Teacher Man: A Memoir

Teacher Man: A Memoir

Frank McCourt

Language: English

Pages: 258

ISBN: 0743243781

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, mega-bestselling author who wore his celebrity with extraordinary grace comes a magnificently appealing book about teaching and about how one great storyteller found his voice.

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 compelling honesty, McCourt records the trials, triumphs and surprises he faced in the classroom. Teacher Man shows McCourt developing his unparalleled ability to tell a great story as, five days a week, five periods per day, he worked to gain the attention and respect of unruly, hormonally charged or indifferent adolescents.

For McCourt, storytelling itself is the source of salvation, and in Teacher Man the journey to redemption -- and literary fame -- is an exhilarating adventure.

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must be losing his wits. Paddy was stubborn. He asked her what palate was and when she said it was the center of taste sensation he looked delighted with himself and made clucking noises with his tongue. He even did it going through the streets till Billy Campbell asked him to stop as it was making him hungry. We confessed to breaking all the Ten Commandments. If you said you committed adultery or coveted your neighbor’s wife the master knew you didn’t know what you were talking about, Don’t get

out, join the army or something. They’ll take anyone in the army these days, the lame, the halt, the blind, the Kevins of the world. They say he’ll never make it to my classroom alone, so would I please pick him up at the guidance office. He sits in an office corner, lost in a parka too big for him, his face deep in the hood. The guidance counselor says, Here he is, Kevin. Here’s your new teacher. Pull your hood down so he can see you. Kevin doesn’t move. Oh, come on, Kevin. Drop the hood.

hand. I’m sure she’s going to ask for the lavatory pass. She says, Hamlet’s mom is a queen. Queens don’t act like everyone else slapping people around. You a queen you gotta have dignity. She looks at me in that direct way that’s almost a challenge, eyes wide and beautiful and unblinking, a hint of smile. This thin black fifteen-year-old knows her power. I feel myself blushing and that starts another round of giggling. The following Monday, Serena does not return to class. The girls say

to live? I forced myself onto a deck chair for a mid-Atlantic crisis meeting with myself, closed my eyes to shut out the ocean and the sight of the nurse. I couldn’t block out the click-clack of her high heels and the American guffaw of Mr. Ancient Ascot. If I had any kind of intelligence, beyond the mere sniffing survival skills, I would have attempted an agonizing reappraisal of my life. But I had no talent for introspection. After all those years of confession in Limerick I could examine my

and did their homework. He could never call his parents silly names like Mom or Dad. That would be so disrespectful. They learned English words every day so that they could talk to teachers and keep up with the children. Ben said everyone in his family respected everyone else and they’d never laugh at a teacher talking about the poor people of France because it could just as easily be China or even Chinatown right here in New York. I told him the story of his family was impressive and moving and

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