Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) Who are they? Why do you think that they were quiet?
Answer : ‘They’ refers to the students of Braithwaite’s class. They were all very quiet because it was their last day of school. Perhaps they were thinking about the time they had passed in the school.
(ii) Who is the speaker of these lines? How have things changed for him in about eight months?
Answer : The speaker of these lines is ER Braithwaite, a teacher at Greenslade School. Eight months before, his class hated him and even denied his authority. However, now he finds himself respected by each and every one of them. He had made special place in their hearts.
(iii) What had happened the previous night?
Answer : On the previous night, Christmas dinner had been arranged in Greenslade School. The senior party was held in the evening. It was a joyous occasion. The students had adorned their best attires and enjoyed the atmosphere. Even the teachers shook a leg with them.
(iv) What had Pamela asked form ‘I’ the previous day? Did she get it?
Answer : Pamela Dare had requested Braithwaite to simply address her as Pamela and not with the usual ‘Miss’ for the day.
She then also expressed her desire to have a dance with him. Braithwaite accepted both of her requests and danced with her on the record of her choice.
(v) At the end of the chapter, what gift did ‘I’ get?
Answer : In the afternoon, Braithwaite was thinking what to say to his students when Moira Joseph got up and thanked him for what he had done for his class. They wanted him to accept a gift from them. Pamela gave him a parcel. Braithwaite looked at the large label pasted on the parcel and inscribed on it was
Following it were the signatures of all his students.
Question 1 : Give a vivid account of the Christmas party for the junior and senior students that brings the school year to a close.
Answer : On Wednesday morning, Clinty came to Braithwaite and started teasing him . To change the subject, Braithwaite asked her her about the plans for the next day, the day of the Christmas party. She told Braithwaite that it was going to be a big occasion.
Thursday morning, Braithwaite saw very little of his students. The girls were in the domestic science department preparing the spread for the Christmas party that afternoon; the boys were pressed into service by Grace , and were busy cleaning pots and pans, and generally helping with the heavier chores.
The dinning hall looked festive with paper chains and balloons strung from the windows, and along the walls. The kitchen staff had prepared an excellent meal – roast pork, baked potatoes and all the trimmings; for dessert there was trifle, which the children loved. After the head had said a short prayer, he made a signal and from the door at the far end of the hall two small girls entered and handed over a bouquet to Mrs Drew. She was embarrassed and sat after saying a thank you.
The junior party was first and they created a mess in the dinning hall. After they left, the teachers and students helped to tidy up the hall for the seniors party. At about 4 pm the seniors went home to pretty themselves up.
Pamela met Braithwaite and requested him for a dance. Braithwaite obliged to her wishes. In the evening, the boys and girls came very neatly and smartly dressed. But Pamela looked the star of the occasion. Braithwaite concluded that her mother had helped her to dress. She was looking so much pretty that even Gillian was in awe after looking at her. She came to them and greeted them. Gillian grinned and said to Braithwaite that she was lucky to have Braithwaite first.
It was certainly a joyous occasion for all. The hall was filled with pleasing chatter. Even Weston was behaving in a nice manner. Whenever Braithwaite got a chance, he danced with Gillian.
Clinty again teased him and they laughed about it. Then Pamela gave Weston her record and had her much awaited dance with Braithwaite.
Question 2 : With close references to a few incidents from the story, show how the class, slowly but surely gets rid of their prejudice against their new teacher.
Answer : Braithwaite did not have an easy start with his class. His authority was often denied and protested. Once, Denham was doing obscene things with a doll. Braithwaite was very angry with Denham’s conduct but kept his calm. However, the afternoon lessons were filled with hostility with him. It was not that the students disobeyed, but they were cold and uncooperative.
Braithwaite tried to be a successful teacher with his class. He read some book on psychology of teaching but realised that they were not much help in the situation that he was.
They were very rude and did not bother if Braithwaite was getting angry with them. Then one day, Braithwaite lost his cool. When he returned after fetching a cup of tea, he found that there was smoke in the class and something was burning in the fireplace. He was horrified to find that it was a used sanitary napkin.
He was overcome with anger and disgust. He lost his temper and gave a hard talk down to the girls. He was so harsh that none of the girls dare to speak a word. He told them to clean the mess at once and went into the library. Braithwaite decided that he would not let them have their way. He was firm that things would have to change. He returned and noticed that the class was clean and some of the girls were even ashamed. However, he did not say anything about the incident.
Braithwaite informed his class that they would be treated like adults. He started to introduce new methods of getting friendly with them and they started to respond. Braithwaite earned the boys’ respect after beating Denham in a bout. Then they went to a trip and there was a major change in their behaviour.
They started to greet him. The Weekly-Reviews also mentioned him and it was apparent that the students were very delighted with Braithwaite’s methods. However, all prejudice had not left them. This became evident when the students denied visiting Seales after his mother had died. Braithwaite was shaken by their response. But he was made proud when they all waited for him in front of Seales home and Braithwaite was overcome with emotions.
Slowly and slowly, he had made an inedible impression on their minds. He earned their respect and became an integral part of their education. Their last gesture of giving him a parcel bearing the signs of all of them and the message – “To Sir, With Love” meant that they had utter respect and love for their teacher who had touched their lives in more than one way.