To Sir With Love (the movie) I have a question

:confused: Somebody out there must know this…

I love this movie, but I have been stumped for years on this one scene. Sidney Poitier leaves the classroom and returns to find the kids watching something burn in a little stove/portable heater. He throws the boys out and admonishes the girls for having no sense of decency and for being filthy.

What the hell where they burning?

I haven’t seen the movie, but I read the book. IIRC, it was a used “sanitary napkin” (i.e. a used maxipad).

I posted this question myself ages ago. I’ll spare the hamsters and not dig it up, but the answer I received was that the girls were burning a sanitary napkin or tampon (some sort of “feminine product”). So Kat, I think you did recall correctly.


It was a tampon. They don’t make it clear in the movie but it is explicit in the book.


Maybe someone can fill the rest of us in…what is this movie about? I’ve heard the song of the same title (by Lulu) for years. Is it (supposedly) someone’s autobiography? - Jinx

The book is autobiographical. Written by E.R. Braithewaite, who was a teacher in London’s East End. I want to say in the 1950s, but I’m not certain about the dates.

Braithewaite was in the RAC and trained as a engineer, then discovered engineering jobs were scarce for blacks. He went into teaching instead, and the book recounts his experiences in trying to first control, and then teach, a roomful of rowdy kids (I’m guessing high school age - the terminology is very British, so I was never clear on the ages.)

No, not a tampon:

“I pushed through them for a closer look, and was horrified to see that someone had thrown a used sanitary napkin into the grate and made an abortive attempt to burn it.” (p. 70)

A “sanitary napkin” is not the same thing as a tampon.