class society in Bangladesh. My earliest recollection of school is in Bangladesh where they publish end of year results for each school and rank you amongst your year group. I came 3rd and at the age of 6 I did feel like a slight failure! When I was around 7 years old my family decided to move to England and we started off by living in Hackney, East London, where I struggled with language and in fact not only language but many other aspect of school life. My family came from a fairly middle-class background and so the change to a foreign country was a vastly different to what I had been used to so far in my life. Reality hit home, as my first few days of school was a nightmare and I vividly remember bringing in a toy car into school to try making friends in the playground. That experience went wrong when someone snatched the car, threw me to the floor and ran away laughing! I can look back, smile and think to myself “Welcome to East London!”
My Primary & Secondary Education
“I decided to do something which ended up changing my life.”
My long lasting memory of Maths lessons, in my Primary school, was where I used to understand very little. Maths was very abstract and I was also trying to understand the English language and as a result of my struggles I used to be assigned a learning support assistant. My Primary school education flew by and before I knew it, I was in Secondary school. My English speaking skills had improved drastically, so much so that, in my Secondary school interview, the Deputy Headteacher of my secondary school was shocked and couldn’t believe that I had only been in England for 4 years.
Secondary Maths started off worse than Primary. Our school used a system called Smile Maths, I have to admit, it did make me smile but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. Smile Maths required us to go to the back of the class, open a cabinet and take out a card which showed us some worked answers and gave us questions to finish. Once finished you would need to go to the teacher and give your exercise book for them to mark. If you passed then he would ask you to go to the next card (Memory not great here but I think the card had instructions for you to follow so you get the right card after putting your initial card back). What did that mean for me and my best friend, who followed me from my primary school, Gary? It meant that we could be silly at the back and talk about football for the whole hour and no one would care! What a result!
At the end of year 8 I realised I was one of the weakest pupils in the year in Maths and in the bottom 3 of my class, things seemed to have flipped since I was 6 where I was 3rd best! My best friend Gary was, unfortunately, worse than me in the Maths and So I knew I couldn’t rely on him to help me in year 9. During the summer holidays, before I started Year 9, I decided to something which ended up changing my life.
That Lightbulb moment
“Wow, I got the question right all by myself?”
I found a Maths textbook at home, probably my sisters, and started to read the first few pages. I looked at the worked examples and then tried some questions and looked at the back of the book, where the answers were, to check if I was right. Wow, I got the question right all by myself? Me? Did I just do that? Ohh…let me do another one…and another one and another…during that summer holiday, I spent around 30-60 minutes every day looking through the book and doing maths as it gave me an amazing feeling of achievement – I could actually do Maths!
Going back to school as a Year 9 pupil I felt a lot more confident with myself and can remember an incident where I was with another close friend, Gavin. The school decided to change from Smile Maths to what we now have, a more conventional way of teaching Maths. The Maths teacher was about to teach BIDMAS, order of operation and the title was already on the board. I remembered doing this in the summer holidays and I turned to my friend and told him what the abbreviation means – “Brackets, Indicies, Division, Multiplication, Addition and Subtraction.” Two seconds later the teacher said exactly what I said and my friend turned to me, wide-eyed, and said, “How did you know that!!” It was a really pleasing part of my journey in loving maths, as I felt I was suddenly superman, a few steps ahead of everyone! At the end of the first term we had our first assessment and when the results came in the whole class was shocked that I, Mohi, was the 2nd best in the year, only Kurt beat me! Though it was the start of a long journey in Maths for me personally, the school I was attending – Hackney Downs, was the first school in England to be closed down. This meant I had to once again move schools. With a brief spell (2 weeks!) at Highbury Grove, in Islington, my family decided, after a lot of nagging from me, to send me to Homerton House which is where the vast majority of pupils were transferred to from Hackney Downs.
I started to excel in Maths and always felt 2 steps ahead apart from when I moved classes in Year 11 to the top set. I could tell there were two pupils who were way in front of me, I worked hard got an A in GCSE Maths, went onto doing A-level Maths, A degree in Computer Science and Statistics and then a PGCE in Secondary Maths.
“My training on the key strategies including Singapore Maths has consistently been rated outstanding”
After completing my PGCE I went on to become the Head of Mathematics at Brondesbury College in North West London. Whilst at Brondesbury College I helped transform the Mathematics department from good to “outstanding.” In my last Ofsted inspection report the Mathematics department at Brondesbury College was mentioned as one which showed “…significant strengths…” and my teaching was also judged to be “outstanding.” I was credited with raising achievement for the department and in my last year A*-A Mathematics results were 70% which meant that for every ten children taking their GCSE’s seven would either receive an A or an A*. Whilst at Brondesbury College I also taught GCSE Statistics and AS Economics. My GCSE Statistics results were always similar to my GCSE Mathematics results and in my first year of teaching GCSE Statistics, an impressive 92% of pupils in my class received an A* or an A. Brondebsury College later won the GPU School of the year award (South England) and was recognised as the 35th best secondary school in England in 2011.
In 2007 I was hired by Edexcel, the leading examinations board in the UK, as a Specialist Marker. I continued my role as Head of Mathematics whilst also working for Edexcel. I stayed working for Edexcel for two years and left in 2009. During my time as Head of Mathematics at Brondesbury College I was also a consultant for some major education companies.
In 2011, after six years at Brondesbury College, I decided to take on a new challenge to become the Headteacher at Noor Ul Islam Primary School in East London. I led the school into improving pedagogy and modernised teaching methods and resources. I was responsible for adding and encouraging the use of technology in classrooms and also in other learning zones. I introduced the use of Apple TVs and iPads as well as other technology to improve cross-curricular links in lessons and make lessons more dynamic. As a result, the school improved their year 6 SATs results with 100% of pupils receiving level 4+ and 65% of pupils attaining level 5.
I am now an Independent Maths Consultant specialising in Singapore Maths. My vast knowledge of Mathematics education in both the Primary and Secondary sector means I am in an ideal position to assist in identifying and improving standards in any setting. Having initially been trained by Dr. Yeap Ban Har, the lead expert in Singapore Maths, I have now trained various schools in England. My training on the key strategies including Singapore Maths has consistently been rated outstanding. I have also acted as a consultant for many schools and boroughs, helping them to undertake major changes in pedagogy and implementing proven strategies to effectively improve standards and expectations in their schools.
Most recently I have been asked to be a consultant for a production company which is creating videos or the BBC. The videos will have some elements of Singapore Maths, such as the Bar Model approach, which I deliver training on. I have been ensuring a consistent approach whilst advising the company on the best way to deliver these videos for 11-14 year olds.
I liked the trainer, he was really really enthusiastic, can tell he loves doing what he does!