Non-Muslim teacher fasting for entirety of Ramadan to support Muslim students

Catherine Coulthard [Photo: Asian Image]

A non-Muslim teacher in Blackburn is fasting for the whole of Ramadan to support her Muslim students taking their GCSE exams.

Catherine Coulthard, who is business teacher at Pleckgate High School, decided to fast after seeing her students participate in Ramadan in school and whilst preparing for their exams.

Ms Coulthard, who has been teaching at the school for over two years said her Muslim students and their families have been very grateful for her participation.

She told Asian Image: “My students respect that I am fasting to support them this month even though it is not my religion.

“Lots of students across Year 11 are fasting whilst they are focused on their exams which are over 90 minutes long, some as long as two and a half hours.

“It’s nice to see students from each year group giving it a go, some for the first time.

“I had a lovely couple come to me at the end of parents evening and offer to bring food back to school for me that night.

“I was shocked at their generosity and they seemed thrilled that I was giving this a go. “This is what they do every year, so I don’t think of it being a big deal me having a go for the first time.

“I think working in Pleckgate makes you want to come together to be one big family.

“I’d like to think that parents know that the children are supported in every aspect of life not just academic life.”

This is the first time Ms Coulthard has fasted and she said abstaining from all fluids and food for 19 hours made her appreciate things she usually takes for granted.

She said: “I knew going without food wouldn’t be a problem, but I hadn’t realised just how much I miss having a drink. It makes you really appreciate that all we have to do is turn the tap on or go to the fridge and grab a drink.

“It must be awful living in much warmer climates than ours and having to go for days without clean, cold drinks.”

Ms Coulthard said that Pleckgate High School facilitated her fasting days.

She added: “Colleagues are always supportive at Pleckgate, it’s that kind of workplace.

“I love my job here. It’s one of the best schools I have ever worked at.

“I spend most of my time in my room to be fair so I’m not struggling at lunch time as it’s normally full of students, most of whom are fasting as well.

“They are fabulous and deserve so much respect. I admire them so much!”

This article was first published on the Asian Image.

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