Teacher Man

Teacher Man

A Memoir

Book - 2005
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Nearly a decade ago Frank McCourt became an unlikely star when, at the age of sixty-six, he burst onto the literary scene with Angela's Ashes, the Pulitzer Prize -- winning memoir of his childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Then came 'Tis, his glorious account of his early years in New York.

Now, here at last, is McCourt's long-awaited book about how his thirty-year teaching career shaped his second act as a writer. Teacher Man is also an urgent tribute to teachers everywhere. In bold and spirited prose featuring his irreverent wit and heartbreaking honesty, McCourt records the trials, triumphs and surprises he faces in public high schools around New York City. His methods anything but conventional, McCourt creates a lasting impact on his students through imaginative assignments (he instructs one class to write "An Excuse Note from Adam or Eve to God"), singalongs (featuring recipe ingredients as lyrics), and field trips (imagine taking twenty-nine rowdy girls to a movie in Times Square!).

McCourt struggles to find his way in the classroom and spends his evenings drinking with writers and dreaming of one day putting his own story to paper. Teacher Man shows McCourt developing his unparalleled ability to tell a great story as, five days a week, five periods per day, he works to gain the attention and respect of unruly, hormonally charged or indifferent adolescents. McCourt's rocky marriage, his failed attempt to get a Ph.D. at Trinity College, Dublin, and his repeated firings due to his propensity to talk back to his superiors ironically lead him to New York's most prestigious school, Stuyvesant High School, where he finally finds a place and a voice. "Doggedness," he says, is "not as glamorous as ambition or talent or intellect or charm, but still the one thing that got me through the days and nights."

For McCourt, storytelling itself is the source of salvation, and in Teacher Man the journey to redemption -- and literary fame -- is an exhilarating adventure.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2005
ISBN: 9780743243773
Branch Call Number: B M13739a6
Characteristics: 258 p. ; 24 cm


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May 25, 2018

An interesting read from a very good writer with a Irish sense of humour. Three stars for sure.

Oct 20, 2017

I like McCourt's writings because he bares his soul. He shows his insecurities, his lack of direction in life. He excels at writing exactly the way you would hear an Irish person or New Yorker speak, which adds to the authenticity of the story.

I gave this book 4 stars and not 5 only because I felt the last 50 pages could have been shortened.

Sep 24, 2016

I loved how honest this memoir was written, perhaps because Frank was nearing the end of his life. Not too many teachers (who are still teaching) would be able to say the things he said without fearing for their jobs. I think most teachers feel like Frank did about being a teacher. He shows how difficult this job is, to gain the student's interest and trust so that they don't crucify you. In many cases, the teacher is the last line of defence with troubled children and teens. When the parents are struggling with a wild teenager, a teacher may be the only one that can reach them before they enter the rat race of trying to make a living for themselves.

Aug 19, 2014

August 19th.....almost finished this book, and I am savouring it. I just love Frank McCourt. He is an inspiring person to be sure. (Not to mention funny!)

Jan 20, 2013

The author has a way with words and the English language. He also makes all his characters ( in this case his students) lovable.

JINGNA_1 Jan 15, 2013

this book was recommended by my sister....
it's good so far.....

Sep 02, 2011

I love how Frank wrote his books. He wrote in such a candid, funny, down-to- earth style. He could be both heartbreaking and hilarious within any given paragraph. So glad he was willing to share his life story because he had a rare gift.

Aug 18, 2011

I bought a copy for vacation reading from the donations shelf at my branch library. Enjoyed it so much I'm re-reading it and marking the best parts. Wonderful descriptions of what it's like to be a teacher, and to be finding your own way in life, especially as the odd man out. The narrative droops a bit in the middle, but picks up in the last part as he and his students find their voices.


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JCLJoyceM Oct 03, 2016

He turns to the principal and says, That kid writing an excuse note for Judas. Brilliant. But I have a reservation or two. I'm not sure if the writing of excuse notes for evil or criminal people is justifiable or wise, though on second thoughts, it's what lawyers do, isn't it?


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