I recently heard a story about a Pakistani man who was fired from his teaching job because his mustache gave “liberal ideas” to students.
The teacher, Haseeb Ali Chishti, elaborated on the story with IndianExpress.com
“So I was hired right before the school term started. I taught for a week before finding out from another colleague that the school directors are looking for my replacement. When I confronted them and asked the reason why I was being replaced they replied that after seeing me in school with my liberal appearance (I questioned what they even meant) they were afraid the female students might become inspired by me. I thought being inspiring is part of a teachers job but evidently here they meant they don’t want their young girls to be inspired to do something indecent. I reminded them of my two years of teaching experience before but they insisted that I was too young and good looking enough to distract their students.“
Here’s an excerpt from Chishti’s post on Facebook about the incident (the post has since been taken down):
Being told ‘your moustache gives liberal ideas to students’ and ‘you’re a young, handsome man… it will distract our girls and faculty’ is probably the funniest reason for being let go from a job but it is also a damning indictment of the mindset prevelant in the education sector in Pakistan.
Haseeb seems to have survived the incident, and is currently part of a non-profit group called ‘Theatre Wallay’, where he has been involved in producing plays from world literature, creating original works for the stage, and working on an agenda for social change.
Unlike Haseeb, I realized early on that I likely had no marketable skills other than being an accounting teacher, so I made sure I did everything to keep my job.
Since student evaluations play a critical in the tenure process, I couldn’t afford to have reviews such as:
“I think he’s a good teacher, but to be honest I had trouble paying attention to what he was saying because I was so mesmerized by his mustache.”
“In our accounting study group all we could talk about was Borden’s mustache and how lucky his wife is. We never seemed to get anything else done.”
“I think I would have rather had the chance to twirl Prof. Borden’s mustache than get an A in this course.”
“I couldn’t stand Borden’s class. My girlfriend kept asking me why I couldn’t grow a mustache like his.”
So I made a conscious decision to not grow a mustache so that I could further my career.
It must have worked.
I got tenure.
And I’ve never been asked to be the face of the University…