In the movie To Sir with Love, Mark Thackeray (played by Sidney Poitier) was a new teacher at a school where he went through abuse and also harassments of all sorts by the students. He was given a better offer at a far better school. Then he went to the goodbye ceremony of the students who were now ready for life and ready to carry the torch of education because of his tireless hard work and dedication.

When Mark Thackeray took an abrupt break from the ceremony and went back to the classroom, two spoiled students entered into his classroom and mocked him, telling him that he would see a piece of them. Right away, without thinking twice, he opened the envelop that had his job offer and he ripped it up.

Why did a teacher who went through such intense harassment from the students, and knew for sure he would go through more of it again, do that? Why did he stay back at that current school and choose such an option that could have been altered by a better choice of going to another good school, maybe with higher payment, where students were nothing like what he saw during the last study year?


1 Answer 1


Because he knew he could make a difference where he was.

Through the course of the film, despite the harassment and disrespect he receives from the students at the bad-neighborhood school, Thackeray is ultimately able to connect with them and to show them not only how to be decent and respectful human beings but that they should be decent and respectful human beings. By the end of the movie, the kids in his class had turned away from their path towards lives of crime or, at best, perpetual poverty and intellectual stagnation and turned them into a bunch of kids with promise and potential. His job was done and he could now move on to his dream job...

...Except his job was not done. It would never be done because there were more kids coming up who were just like the kids in his class at the beginning of the movie. When he saw the two up and coming delinquents who were rude to him, he realized that to leave that school now would basically be to say "There, I changed one small group of kids for the better and I'm off." By deciding to stay at the school and pass up his dream job, Thackeray was basically saying: "Challenge accepted. I will stay here and I will help class after class of disadvantaged kids become better."

For the record: his dream job was not a "good school," it was an engineering job, not in education at all.

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