To Sir with Love, E.R Braithwaite. How Teacher Pupil Relationships Are Used to Explore Key Themes

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To Sir With Love
How the teacher pupil relationship is used to explore key themes in the novel.

'To Sir With Love' is written by E. R. Braithwaite and includes some key themes throughout the novel. Racism, values, and relationships are some themes that are explored with the use of Braithwaite's relationship with his class. He explores the relationships not only with the individual class members but with the class as a whole. Braithwaites relationship with his class goes through three stages in the novel; silent treatment, noisy treatment and open protest. It is only after experiencing these stages that Braithwaite is finally accepted by the class and given respect. These stages explore the maturity of the class and how their values change throughout the course of the year. When Braithwaite first begins teaching he is faced with racist comments and the uncooperative rudeness of his students. The teenagers refer to him as “a new 'blackie' teacher”. This illustrates the racial prejudice which existed in the East End of London at that time. The students are obnoxious to the person he is, all they see is the colour of his skin. Braithwaite experiences a cold attitude from his class, “I begun to feel a bit uneasy under their silent, concentrated appraisal”. They do not offer to participate or raise their hand to answer a question, the teenagers seem focused on ignoring Braithwaite's efforts and are ignorant to their education. This first stage of silent treatment explores the theme of values, the students obviously do not value their education. This reflects on how in this era children often left school at a young age and education was not as vital as it is now. Another theme touched on is racism. Braithwaite endures prejudice from the children although it is usually quite sly or hidden from an outside point of view. He wil never be called a 'blackie' or 'darky' to his face but behind his back the children will happily speak of him in such a foul way. Perhaps...
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