"To Sir, With Love"- Sidney Poitier Shapes a Young Girl's Life

Last Update: January 10, 2022

Hello wonderful WAmily!

Monday morning was another loss for this Retired School Teacher. We just lost Betty White.

Sidney Poitier Has Passed Away at 94 Years

Back in 1967, I was in junior high, in to 8th grade. The movie, "To Sir, With Love" had a most powerful effect on this young girl.

The movie brought awareness to many issues that young people go through, many that were hush-hush, and considered dirty little secrets.

Poitier played Mark Thackeray, an African-American engineer, that couldn't find work in his field. Needing to pay to bills, he takes a job in London. His students were to rejects, trouble-makers from London's impoverished East End.

Thackeray helps to students transform their lives, while dealing with his own issues of racism and school politics.

Later, that year "Up to Down Staircase", also came out in theaters.

Add to "Blackboard Jungle", an oldie from 1955, to this mix of inspiration, and to SEEDS were planted.

Pygmalion Effect

"People will rise to your level of expectation", whether it is good or bad.

We were working on Career Papers, back then, and my choices were Psychiatry and Teaching.

By 11th grade, I'd quite forgotten about this assignment, when I walked into my counselor, Mary McClure's office, to discuss my future plans for college.

When asked what I might want to study or colleges I might want to attend, " I have NO idea!".

Mary McClure, stepped over to her file cabinet, and pulled out my career papers!

I was amazed that these had followed me into high school!

"Teaching to Emotionally Disturbed? What's that?"

This is exactly what I said, when Mary suggested this career course.

Teaching in Michigan, was under union control, and times back then, showed lay-offs.

When thinking about teaching, and job security, one had to "Think outside to box" with to future in mind. Everyone was flocking to Special Education!

"These are kids that have behavior problems, which makes having them in a regular education setting, difficult. They are usually average or above average intelligence, but just don't get along with other kids."

Mary's ability to see ME, my natural passions, for teaching and psychiatry, and to blend them was one of my greatest gifts!

Sign Me UP!

What a gift, to go off to Eastern Michigan University, with a clear career path!

I diverted, once to to medical field of dentistry, after to trauma of losing my oldest brother, in 1973, at to age of 21. It occurred to me, that I had been living with such a student, my whole life! How could I have been so blind?

Eastern (EMU) had a brand new nurse program, in which I enrolled for anatomy and physiology, 5 days a week, at 8 in to morning. They knew I wasn't going into nursing, so my professor found me a bit of an anomaly. I had some fun with this straight-laced professor, but as one of her top students, she appreciated my humor, and she actually had some fun in her class. We actually became friends, when I met her at Kroger's, where I was working, and she was shopping.
I was eventually laid-off of Kroger's and took a job as a Chair-side Assistant, for a dentist in town.

After proving I was smart enough to handle to medical coursework, and to dental assistant, job, which I found to be a "Glorified, plumber of to mouth", a rather nasty and smelly job, I made an appointment to go back to my original plan.

Back in Special Education

Sometimes, we need to take a different path, but no experience is useless.

My detour added more classes, and an additional 1 and a half years, which delayed my graduation, but to benefit? I had earned not just one minor, but 2! My first major was Art/Music and to second, Science/Math!

I was certified to teach all subjects, K-12! Not bad for someone who had dyslexia and always had a Math tutor!

I was never diagnosed or labeled! I didn't find out about my dyslexia, until I began teaching.

Teachers become students!

"Sir" and my real life teachers had made me to kind of teacher I became.

Shoot for to Stars!

Even if we don't make it, we are far better off than where we were.

"It's to journey, not to destination!"

I had high standards for all my students. There were only 2, 4 letter words, NOT allowed, in my classroom. "Can't" and "Hate".

The usual profanity was prolific, so that's where my quarter jar came in handy!

Since, my kids were used to failing, not wanting to "just try", was a hurdle we had to overcome quickly.

Their teacher was also a student of Silva Mind Control, which teaches how to block out negative thoughts and speech, ... they had a positive, willing teacher that believed they could become someone wonderful, their best selves, with enough love, discipline and guidance!

Where would I be if not for to Mr. Thackeray's and all to other wonderful mentors in my life?

I don't want to know!

Sidney Poitier, is always going to be one of my top 10 revered actors of all time!

On screen and off, he was just one great man!

"To Sir, With Love" -Lulu

I hope you enjoyed my stroll down memory lane, everyone!

Thanks for joining me!

Hope you're all staying warm and cozy whatever's going on in your neighborhood!



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SHeisey1 Premium
Thanks Barb,

I was also a teacher, born and raised a teacher by teacher parents. I taught my own 4 children before actually entering the classroom beyond student-teaching days.

That set the stage for me to teach ESL in S.Korea, then in community college, and in a DOC (corrections) setting. Now that was an interesting experience. I enjoyed every experience along the way.

I probably encountered "To Sir, With Love" during corrections teaching. I was so impressed, and have watched several inspirational teaching movies.

THANK YOU FOR SHARING TO SIR, WITH LOVE! It reinspires me, and recalls many memories from the past. INSPIRATION+

How grateful I am for the way life went. Enjoy the Journey!
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
Such an interesting journey, Shirley.

I admire Teachers, deeply.

have a great week.
SHeisey1 Premium
Thank you Cassie.
I have been blessed, and I hope your week flows smoothly..

CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
Barb, you have brought tears to my eyes - good ones.

I am from a mixed-race family and we were Caribbean migrants to the UK in 60s and 70s.
My Mum and (Step)Dad were both involved in theatre and I read a lot and saw many life-changing plays and films.

Sidney Poitier and "To Sir With Love" were always 2 of my favourites and spoke to so many issues that we lived through.
He was indeed one of the most successful, graceful and wise gentlemen of our time and I admire him deeply - on and off the stage.

In my humble opinion, "To Sir With Love" is timeless and maybe more relevant today than it ever was.

Thank you so very much for sharing and connecting us even more. 🙂

brichnow21 Premium Plus
Wow, Cassi!
I'm so happy this has had an impact on so many of us.
He always carried himself with dignity.
"Lillies of the Fields" was another one.
I was blessed to not have parents who were openly prejudice.
I think having lived in another country, Italy, back when 8, allowed me to have a opened mind and appreciation for many cultures.
I always seemed to root for the underdog, and fit in wherever I was, ...another wonderful gift.
Take each person as a "child of God" .
We are all flawed and have issues to overcome.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Cassi!
Isn't this place, WA, a wonderful "melting pot" ?
Hope you're doing well:)
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
A "wonderful melting pot" is a great way to describe WA, Barb!
I love LOVE WA!!!!!
And of course all the fantastic people we are fortunate enough to interact with every single day.

I could go on about it all forever.
WA is now an integral part of me and who I am becoming.
I have so much to thank Kyle and Carson for. :-)

So lovely to have you here.

brichnow21 Premium Plus
I feel the same, Cassie!!
We are people sharing real experiences and developing real friendships!
What a blessing for all of us!!
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
It is indeed a true blessing, Barb!

Wishing you a very good week ahead.

brichnow21 Premium Plus
You, too, Cassi!
I have plenty to do with site, if I can step away from the WAtercooler! LOL
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
That's funny. Barb!
brichnow21 Premium Plus
Funny but so true, Cassie!
Today I did split my time, however.
That's a bit of progress.
I also got in on a live training which was awesome, too.
Hope you're well, Cassie!
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
I did glimpse you in Kyle's live class, Barb.
It was, as always, very instructional.

Enjoy your day!
SHeisey1 Premium
Great conversation.
I would have been honored to know Sidney Portier in person.
Yes, a real gentleman!
BobMargroff Premium Plus
Interesting life you had, Barb. I enjoyed your stroll down memory lane. Mr. Poitier was a great actor and "To Sir, With Love" was an awesome movie. I first saw it on a cable channel when I was approximately 25 years old. I'll never forget some of the life lessons it taught me.

I wish you the best!
brichnow21 Premium Plus
Thank you, Bob and welcome to my network.
Many of the movies of that time, had valuable life lessons. I do wish we still had some of these. Action and violence seems to be in most of today's. Sensationalism...
Thankfully, we are able to excess many of the oldies, but so, so goodies!
Glad you enjoyed my snapshot of life!
brichnow21 Premium Plus
Hi Bob...I already posted, but it disappeared??
Will catch back and see if it comes back.
Welcome to my network, just in case! LOL
Tfpeacock Premium
Thanks for sharing at that time i was few years old ,but i have watch some of the movies of this actor but i will try to watch this film you are talking about in the internet, and through this you are able to find your niche and passion in sharing your experience love it and keep it on
brichnow21 Premium Plus
Thank you, Tina for sharing my memories.
I love old movies, even though I know how they end! :)
You'll enjoy it! The song was also on the the top ten Billboard, so we had it on the radio and at our dances.:)
Bridges Premium
Although I was already serving on Naval Submarines in 1967,
Barb, I did manage to surface long enough and be on shore long enough to see "To Sir, With Love". One of the really great movies of the day and, of course, Sidney Poitier went on to produce many great movies after that.

My teaching career was smoother than yours, I think, although many of the same kind of students were "mainstreamed" into the classes because of the shortage of SpecEd teachers. I admire your courage.

Today, education is at risk because of the Union Politics and teachers not willing to stand up to school boards on subject matter in the classrooms. I never joined a teachers union and don't think they should be involved in any way with education.

So, during your jaunt in Dental Assisting did you compete in the HOSA competitions?? The most enjoyable part of my education career was when I directed all of the HOSA and VICA competitions in WV and took the winners to compete at National's.

Enjoy the TX sunshine.
brichnow21 Premium Plus
Archie, I didn't stay in medical for long, so missed the HOSA.
I had volunteered in a hospital, before college, and worked with the children in the burn unit, some left there for months, due to having been removed from their environments. I could handle their invisible pain, but not their physical.
This experience turned me off to nursing and doctoring, so dentistry, was my best choice.
Unions?? That's why I left Michigan!!
Texas is a right to work state, and after coming down here between Christmas and New Year of 1976, I was hired as soon as I applied!
My first classroom was a teachers' lounge!! My principal asked, Why do you need blackboard and desks? Your kids can't read or write, anyway!!"
Culture shock, but I did get my furniture, after some pleading!
I took some time off for my kids, and worked for the Houston Post as a manager. One morning, I delivered a later paper, which meant going to the door. The gal was head of spec Ed, and begged me to apply!
That was another act of Divine Providence! Once in, I was home!!
I loved my little world and my kids had it made. "Just keep them out of MY office for discipline!"
My professionalism made me the go-to for any troublesome parents, so I had a longer than most tracking group. I stayed away from the Teacher's lounge and much gossip and negative energy. I was blessed, Archie.
As I was retiring, they were starting to mainstream all our kids, and put the Spec Ed in the regular Ed classes, like subservients! Thankfully, the biology teacher I was given, was taking his sick days, so he could retire.
The kids would ask me, "Why can't you teach us, all the time? He's so boring!" LOL
The regular Ed kids wanted just as much help as my roster.
Thanks for your kind thoughts!