Jessie Ravenna Sharman (b. 1892): Education & Schooling

Jessie Ravenna Sharman was a highly educated, intellectual woman of her time. She excelled at school and thoroughly enjoyed the concept of learning. Sharman started school at the age of three, which was the normal age for her generation. She enjoyed her school life and depicts the environment in a homely way; she particularly mentions the art work set up around the classroom. During her time in primary school, at the age of five, Sharman celebrated the Jubilee of Queen Victoria with the fellow infant peers.

Queen Victoria on her Diamond Jubilee, 1897
Queen Victoria on her Diamond Jubilee, 1897

Sharman spoke of her schooling in entirely positive terms, displaying much admiration for her teachers and headmistress. She was proud of the progress she made; at the age of nine, she had reached Standard Six and was therefore two years younger than any of the other girls in her class.

It is evident that Miss Burwood was a highly influential figure in the young Jessie Sharman’s life. She had suggested to Sharman’s mother that she would be moved to the Higher Grade School if it was possible for her parents to pay her fees. Sharman’s mother gladly accepted the offer and sent her daughter to the Higher Grade School the following week, having bought the uniform and books required. Whilst undergoing her education at this school, a scholarship was awarded to pupils who excelled, which Sharman gained advantage of. She undertook examinations which led her to gain the three yearly grants from the Education Authority.

When Sharman was sixteen, she took the Senior Oxford Examination, in the Notre Dame School on Surrey Street, Norwich. Her results made her eligible to apply for the position of a Pupil Teacher. In order to become a teacher, she was invited for an interview with the Director of Education, who questioned her on her achievements, and was particularly interested in whether or not she could play the piano. She proudly presented her piano playing certificate when she gained an Honours degree in the Elementary Section.

Sharman commenced her position of a First Year Pupil Teacher on September 1st 1908 at Surrey Road Girls School. During her second year as a Pupil Teacher in 1910, she gained a Distinction in English Language and Literature whilst undertaking the Preliminary Examination for the Acting Teacher’s Certificate. This led Sharman to become a fully qualified teacher and she was appointed a position in St. Peter Parmentergate Senior Mixed School with a salary of forty pounds per annum.

She later became a teaching assistant for Mr George Lyon in Larkman Lane Primary School, where she experienced great difficulty whilst teaching her pupils in bomb shelters after the outbreak of World War Two. Sharman worked for Mr Lyon right up to her sixtieth birthday in 1952, after spending twelve years as his assistant.


618 SHARMAN, Jessie Ravenna, ‘RecolIections of Jessie Ravenna Sharman’, TS, pp.8 (c.2,000 words). BruneI University Library.


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