Many teacher movies are variations on a formula: difficult kids plus an understanding teacher equals transformed lives. Movies usually make it look far easier than this really is. But in To Sir, With Love, teacher Mark Thackeray, played by Sydney Poitier, resonates with lots of secondary teachers. His students are rude, incorrigible, and the boys challenge him to a boxing match. Every student presents individual challenges of poverty and miseducation.
Real teaching feels like this. No mattered how battered or exhausted we feel, our job is to educate children for a future we know nothing about. We help shape our students’ destiny and it’s tough work. Like parents, we do a difficult job day in and day out. We encourage, plead, threaten, laugh, fume, and stick by them because we see so much promise.
To Sir, With Love may appear dated, but it’s not. Mark Thackeray decided to leave teaching and take an engineering job offer. Take a look at the ending and enjoy Lulu’s singing.