To Sir, With Love

To Sir With Love is one of the first films about teachers ever to become popular.  The film was made in 1967 when civil rights was at its height.  Sidney Poitier plays a man named Mark Thackery who takes a job as a teacher at a British high school.  He encounters resistance in the form of his students.  The students don’t respect him or themselves and this enrages Thackery and inspires him to try to find a way to reach them.

To Sir With Love is a timeless classic because the film teaches its audience to believe in themselves no matter what obstacles they may face.  This idea of self-belief only works because of Sidney Poitier powerful portrayal of Mark Thackery.  Poitier starts out as reserved and collected and as the children antagonize and annoy him his resolve for showing understanding and demonstrating patience melts away.  Mark Thackery as a character works because he is not trying to teach children a subject in school.  He is attempting to awaken them to the harsh realities of life and make them aware of the perils they face once they leave school.  In one particular scene, a girl throws away what can only be inferred to be a used tampon.  This singular careless and mildly disgusting act sends Thackery into a rage about how much the students have a lack of respect for themselves.  The emotional depth of the actors in this film is incredible and really moved me to my vary core.  Movies need not be masterpieces to be considered timeless classics they just need to make you feel something.  I love Poitier in this film because even though he gives a powerful performance, he is not the reason I love this film.  I love this film because it taught me to respect myself more and to value each moment I have.  The film tackles the sensitive subject of finding meaning in your life and respecting those around you.  All of this occurs while segregation and racism are at their highest.  This film should be considered a guide to being a good teacher so that those that learn from you can love themselves a bit more.  Class dismissed.


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