"The school seemed to be the touchstone of happiness." What prompted Braithwaite to make such statement?In what way did he show disappointment?

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jmj616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of Chapter 19 of To Sir, With Love, Braithwaite states that "the school seemed to be the touchstone of my happiness."

Braithwaite has learned how to manage his class; more importantly, he has acquired a "real understanding" of his students and their neighborhood.  He has also fallen in love with his colleague, Gillian Blanchard.  All this has given him "a new assurance and strength."

Soon, though, several disappointments disturb Braithwaite's contentment.

In Chapter 19, Braithwaite must prevent one of his students from becoming violent with a teacher.

In Chapter 20, a newspaper crew visits the school, and then publishes a story that cruelly misrepresents the school.

Later, Braithwaite's only black student, Seales, loses his mother.  The other students collect money to buy flowers for the funeral, but then hesitate to volunteer to bring them to the family's home.  Moira Joseph, one of the students, explains:

"It's what people would say if they saw us going to a colored person's home."

Braithwaite is left feeling "weak and useless," as if all the months of "delightful association were washed out by those few words."