'Special teacher' made a difference

02:47, Apr 15 2014
Jocelyn Goodwin funeral
FAREWELLING JOCELYN: More than 600 people paid their respects at the funeral of accomplished masters cyclist and Hokowhitu School deputy principal Jocelyn Goodwin.

A gifted teacher who made a difference will live on in the memories of everyone she taught, more than 600 family, friends and colleagues of killed cyclist Jocelyn Goodwin have been told.

Mourners filled the Crossroads Church auditorium and latecomers stood at the back to pay their respects to the Hokowhitu School deputy principal, accomplished masters cyclist and life-long learner.

Goodwin, 51, died after she collided, on her bike, with a milk tanker on Summerhill Drive, Palmerston North, at 7am on Sunday.

Police are waiting for the completion of an investigation by the serious crash unit before deciding whether to lay charges against the truck driver.

Tributes have been flowing for Goodwin throughout the week, and the principal of Russell Street School, where Goodwin previously worked, attempted to articulate the hole that Goodwin's death had left in the region's education community.

"She was an expert teacher in every sense of the word. In fact, she was gifted. We wanted more," David Reardon said.


"She is one of those educators that students will be talking about as adults, one of those special teachers that really made the difference."

Goodwin had numerous qualifications, including a master's of education with first class honours, and Reardon described the day Goodwin joined Russell Street School as a teacher in 2010 as "the best day of my life".

Her "insatiable thirst" for finding ways to improve literacy teaching, her passion and her leadership set her apart as a life-long learner, he said.

She also had one of the most popular classroom blogs in the country, getting more than 10,000 hits on it in a single year.

"She did all these things without wanting to be noticed. We noticed, Jocelyn. We noticed." Son Conor Wadsworth, 22, told of how his love of books was drummed into him by his mother at an early age.

"Most importantly she taught me how to be a good, happy person. Live good, happy lives - that's what she would have wanted for all of us." Daughter Renee Wadsworth, 20, spoke fondly of how Goodwin had used reverse psychology to get her to bike up the Saddle Rd over summer and of the hours spent playing Scrabble with her mother.

"We loved words, but right now they are failing me."

Husband of 27 years Garry Wadsworth told the story of how he and Goodwin had met - on a bus trip to a sports tournament while at Teacher's College.

She and her girlfriends had taken the back seat of the bus. Wadsworth got smart to them, Goodwin went to kick him, and he caught her leg.

"I told her afterwards it was love at first kick."

Times were not always easy for the couple - while living in Taranaki they were so skint they gave each other a car tyre for Christmas - but recent years had been fantastic, he said.

"We were probably more in love now than we ever were. I was saying to people, she's more beautiful now than when I married her."

A quote Goodwin had posted on her Pinterest webpage was: "It's time to put on your big girl panties and get over it."

Wadsworth said it was a tough time for everyone that knew her, but "we will get there, and we will wear our big girl panties".

Manawatu Standard