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To Sir

By Pintaaa Dec 27, 2012 871 Words
Sir
Dr. Edward Ricardo Braithwaite's story, "To Sir, with love" is a story about a teacher who begins teaching at a reform school in London. The author bases the main plot of the story on his own life when he was a teacher in a rough section of London. The plot and characters are believable throughout the story, their actions show them as normal students who rebel for different reasons, much like students do in the United States today. Braithwaite kept [pic]the story believable and interesting. The students at the reform school had been kicked out of their other schools due to behavior. Most of the students were from broken homes. They either only had one parent or none at all. The narration here is rather simple and going from the point of view of the teacher, the text is rather easy to understand and feel. The text can be logically divided into a two parts. The key in the first part of the text is rather dry and unemotional. From the very beginning of the extract we see the description of the Friday morning, the “pre-recess” period. The author gives the headmaster a nickname – Old man. To describe the principal’s program our narrator uses such metaphor as “pet scheme”. From his next words we see the description of this “scheme” as a program in which “Each child would review the events of his school week in his own words, in his own way; he was free to comment, to criticise, to agree or disagree, with any person, subject or method”. From his next words can be seen a little irony, because “No one and nothing was sacred, from the Headmaster down, and the child, moreover, was safe from any form of reprisal”. Then the narrator uses the large block of direct speech of the Headmaster – Mr. Florian. This block describes the motives of creating such a program, it shows us that Mr. Florian cares about his pupils and also tries to improve their writing skills. Of course one of the advantages of this program is knowing the children’s opinion and attitude to some people, things and processes. Then we see a little interest of the narrator to this program, it is seen in his anxiety in discovering his pupils estimation. The author uses here an idiom “to cut a figure”. The process of reading the comments he compares to “a mixture of relief and disappointment”, the children just mentioned that they have a new "blackie" teacher. He see two variants: either they imagined he would be transient as his many predecessors or he just had made so little impression on them. He unreasonably blames himself for this, thinking that this is his own fault. The mood begins to change into dramatic in the second part, the next part of the extract begins with the depiction of the narrator efforts to be a successful teacher. Buying and reading books on the psychology of teaching just did not work. He uses simile to compare the children’s resistance with a “thick pane of glass”, he even use the metaphor “remote” to depict their attitude. The part continues with a little flashback on the phases of the relationship with children. The first phase was just work without question or protest, but without interest or enthusiasm at the same time. The time passed and they entered the second phase of their education. The author calls it the "noisy" treatment. We see how children can hurt the feelings of their teacher. The author wants to show us the typical situation in many schools, to achieve the aim he uses the picture of the typical school day. We see that those children, who tried to interrupt the lesson, were a kind of “little heroes” to other children, and they were in some sympathy with them. A couple of such interruptions were enough to destroy the planned continuity of the lesson. Of course, the teacher sometimes felt anger and frustration because he was able to do nothing, and his children knew that. To prove my words let us look into the next paragraph where Monica Page interrupts the lesson. After the loud noise, made by the fallen lid of a desk, the narrator felt a sudden burning anger, and after the words of this little girl: “The bleeding thing won’t stay up”, he was totally demoralized. Of course, this attitude could not be unmanaged, and the teacher once was on the boiling point, when he just lost his temper. A bit later, upstairs, he sat, feeling sickness at his heart because of this utter disrespect for him. He did not know what is wrong with his children. With help of so detailed picture we see, that our narrator is emotional person, who tries to be closer to his pupils, and expects the same thing from them, but everything he gets – an ugly viciousness. In his work, Braithwaite reflects on the dynamics taking place in classrooms and the important role teachers play in the development of students. His early work could be characterized as one of the first reflective memoirs on teaching to receive international attention. This early work is still considered one of the best.

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