Joan Goody (1924-2008) was a long-standing friend of John La Rose and Sarah White and a well-known member of the New Beacon and George Padmore Institute community. Her papers, publications and materials, both photographic and audio, represent a significant archive of English teaching at a time when teachers were trying to introduce themselves in the 1960s-1990s to Caribbean, African and Asian literature in order to bring it to a multi-racial / multi-cultural classroom. This was also part of anti-racist initiatives. Throughout her career as an English teacher and then as an Advisory teacher she was actively involved at every level of English teaching; at the class room level, as a member of NATE [National Association for the Teaching of English] and LATE [London Association for the Teaching of English] where she founded the Multi-Cultural Commission. From that context she was called upon to contribute to national reports on English teaching and Multi-Cultural Education. She worked all the time with teams of teachers, many of whom are represented in this archive.
Joan’s teaching career included work at Risinghill, an early inner-city multi-ethnic comprehensive school in Islington, which became the subject of educational controversy when it closed down. She took up the post in 1960 as second in the department of English. Headmaster Michael Duane's testimonial for Joan, when she left in 1962, says of her teaching: "the daily stuff and texture of the children's lives and therefore of their deepest interests were used in helping them to increase their skill with their mother-tongue and as time went on the English syllabus for her classes were more and more adapted to their immediate needs as the starting point for their work." This captures the seed of much of what Joan develops in her later years when she becomes Head of the English Department at Clissold Park School in Hackney and later, an Advisory Teacher within ILEA [Inner London Education Authority] for Multi-Cultural / Multi-Ethnic and Anti-Racist Education. It was while Joan was at Clissold Park School that she began her long-standing friendship with John La Rose and Sarah White as the New Beacon bookshop became an important resource for Joan's strategies for introducing Caribbean, Asian and African literature into schools.
Joan also spent time in the Caribbean. In 1972, she spent the summer on a Goldsmith's Travelling Fellowship and the archive includes a journal that Joan kept of this trip through the Caribbean to Trinidad, Montserrat, St Lucia and Jamaica. The Caribbean Teachers' Exchange Programme was established in 1978 for teachers within ILEA, Brent and Birmingham to work in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. Joan led the ILEA section of this exchange and took part herself, spending 1978-1979 in Trinidad at the Mount Hope Junior Secondary School.
As we read through her life, we can see a person who was committed from her earliest years to the teaching of children and the development of education in our schools. What she hoped for her pupils at all levels with their reading, writing and speech was grounded in her own experience of reading and writing. She used this to develop the whole person, engaging in the process of writing herself as a means of self-discovery. A marked characteristic of the archive is not only the rich content of what she worked with but the quality of her writing and her commitment to re-writing and re-drafting. We see this in her discursive writing as well as in her personal writing of poetry, memoir and letters.