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Jan Stewart arrives at The Oaks, a private boarding school for boys, to begin a new chapter in her life as the institution's first female teacher. The headmaster, Dr. Avord Barrett, who hired Jan on the recommendation of a prominent family despite her lack of teaching experience, gives her background information on the twelve boys who will be under her care. That night, after Jan puts her charges--who insist on calling her "sir"--to bed, she is puzzled when young Bobby Lennox comes down complaining of a stomachache but refuses her offer of medicine. Joe Hargrave, who is in charge of the lower school, explains that most boys are homesick at the beginning of the school year, adding that many boys, like Bobby, have parents who simply do not want to be bothered with them. Jan confesses her lack of teaching experience to Joe and reveals that she was separated from her husband, who died several months earlier. Classes begin the following morning, and Jan struggles to assert her authority over the mischievous boys and receives copious advice from her fellow faculty members. One night, Jan finds the boys hiding a puppy that came from Joe's dog's litter. Jan agrees to speak with Joe about letting the boys keep the puppy, but when she goes to his quarters, she sees Joe returning from a date with the rich, beautiful Barbara Dunning. Joe tells Jan that dogs are not allowed in the dormitory, and when he cautions her not to try to win her students' approval by spoiling them, they quarrel. The following day, however, Jan finds Joe helping the boys build a pen for the puppy in the stable. One night, Bobby gets a call from his parents, who are vacationing in the French Riviera, telling him he will once again be spending Christmas at the school. Appalled at his parents' insensitivity, Jan comforts the crestfallen boy. One day, wealthy Richard Y. Oliver, Sr., a widower, enrolls his troubled young son, Richard, Jr., in the school. Richard, Jr. alienates the other boys with his belligerent manner, and one night sets off the fire alarm by tampering with the sprinkler system. No one will identify the guilty party, and when Dr. Barrett punishes the entire class, Richard, Jr. is ostracized and tormented by the other boys. As time passes with still no mail from Bobby's parents, Jan types a letter to Bobby and signs his mother's name to it. One night, the boys trick Richard, Jr. into going out on the ledge outside their dorm room, and he falls and breaks his leg. Furious, Dr. Barrett informs Jan that Richard, Jr.'s father is withdrawing him from the school, and orders her to accompany the boy to his home in Houston. Jan tries to get through to the angry boy, and as she prepares to return to school, Richard, Jr. tearfully begs her not to leave. Witnessing the scene, Richard, Sr. cancels his business trip to spend more time with his son. Jan agrees to stay in Texas with the Olivers for a while, and Joe looks after her boys. Jan and the Olivers return to The Oaks, and Richard, Jr. learns to get along with the other boys. Joe is jealous over Richard, Sr.'s obvious affection for Jan, and after they quarrel, Jan says she will resign her post. That evening, Richard, Sr. calls and proposes to Jan. As commencement approaches, Dr. Barrett receives word that Bobby's parents will not be back in the country in time to attend the ceremony. Jan visits Bobby, who is in the infirmary, and reads the boy a letter supposedly written by his mother. Joe hears her and notices that Jan is improvising the loving message from Bobby's mother while holding her letter of recommendation from Dr. Barrett. After Jan leaves the infirmary, Joe kisses her and says she turned out to be a good teacher, then demands to know how she could leave the school--and him. As Jan prepares to depart with the Olivers, her boys give her a going-away present and implore her not to leave. Jan impulsively tells them she is staying at The Oaks, then runs after Joe and embraces him.