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As a Teacher

As a teacher Mr Gregory was one of the "handful of gifted and dedicated amateurs who, a century ago, turned England into a literate nation". The daily record of school logbooks are ample evidence of his style of teaching. He had a rare gift of actually listening to the children he taught and seeing the children's viewpoint. He often seems to be laughing with the children and at the childishness of some adults. Here is a typical example from the Castle Cary logbook:

"George Weeks and Henry Paul, influenced no doubt by the glorious weather, which awakened within them that inate love of liberty which is the inheritance of the mighty nation of which they are two, by no means insignificant units, rambled forth to admire and enjoy the prospect from Lodge Hill, to search for bird's nests or "ketch butterflies" The master followed them, overtook them and brought them back to the schoolroom . where they learned .... that the sin of truant-playing is followed by retribution and tears."

The National Schools, Roper Street. Photo, Kentish Times

Mr Gregory showed the pastoral concern of his ancestry for his "flock". He understood and "really loved children". In Eltham he introduced organised games in Avery Hill park in the Summer months and appreciated the value of play in childhood. He expected high standards of work and the children respected him greatly. In retirement, after 41 years as a Headmaster he wrote of parish magazines "I will not champion mediocrity". The same could be said of his teaching. He kept throughout his life a pioneering spirit in his work, stressing that he was educating children for the adventure of life. He used current events as an inspiration eg. setting "Mafeking, its attack, defence and relief" as a Composition subject and smoking glass so that his boys could watch the eclipse of 1900. After such activity he was positive that "the boys will remember". His enthusiasms for history and literature were caught by, rather than taught to, his pupils.

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