Chapter 12 : To Sir, With Love Questions and Answers ICSE Class 10

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

At Whitechapel we changed line for South Kensington. At that time of morning there were not many seats available, and the children were strung out among two carriages in groups of three or four. I was sandwiched near a door with Moira Joseph, Barbara Pegg and Pamela Dare who were chattering excitedly to me about the things we were likely to see. They were anxious to look at some very fine complicated hand-stitching about which Gillian had told them and it pleased me to be so closely identified with their lively enthusiasm.

(i) What is the purpose of the trip?

Answer : One morning, Braithwaite had a Geography lesson and they were discussing clothing. It was a pleasant lecture and Braithwaite introduce the idea that the students must visit the Victoria and Albert Museum for their better knowledge. The students asked him if he would be willing to take them. Braithwaite had a chat with Mr Florian and the trip was decided.

(ii) Earlier, a hilarious incident occurred when the class was about to leave. Narrate the incident in your own words.

Answer : It is Thursday when the class was going for the trip. Only one student was absent. He was Tich Jackson. Then suddenly there was some commotion outside the door. Braithwaite went across and pulled it open. On the threshold was a huge laundry bundle; and from somewhere underneath came Tich’s voice. He had to get the laundry done for his mother and ran away saying that they must wait for him. Everyone laughed hilariously.

(iii) What happened immediately after this? How did Braithwaite react to it?

Answer : At Cannon Street, two elderly, well-dressed women joined the train and stood in the crowd close to Braithwaite and his students. The state of disapproval they cast in their direction was made very obvious; and soon they were muttering darkly something about “shamelessly young girls and these black men”. Braithwaite felt annoyed and embarrassed, and hoped the girls were too absorbed in discussion to notice the remarks, which were mean to be overheard.

(iv) How did Braithwaite’s students react to the situation?

Answer : Barbara Pegg was closer to the older ladies than the others. She was the first to hear their racist comments. She bent forward and whispered to Pamela, who moved around until she had changed places with Barbara and was next to the women. Suddenly, she turned to face them, her eyes blazing with anger and said, “He is our teacher. Do you mind?” The two older ladies were left embarrassed.

(v) How can you say that the trip had been a success?

Answer : The students were very much interested in the trip and upon their request, Braithwaite had obliged to taken them. They behaved very nicely throughout the tour. They kept taking notes and discussing all sorts of things that they observed. Braithwaite and Miss Gillian were also helping them. The return journey was also filled with the chatter and enthusiasm of the children for what they had learnt. The trip had certainly brought their teacher close to them and it had absolutely been a success.

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

“It’s more than that. On the way back I was talking with Moira Joseph and Effie Crook; they spoke to me as equals, and I had the odd feeling that they knew more about life than I did.”

(i) Who is the speaker and the listener here? Where is the current scene taking place?

Answer : The speaker of these lines is Gillian and she is talking to Braithwaite. They both are presently in the staffroom.

(ii) What are they discussing here?

Answer : Gillian was very much surprised by the talk that she had with the students. Even Braithwaite had not expected that the students would behave so nicely outside the school. They both had been impressed by the conduct of the students. Moreover, Gillian was amazed to observe that few girls were equally mature as her.

(iii) What information does the listener give to the speaker that appears to be quite shocking?

Answer : Gillian said to Braithwaite that on the way back, she was talking with Moira Joseph and Effie Crook. The spoke to her as equals and she had the odd feeling that they knew more about life than Gillian did. Braithwaite said that it was not surprising. Moira’s mother had been in a recovery home for nine weeks. She was perhaps suffering from tuberculosis. Moira had to mother the family and look after two younger ones. Gillain was shocked to hear these details.

(iv) A bit later, what did the speaker say about a girl student that made the listener remark that “women say the damnedest things”?

Answer : They were talking how mature the students were when Braithwaite commented that they cannot be treated as ‘kids’. Gillian agreed to this assessment and said that she would certainly not call them kids, at least not all of them. Then she added that Pamela Dare seemed to have quite a crush on Braithwaite. Braithwaite sat looking at her, completely lost for words. He remarked “women say the damnedest things”.

(v) How can you say that the thinking of the speaker and the listener changed for the students of the school?

Answer : Earlier , Braithwaite and Gillian had been warned by all the teachers that the students of the school were very rude and often went out of line. However, after the trip, Gillian could not help but say that they were much nicer than she had imagined. Braithwaite said that it was actually true that they were really nice people as Mrs Drew had told him. Moreover, they were not kids. They were on the verge of adulthood and even had more experience of life than Braithwaite of Gillian.

Long Questions

Question 1 : What had made Braithwaite plan the trip to the museum? How did the conduct of the students surprised him? How can you say that the feelings of the students changed towards him after the trip?

Answer : One morning, Braithwaite Geography lesson dealt with clothing. They discussed the type and amount of garments worn by people in varying climatic conditions like the Eskimos of the frigid zones and their dress of skins; the thin cotton garments worn by Caribbean folk of the semi-torrid climes.

Braithwaite mentioned to them that clothing in Britain had passed through several important stages and changes. There was an exhibition going on at the Victoria and Albert Museum which illustrated this change. He suggested that if any of them was interested, then they must go and visit it sometime.

Barbara Pegg then asked if Braithwaite would take them. Braithwaite obliged and asked Mr Florian about it. Mr Florian was a bit hesitant but seeing that Braithwaite was quite willing to take his students on the trip, he agreed. How also told him to take another teacher with him, who turned out to be Gillian.

On Thursday morning, Braithwaite arrived and went to the Headmaster’s office to collect the travel voucher for the trip and reached his classroom some time after they were all seated and waiting. He was quite unprepared for what he saw – the children were scrubbed, combed, brushed and shining. The girls were beautifully turned out and there was more than a suggestion of lipstick in evidence.

The boys were smartly dressed and everyone was beaming happily at his delighted surprise. It was a pleasant and revealing experience for Braithwaite. He had not supposed that the children would show so much interest in historical events. He was thoroughly pleased with the conduct of his class and remarked that they would have been a credit to the best of schools.

On the train, Braithwaite often heard being referred to. They now accepted the things he said completely, unquestioningly, because they had accepted him. Even his thinking regarding them had undergone a change and he considered them all to be nice people. The next day when Braithwaite entered the class, they all greeted him by chanting in one voice ‘Good morning, Sir’. Braithwaite was shocked.

This had never happened before. He was overwhelmed. But there was more surprise in store. On his table, there were some neatly arranged flowers. This showed that the students had developed immense respect for Braithwaite. He looked at them smiling and thanked them for the world’s most beautiful bouquet.