What are Mr. Braithwaite's character and appearance in To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ricky Braithwaite is an educated and intelligent engineer from British Guiana who served in the RAF in Britain during World War II. He can't find a job after the war because of racial prejudice in England, so he decides to teach at Greenslade, a school in London's East End. While he claims to be quick to anger, in reality he handles racism with intelligence and perseverance. For example, when he's on the bus to the East End in Chapter 1, a woman refuses to sit next to him because of the color of his skin. The bus driver wants to force her to do so, but Ricky decides to get off at the next stop instead, as he senses that this is not a woman he'd like to deal with. He is inherently respectful of the students at the school and treats them like adults, expecting respect in return. He has high standards, but he holds himself to the same high standards. He is carefully observant of what works with each student, and he is willing to work hard to help his students improve.