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I have worked at St George’s for the past 10 years, as a specialist teacher of students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs). My role involves engaging students with SpLDs in 1:1 learning support to help them access their curriculum and succeed by building learning approaches that are tailored to their needs and preferences.

My journey has been quite a varied and exciting one to get to this point. I have worked in the private, development and education sectors, and also have a background in Political Science, Law and International Relations. Pursuing these, given that they examine social and economic development, confirmed to me that a career in education - specifically, in unlocking the gifts of students with difficulties, who are often misunderstood and left behind - is where I will be best placed to contribute to this development..

When I reflect on the challenges I’ve faced and the opportunities I’ve had, I think I may have been too happy enjoying the journey to fixate on them as challenges or opportunities at the time. Instead I dealt with everything as the vicissitudes of life, and embraced both the adversities and the victories.

In doing so I pursue the things that interest me, the things that put me in a position to help people. Once I identify those things I prepare for when the opportunity to take action presents itself.

I enjoy theatre, travel and reading to name a few. My interests are eclectic however the constant is excellence, once the play, musical, exhibition - you name it - has the hallmark of excellence, I am sure to enjoy it. This comes from my early exposure and sometimes participation in the arts in Jamaica, my beloved country.

I think the thing that motivates me most is my quest for knowledge and having the opportunity to help someone realise their dream. I find my joy with the students I support.

My role models are my parents, who by their lives instilled the values of honesty, integrity, excellence, justice and a love of God, and though I pale in comparison to them I continue to try.

If I could go back and give some advice to my younger self, well firstly I’m not sure if my younger self would listen to me ha-ha! But I know I would say enjoy the ride and choose what you love (which my younger self would have been doing anyway).

When I look back on my achievements at St George’s, I am particularly proud and honoured to have been awarded Student Mentor of the year in 2016 by the Student’s Union.  When I reflect on that it makes me smile and reminds me how important my role is to student success.

Janice Howard FHEA is Learning Support Advisor at St George's, University of London. 


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