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To Sir, With Love
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To Sir, With Love

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  7,699 ratings  ·  303 reviews
The author's experiences as a teacher in the slums of London.

When a woman refuses to sit next to him on the bus, Rick Braithewaite is saddened and angered by her prejudice. In post-war cosmopolitan London he had hoped for a more enlightened attitude. When he begins his first teaching job in a tough East End school the reactions are the same. Slowly and painfully some of th
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Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 4th 2005 by Vintage Classics (first published 1959)
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Anuradha Bhattacharyya The book is about a young man who teaches in a school and happens to be able to solve a lot of problems that the students face in that school. It is…moreThe book is about a young man who teaches in a school and happens to be able to solve a lot of problems that the students face in that school. It is in easy English.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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obh
A No frills book. Read it during train-journey at night (yes, people still use this old mode of transportation). This book is highly relevant to the current Indian situation, caste and colour have played a great role in the past centuries in India, only after Independence has it been considered as a crime. But still the social stigma of being born into the lower caste has its effect on the minds and hearts of many young children.
In Britain it was if you're black you might as well die, in India
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booklady
To Sir with Love was one of my favorite movies when I was younger. Secretly I was in love with Sidney Poitier and envious of his students. Why couldn’t I have a teacher like that?

The book is well worth reading for a couple reasons. For one thing, it’s more realistic than the movie. As is usual in movies, story-line was sacrificed to intensify drama. In the book you have narration, background, and real characters including development. It’s less gripping perhaps, but infinitely preferable.

Also,
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Penny
I re-read this recently and found much of it dated and strangely prejudiced!!! One shouldnt impose today's morals on the past - perhaps!!

This is a well known and inspiring account of a West Indian young man who comes to England following WW2 to work as a teacher. He had tried to get other work but no one would employ him due to his colour. He gets a job in a forward thinking but struggling East End secondary school where the kids are violent and lacking ambition. He gradually earns their respect
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Harry Rutherford
I knew that To Sir, With Love was a book about a black Caribbean man struggling with racial prejudice in 1950s London, so I was quite amused that the opening—his description of travelling on a bus full of East End women—reads so much like a white colonial Briton describing the natives of a third world country. It’s the combination of effortless cultural superiority and an anthropological eye.

The women carried large heavy shopping bags, and in the ripe mixture of odours which accompanied them, th
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Shamidha Hameed
Wonderful! Having worked as a teacher in an elementary school and as a trainer in a professional course college, I have had some experience with students aged 7-25. Whatever their age, I have felt that if the teacher shows them respect and love, the students reciprocate the same in double the measure!

This book reminded me of my days as a teacher in a school in the Middle East where people are generally branded as arrogant and bossy. But I realized that when you get to know those people and their
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Velvetink
The nun's at my high school thought our class incorrigible. They hoped this book would save us, (well in combination with the movie) starring Sidney Poitier as Thackeray and Lulu as Barbara "Babs" Pegg and the film's title song "To Sir, with Love", sung by Lulu, - it did save quite a few of us. Some of us still read books! Only those who passed the English exam (included an essay on the book) were allowed the excursion to see the film.
Shinjan *Lord Pistachio*
Oct 09, 2011 Shinjan *Lord Pistachio* rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maninee Maity; Ishita Mallick
Recommended to Shinjan *Lord Pistachio* by: Sonali V
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeannie
I read this book many years ago for a unit I was assigned to teach my eighth grade classes during my student teaching experience. We watched the movie at the end of the unit. The book was much better. It inspired me to work hard to be the best teacher that I possibly could become. Maybe it spoke to me so clearly because this book isn't really about the methods--it's more about the heart behind the methods. It really isn't so much about academics either. Braithwaite's focus is on the moral and so ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This may not be exactly the edition I read "back when". This is another book my girl friend from high school gets credit for me reading. In the heated racial atmosphere of the 60s and 70s this was a well read book (and of course inspired a well known movie, whose theme became a hit song).

Unlike a a couple of romances I read more sticks with me from this book. The scenes of the teacher confronting the (at first) rowdy "youths" he is attempting to teach and the frankly lewd actions of some of them
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Purvi
One of the most remarkable and impacting books I read first as a student in class VIII and then as a teacher in two Co-Ed schools. The issues covered in the book are real to date and so very poignantly relevant, I relate to it all the more strongly as a woman teacher having to deal with almost the same issues and more on a regular basis. As per my understanding, the book needs to be introduced as part of syllabus for middle school learners as the book deals effectively, 'with love', the fundamen ...more
Kandice
This is the second time I've read this book and you would think that after the first time I wouldn't be surprised by the differences between the movie and the book. I'm not saying the movie is better, I'm just saying it sets a very, very different tone than the book.

Ricky Braithwaite is a young, black man trying to make a living in Britain. It's the 60's and prejudice is behind the British Empire. Ha! Not so much.

When he can't find a job in his field he tries for a teaching position at a progres
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Amalie
Oct 05, 2010 Amalie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teachers
Shelves: memoir-biography
This book is one of my all-time-favourites simply because it’s inspiring. First time I read it I was just finishing my school days and wondered what it would be like to have a teacher like him, though I’ve come across several caring and inspiring teachers, Braithwaite’s story rented a special place in my heart.

The story is set in the East End of London and it is based on real events concerned with Braithwaite taking up a teaching post in a school there. Though the main problem is no longer an i
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Shelby Hanson
This book is about a black man that can't find a good job, so he has to be a teacher because of his skin color. This story is set in Greenslade Secondary School in the east London disrict.This black man in E.R. Braithwaite and he is the author of this book. The school he works in is in a rough neighborhood and his class is less than disiplined. So throughout the book the realtionships with Braitwaite and his students grow more and more through respect and guidance; that includes overcoming raci ...more
Vincent Ho
Read this in my 8th Grade. Is still the writing style and the way of delivering the message I compare when reading other books.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I first saw the film with Sidney Poitier that was made from this book. The film was OK, if a bit sentimentalised, and may have started the trend of "wonderful teacher" books and films, which I usually avoid, particularly if they are written by the teacher in question, or ghostwritten for him or her.

This book is a case in point. Even considering the writing style at the time of publication, I found Braithwaite's prose to be pompous and self-congratulatory in the extreme. He was teaching final yea
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D
a badly aged tale that's not worth the read today.

braithwaite was such a flawed character -- sharply classist, espousing horribly aged mores, sexist, vain, verbally abusive -- that it was difficult to find his tale as sweet and uplifting as he'd meant it to be. when he railed at his female pupils for being sluts and humble bragged about his good looks, intelligence, and astounding teaching ability, i stopped rooting for him.

before reading it, i'd thought of this book by reputation as a tough-lov
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Lori L (She Treads Softly)
To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite has been recently re-released by Open Road Media and is highly recommended for the intelligent narrative as well as the historical perspective on racism.

Originally written in 1959 and set in the post WWII tough East End of London, To Sir, With Love is a nonfiction account of a well-educated 28 year old man from Guyana who stumbles upon his teaching career by accident when he cannot find another job due to his skin color. Braithwaite accepts the teaching pos
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The Silent Reader
I must have been around eleven or twelve years old when I watched To Sir With Love (1967). It was a movie that moved me a great deal, not to mention Sidney Poitier's excellent acting! I never got to see it again after that first time, and was quite excited to come across only last week at a local book store. There was just one copy of the book with a very dignified Poitier gazing out from its cover.

I grabbed it.

Read it.

It is a story about the experience Braithwaite had as a teacher - an authobio
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VaultOfBooks

By E. R. Braithwaite. Grade A
I had never heard of this book until I read an excerpt from it last year. The excerpt was half a chapter of the book which was in our Functional English syllabus for the second terminal exams in Eleventh Standard. I found the excerpt very, very intriguing and that day I decided that I am going to read this book for sure.
The modern classic about a dedicated teacher in a tough London school who slowly and painfully breaks down the barriers of racial prejudice. It is th
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Lola
This was one of my Salvation Army finds (five books for a dollar, can you believe that?), and I definitely didn't regret it. To Sir, With Love is like the older, British version of The Freedom Writers, a movie that I adore and a book I look forward to reading. Mr. Braithwaite really paints the picture of what the school he is teaching at and the students there are like. You learn about his troubles as an African American British citizen and realize that racism isn't exclusive to just this count ...more
Jess MacFarlane
'To Sir, with love' by E.R Braithwaite is a truly inspiring story. It is about a teacher that goes into a very run-down school with badly behaved children to teach them and he eventually turns the students into well behaved mature adults.

I decided to read this book because my mum suggested it to me and she said it was really good. She was right, i absolutely enjoyed every minute of this fantastic story.

This book fits into the category 'A book with themes related to those we've studied in class i
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Mary
It is so refreshing and so amazing to read such a civilized book. Braithwaite seems formal to today's sensibility. So much sensitivity and respect in social relations has been lost since the fifties. This is a memoir of a mixed race British Guianan who was in the RAF and then took the only job he could get, as a teacher in an East London high school. His humanity and high standards utterly transformed his senior class. It's really a love story.
RAN IN JAN
I like teaching, and I happen to attend a teaching class in my home town. My friends, used to mock me a lot, as they think teaching is not my cup of tea because I was one of the most notorious guy in class,i used to make fun of teachers on their face and due to many other reasons, which I cant mention here. In this mockery and teasing, one of my friend mentioned me about this book as he had seen it on some book shelf. I just searched for it, and happen to read it coz, I havent read a book for a ...more
Priithy
Braithwaite, a qualified young communications engineer, takes up a job as a teacher since that is his only available opportunity. To sir, with love is an amazing tale of how he takes up the challenge and how a dedicated teacher reforms the thoughts and actions of his rebellious teenage students. He helps them transform into tolerant, humane, rational and disciplined adults through his perseverance. It's an inspiring story of the high standards that Braithwaite has set for all the teachers in the ...more
Kishore
For many years now, teaching has been one of my dream professions. I seemed to have forgotten about it of late, but was pleasantly reminded of it again by this wonderful story.

Autobiographies are special, because there is none the author can better express but himself. Mr Braithwaite hence develops that bond with the reader as the book progresses, unfurling a story of defiance against social norms. We need to be reminded of some things despite them being cliched, one of them being love always be
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Patti
I expected the book to be a lot like "Up the Downstaircase", instead it was a different take on the theme of teaching. "To Sir, With Love" focuses on Braithwaite's experiences of racial discrimination in London. Even when Rick feels that he's making headway with his students,he realizes that a lifetime of influence is hard to overcome.

Many parts of the book were very moving. We scoff at how "PC" our work environments have become, forgetting how difficult it was for those who came before us.

At t
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Avinash
Short but a very pleasant read.This is about a black teacher in England during 1940s, trying to lead a bunch of boisterous young kids who come from similar troubled backgrounds/families into their adulthoods.I love the book as it tries through E.R.Braithwaite, the teacher, delves into the minds of young kids and the right way to school them is teach them as adults rather than silly kids.The hate they bore on teachers for small yet reasonable issues,the strong liking /crush(in case of a female te ...more
Vinita
May 27, 2008 Vinita rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vinita by: Krishnan
Its a very simply written book and a well written one. I expected it to be a melodramatic, overly expressive book, but it wasn't. The simple descriptions gave a wonderful picture of the environment in which the children were brought up, their school and also a good idea of how east London looked. There are a lot of movies on the same theme and I believe we begin to in a way sub-consciously expect the same kind of drama in older books. And that's what I was afraid of when I picked it up. This boo ...more
iarXiv
A charming novella charting the first eight months of a black teacher in a London school after WWII. Prejudice is sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious, and nearly always present. Braithwaite battled on with dignity to win the hearts of his class.
Tracy Fleming-Swehla
What a thought provoking story about prejudicial barriers as well as the importance teachers have on the lives of their students. To have had a teacher that taught you about yourself and helped you learn and believe in yourself is truly a gift. We often hear about how teachers touched someone's life in an extremely positive way, but this story is told from the vantage point of one of those teachers. I loved having a fly-on-the-wall view of this amazing teacher's journey with his class and learni ...more
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E.R. (Edward Ricardo) Braithwaite is a novelist, writer, teacher, and diplomat, best known for his stories of social conditions and racial discrimination against black people.

An alumnus of Queens College, Braithwaite excelled at City University of New York, after which he served in the RAF during WWII as a fighter pilot (1941-45) and then went on to receive an advanced degree in Physics from Camb
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“So long as we learn it doesn’t matter who teaches us, does it?” 29 likes
“There's no corporal punishment here, or any other form of punishment for that matter, and the children are encouraged to speak up for themselves. Unfortunately, they're not always particularly choosey about the things they say, and it can be rather alarming and embarrassing.” 6 likes
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