Character Sketch of Miss Beam in the Story The School For Sympathy

In the poignant and insightful short story “The School for Sympathy” by E.V. Lucas, Miss Beam emerges as a central character whose unwavering commitment to her students transcends the conventional boundaries of education. As a compassionate and nurturing teacher, Miss Beam’s character embodies the transformative power of empathy and understanding. Let’s explore the nuances of her character, her role in the story, and the lasting impact she leaves on both her students and readers.

Quick Overview:

  • Name: Miss Beam
  • Occupation: Schoolteacher
  • Setting: Early 20th century, likely England
  • Teaching Philosophy: Emphasis on empathy and understanding
  • Relationship with Students: Nurturing and supportive
  • Influence: Shapes the emotional and moral development of her students
  • Quirks: Wears glasses, displays a compassionate and understanding demeanor
  • Challenges: Navigates the delicate balance between discipline and compassion
  • Legacy: Symbolizes the importance of emotional intelligence in education
  • Key Quote: “It is possible to love our enemies – all the great souls do.”

Introduction to Miss Beam:

Miss Beam, the dedicated schoolteacher in “The School for Sympathy,” captivates readers with her remarkable ability to connect with her students on a profound emotional level. Her character is introduced as the headmistress of the school, and her role extends beyond the traditional boundaries of education. Miss Beam serves as a beacon of compassion, guiding her students not only academically but also emotionally and morally.

Teaching Philosophy:

Miss Beam’s teaching philosophy revolves around the cultivation of empathy and understanding. Unlike the conventional methods of her time, she places a strong emphasis on the emotional and moral development of her students. Her belief in the transformative power of sympathy shapes the narrative, challenging societal norms and advocating for a more compassionate approach to education.

Relationship with Students:

Miss Beam’s relationship with her students is characterized by warmth and genuine concern. She is attuned to their emotional needs and fosters an environment where they feel safe expressing their vulnerabilities. Her nurturing approach creates a sense of trust, allowing students to open up about their struggles and fears. This bond goes beyond the classroom, illustrating the profound impact a caring teacher can have on the lives of their students.

Influence on Emotional and Moral Development:

As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that Miss Beam’s influence extends far beyond academic matters. Through her guidance, students learn valuable lessons about kindness, understanding, and the importance of compassion in their interactions with others. Miss Beam becomes a moral compass, steering her students toward a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Navigating Discipline and Compassion:

Miss Beam faces the delicate challenge of maintaining discipline while upholding a compassionate environment. She understands the importance of rules and structure, but she also recognizes the significance of approaching discipline with empathy. This nuanced approach distinguishes her as a teacher who not only imparts knowledge but also instills a sense of decency and respect in her students.

Physical Attributes and Quirks:

Physically, Miss Beam is described as wearing glasses, a detail that adds a touch of symbolism to her character. Glasses often represent a clearer vision, both literally and metaphorically. In the context of the story, Miss Beam’s glasses may symbolize her ability to see beyond the surface and perceive the emotional needs of her students. Her overall demeanor reflects a compassionate and understanding presence, further enhanced by her physical appearance.

Championing Emotional Intelligence:

At a time when the emphasis on emotional intelligence in education was not as widespread, Miss Beam emerges as a pioneer. She recognizes the significance of nurturing emotional intelligence in her students, understanding that it is as crucial as academic knowledge. This forward-thinking approach positions her as a trailblazer, advocating for a holistic education that encompasses emotional and moral growth.

Legacy of Compassion:

Miss Beam’s legacy lies in the enduring impact she has on her students. Through her teachings, she instills in them the values of empathy, sympathy, and understanding. Her students carry these lessons with them into adulthood, becoming compassionate individuals who contribute positively to society. Miss Beam’s legacy transcends the confines of the story, serving as a timeless reminder of the profound influence teachers can have on the emotional and moral development of their students.

Key Quote:

“It is possible to love our enemies – all the great souls do.” This quote encapsulates Miss Beam’s philosophy and serves as a guiding principle for her students. It reflects her belief in the transformative power of love and empathy, even in the face of challenges.


In “The School for Sympathy,” Miss Beam emerges as a character who goes beyond the conventional role of a teacher. Her compassionate and nurturing approach to education, emphasis on empathy, and commitment to the emotional and moral development of her students make her a timeless figure. Through Miss Beam, E.V. Lucas invites readers to reflect on the transformative potential of compassionate teaching and the enduring impact it can have on individuals and society as a whole. Miss Beam stands as a testament to the idea that education, when infused with empathy, has the power to shape not only minds but also hearts.

Scroll to Top