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Get to know: Jhelisa Graham

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Meet Jhelisa Graham, our newest London School teacher! Jhelisa is the English Teacher and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL), and joined us this term.

Headshot of Jhelisa Graham, English Teacher

A local Londoner, Jhelisa was inspired to be an educator by her Sixth Form College English teacher. “I didn’t have much direction or self-believe, but my English teacher made me feel that there were no limits to my capabilities, and that I could achieve anything.” Realising the impact that even a single teacher can have on a student, Jhelisa used this as the driving force for her own career.

Even before qualifying as a teacher, Jhelisa knew she wanted to work in an alternative provision. Not only for the professional challenges that the environment provides, but because it is a place where teachers can really make a difference. “I know that in some way – no matter how big or small – In Toto Ed is making an impact on their students’ lives.” From gaining qualifications, to learning life skills, to providing a refuge full of understanding people (and mint Club bars!), In Toto Ed places a priority on the wellbeing of the students. As someone who had what she describes as a “turbulent” time at a mainstream secondary school, Jhelisa knows first-hand how important it is for students to feel safe, happy, and engaged academically.

“In Toto Ed nurtures the whole young person, not merely their academic ability.”

A busy working mum, when Jhelisa does find spare time she loves to be creative, reading, writing, painting and designing, and loves that her job at In Toto Ed allows her to think and teach creatively.

If Jhelisa could go back and give advice to her 16-year-old self, she would say that no matter how lost you feel, there is a way forward. This is certainly reflected in her own personal experiences and goals – in five years’ time, she hopes to have completed a Master’s in Public Policy, and be working on a reformation of policy in education, specifically in Youth Offenders Institutions.

We’ll finish with Jhelisa’s favourite quote, which appropriately reflects her own advise;

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” - Norman Vincent Peale.

Star confetti

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