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Helen Sauntson

Professor of English Language & Linguistics

Staff profile image of Helen Sauntson

I initially studied English Language and then trained to be a secondary school teacher. After a couple of years, I realised that I missed the academic side and was really enjoying teaching the older age range, so I went back to university to do my PhD. Because of my teaching experience I was fortunate enough to get a teaching scholarship and progressed from there.

I think York St John is really inclusive along lots of dimensions, not just gender.

I feel like I’ve got more academic freedom, also personally I can be myself more. As a gay woman I‘m out to all my colleagues and students and I’ve only ever experienced positive reactions to that. In contrast, in my previous job I experienced bullying from colleagues and management. So I think the ethos here is really really inclusive and that has positive effects on gender as well as everything else.

My career advice would be to stick with it. There will be obstacles, there will be difficulties, but believe in yourself and stick with it. For me that’s something that has worked. Keep on trucking.

I’m really lucky to have an amazing family and I always say to my wife that whatever my success is, it’s her success as well. That helps with the work life balance as well, we’ve got 2 young children who force me to have fun, which is never a hardship. Take time out at weekends to do other things: don’t sideline your hobbies, they’re an outlet and actually they make you more productive at work.