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Dec 19, 2010

"A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops." --Henry Ford

A Class of Their Own

Over the last weeks I've been to two separate memorial services for teachers - in one case also a headmistress - from my years in secondary school. Margaret Gray was a splendid woman who died aged 97, alert and engaged to the end. Fueled by a quiet but powerful personal faith, she worked tirelessly for girls' education, rising to be the headmistress of the voluntarily-aided state grammar which I attended in west London. The second, more informal, celebration was for my teacher. I was 14 when Berenice Goodwin arrived to take over the art room. She would have been in her twenties then. She had grown up wanting to be a dancer, but ended up with not quite the right physique and so had followed her alternative passion, training at the Slade and, like many other women of her generation, finding her way into teaching.

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