Chapter 11 : To Sir, With Love Questions and Answers ICSE Class 10

Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

Denham looked at me pityingly, slipped the gloves off his large hands and casually dropped them at my feet. He had made his point. Looking quickly at the others I could read the disappointment and disgust in their faces. They thought I was afraid, scared of the hulking, loutish fellow.

“Okay, let’s go.”

(i) Who is Denham? Where does this incident take place? Who was supposed to be Denham’s pair?

Answer : Denham is a student of the top class of the Greenslade Secondary School. The incident mentioned in the extract takes place in the school gym during the PT period. Sapiano, a student belonging to Denham’s class, was supposed to be his partner.

(ii) What does the narrator realise about Denham when they begin to box? How does the narrator defend himself?

Answer : As soon as the bout began, Braithwaite realised that Denham was a good boxer as he moved quickly and scored easily, though his blows were not delivered with his full weight. Braithwaite tried to escape his blows by dodging and parrying as best as he could. He just wanted to survive it for a little while until he could reasonably stop it.

(iii) Give a brief account of another incident during the PT session between Mr Bell and Buckley. 

Answer : Buckley was the favourite punching bag of Mr Bell, a very hard taskmaster, for Buckley was not build for physical exercises. However, knowing his disability, Mr Bell made him do the astride vault and Buckley injured himself badly. The boys of Braithwaite’s class went mad with rage and Potter even charged at him but Braithwaite intervened and saved the matter from taking huge proportions.

(iv) Who is the Headmaster of Greenslade Secondary School? Give a physical description of the man.

Answer : Mr Florian was the headmaster of Greenslade Secondary School. He was short and a little hunchbacked but well dressed. His large head was decorated with a fine crop of carefully groomed curly white hair; the face was either tanned or olive-skinned, lean with high cheekbones and surprisingly smooth, as if the youthfulness which had deserted his hair had found permanent accommodation around the aquiline nose and full sensuous mouth. His brown eyes were large, slightly protruding and seemed filled with a kind of wonder, as if he was on the verge of some new and exciting discovery.

(v) Give an account of conversation the Headmaster had with the narrator before he accepted the job about the way children were treated in the school.

Answer : Mr Florian had a very sympathetic view of the problems of the students of his school. He knew that they were rude and defiant, but he also wanted the teachers to see the reasons behind it. They came from poor families and were not treated well which reflected in their attitudes as well.

He did not want the teachers to use corporal punishment to bring them under control. Instead, he wanted the teachers to come close to them and earn their respect. He wanted the teachers to establish a bond with the students.

Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“There’s always a tendency for the best of children to show off when out of the closed supervision of the school confines, and these are no exception, they’re probably worse than most. After all, you cannot hope to supervise forty-six children by yourself.”

(i) Who is the speaker here? To whom is the speaker talking to? Where is the current scene taking place.

Answer : The speaker of these lines is Mr Florian, the Headmaster of Greenslade Secondary School. He is talking to ER Braithwaite, a teacher of his staff. The current scene is taking place in Braithwaite’s class.

(ii) Who are the ‘forty-six children’ being talked about here? Why does the narrator think that they are worse than most?

Answer : The ‘forty-six children’ being mentioned here are the students of the top class of Greenslade Secondary School, whom Braithwaite teachers. Mr Florian thinks that they are worse than others probably because they have a reputation for notorious behaviour. They are so much rude that they have driven many teachers away from the school.

(iii) In what context are they talking about? What made the speaker say these words?

Answer : Braithwaite’s class had been discussing about the changing clothes throughout the ages in Britain. He told them to visit an exhibition at Victoria and Albert Museum. They asked if Braithwaite would take them there. He sought the Headmaster’s permission and they presently were talking about the same thing when Braithwaite had mentioned it to Mr Florian.

(iv) Did the listener supervise the class alone?

Answer : Braithwaite asked Mr Florian if he could take the class on a trip to Victoria and Albert Museum. Mr Florian was very reluctant about the idea and he advised Braithwaite against it. However, Braithwaite was adamant about it. Then Mr Florian granted him permission for the trip. But he told Braithwaite that he must take some other teacher with him. It was Miss Gillian Blanchard who accompanied Braithwaite on the trip.

(v) Was the speaker right when he said that the children could be worse? How did the children actually behave?

Answer : Mr Florian thought that the best of students had the tendency to sow off when they were off the strict supervision provided under the school. Moreover, Braithwaite was talking about the top class, the most notorious class of Greenslade School. However, the children behaved very nicely throughout the whole trip. They were nicely dressed and were very much interested. Braithwaite had also not expected such nice things from them and he was actually proud of his class.

Long Questions

Question 1 : Elaborate how the boxing match with Denham earned Braithwaite the respect of the boys in his class.

Answer : Denham was the leader of a small group of boys in Braithwaite’s class. He was, probably, the most defiant of them and denied any occasion on which Braithwaite tried to establish himself with the class. He brought a doll in the class and did obscene things with it and once brought a kind of an adult magazine. He tried to disturb the class but Braithwaite never let him have his way.

In one afternoon PT class, Braithwaite noticed that Sapiano was sitting with a bandaged arm. Denham then suggested that it would be nice if they had boxing first. Braithwaite agreed. However, Denham wanted to have a bout with Braithwaite as Sapiano was injured.

Braithwaite’s initial reluctance gave away after he realised that the class thought of him to be afraid and scared. He agreed for a bout. When they were preparing, Braithwaite saw that Sapiano was working with his bandaged arm without any trouble.

As the bout began, Braithwaite easily realised that Denham was a good boxer. He was also cursing himself for falling for it. He tried to save his dignity and his body. Then Denham hit his face. There were tears and blood. It was no more a pleasant business. Again Denham rushed to hit him and his guard was down. But Braithwaite was pretty swift and he made a strong hard hit into Denham’s stomach. Denham fell and was stunned. Braithwaite helped him get up.

After the incident, the boys were more obedient. Braithwaite had earned their respect. After the lesson, Braithwaite went to Denham and asked him to get his head in cold water. Denham replied in affirmative. The respect was apparent in his address.

The boxing incident was a turning point in Braithwaite’s relationship with the students. Denham and his group had become more respectful. Even Braithwaite was much more at ease with them. He was no longer worried or frightened. He was actually having a good time with them. He was more concerned about teaching them.