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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.
Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9780743282000
List price: $11.99
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I missed having Mr. McCourt as a teacher in Stuyvesant by only a year or two. He was going to come in for my senior writing class, but won the Pulitzer for Angela's Ashes! What a wonderful experience it must have been to have him as a teacher. That said, this is a wonderful book on it's own; as part of the trilogy, Angela's Ashes wins.more
I was surprised by the number of reviewers who did not like this book. I enjoyed it. Audiobook is definitely the way to go, even though the author sounds like he has marbles in his mouth, because he is a natural storyteller, and his imitations of students are priceless. I would have been one of those students frustrated by McCourt's teaching methods. I wanted to be able to measure what I had learned on a test. He wanted students to explore their creativity. Students have taken many, many classes by the time they graduate high school, so there should be room for a few random classes where success isn't measured on a test. I don't think I would have felt confident enough to open up in his class -- he really doesn't address the issues of loners vs. popular kids -- I probably would have been on the outside looking in on the fun everyone else was having. But, who knows -- maybe he would have taught me to laugh at myself, not take myself too seriously, like he tried to do.more
This was a great memoir on the way "things used to be" in the education world. As a former resident of New York, I have plenty of friends who are teachers in the New York City public school system. While the demographics and logistics have changed, it seems that the core problems faced in McCourt's teaching days are still alive and kicking. I would highly recommend this book, but not as summer reading for a teacher!more
Really enjoyed this; especailly since I have been a Brit out of my depth teaching NYC teens myself, I could relate to it. He has a unique style of disrespect for authority, but compassion fro the individual. I can appreciate that.I've also lived in Staten Island, so could relate to the people he comes across.more
Really enjoyed this; especailly since I have been a Brit out of my depth teaching NYC teens myself, I could relate to it. He has a unique style of disrespect for authority, but compassion fro the individual. I can appreciate that.I've also lived in Staten Island, so could relate to the people he comes across.more
Really enjoyed this; especailly since I have been a Brit out of my depth teaching NYC teens myself, I could relate to it. He has a unique style of disrespect for authority, but compassion fro the individual. I can appreciate that.I've also lived in Staten Island, so could relate to the people he comes across.more
Frank McCourt tells the story of his teaching career with humor, insight, and humility. He’s not reticent about his shortcomings as a person or teacher, and gives his many students credit for teaching him as much or more than he taught them.more
I didn't enjoy this book! The man seemed so self-effacing and incapable of doing anything right - it was only a matter of time before his marriage failed. He seemed to lack any spunk and I kept hoping that he would find some courage before the end of his tale, but alas! It was not to be. His story holds more appeal for the feminine reader....more
I found Teacher Man a very interesting read; as a teacher, the book certainly told it like it was, and still is, for teaching in the trenches of high school, and the impact teachers hope and sometimes can make upon their students. On the downside, the book can be a little ranty and long-winded--and especially over the top with the self-effacing attitude. McCourt devotes a little too much to his own education and adolescent troubles in Ireland. Also, I didn't find his dating and/or marital troubles to be particularly relevant--interesting: yes; relevant:no.All in all, I'm glad I read it.more
McCourt's voice is lyrical and convincing. He has a respect for his profession and his students, and some anecdotal moments that will make any teacher smile and nod in an "I've been there" kind of way. However, it seemed to me that he experienced very little progression as a teacher. He started out blundering, as all of us do, but he shared no triumphs, no insights, no growth, no faith that, in the end, he learned how to make it work, which saddened me. I suppose I was looking for inspiration, but only got comradery.more
actually enjoyed this book more so than his more famous ashes.more
I enjoyed Frank McCourt’s childhood biography, Angela’s Ashes, but never bothered to pick up ’Tis, so I wasn’t sure if I would find any coherent link between the child of Ireland and America, and the teacher of American children… McCourt, however, brought his whole life to his teaching experiences, and his memoir of those years is a moving, (if directionless), wholly worthwhile read. I could have spent a lot longer reading about the first 8 years of his career, because his floundering and occasional flashes of brilliance made for fascinating reading. I was especially moved by the respect and appreciation he granted the pupils that graced his classrooms, even those that tested his early, fledgling teaching ability beyond its limits. I admit I expected something much more cynical from a retired teacher, but McCourt’s cynicism is reserved for his own life, bringing the internal Catholic guilt down upon himself for not somehow knowing or achieving what he wanted to do with his life – this despite having obviously done it, then and later, and quite successfully, at that.more
A memoir that includes stories of students and classrooms, stories of teacher peers, stories of building (surviving) a career in education. The approach is focused on the challenges and self-doubt faced throughout. He documents not only his own experience as a teacher, but also the struggles of his students making their own way in society/American culture through the decades of his career.more
It was a little difficult for me. I confused.more
And the Frank McCourt marathon continues. This is the sequel to 'Tis, the sequel to Angela's Ashes. And like the other two books, I couldn't put it down.more
I don't like this story so much because the writer always complains in this book.He was poor when he was child but he was a good teacher for students. I want him to teach me one time.more
he was a great teacher. I wanna be taught by interesting teacher like him.more
At first, I enjoyed reading this book. Mr. McCourt's way of teaching was funny and interesting. A Sandwich Situation (chapter 2) was especially funny. But I lost my interest at last. It was because all chapters had similar stories. And Mr. McCourt was negative.more
This story is about how Mr.McCourt taught his students.He was a very funny teacher, and met a lot of students.They had their own problems and characters.This story is very funny because of Mr.McCourt's unique way of teaching.I like this book.more
This book was a good read. It was light with equal parts humor and stark reality. It is an inspiring read for immigrants and/or teachers. The writing style keeps you attention, and the little classroom anecdotes offer wonderful glimpses into the life of the author and his students.more
Well, this was a pleasant enough read, and after a few months' break from the reading it was a good way to get back in. Here, McCourt describes his long career in teaching in America. It's interesting, and there are enough details to satisfy teachers who want to try out some of his own techniques. I wasn't entirely happy with the style of his writing - somehow it seemed patronising and preachy even when McCourt was describing his own failures.more
Frank McCourt writes about his experiences as a teacher in the New York Public School System. Through his experiences in several public high schools, we watch him slowly gain insight into what teaching really means and how his students have shaped the man he's become. McCourt is a brilliant memoirist: funny, authentic, honest.more
If you are preparing to be, are or have been a middle or high school teacher, you should read this. Every thought Frank McCourt had in the classroom belonged to me at one time or another in the classroom during 11 years. His self deprecating humor as well as his insecurity about how he is viewed by administrators, students and parents provided assurance that this is not uncommon among teachers. His view that a teacher must to his own self be true is oh so valid. Wanting to be like the teacher in the next room who has everyone sitting up straight, teaching a black and white lesson, spoon-feeding the thoughts you want regurgitated on a test was never McCourt's style and never mine. I can really identify with Frank McCourt and am ever so glad I read his book.more
A mosaic of stories from McCourt's life as a high school teacher. I could relate to some of his foibles and insights into the classroom, but was bored by the absence of cohesiveness. A worthwhile read, a great glimpse into the real lives of high school teachers.more
Really liked this esp. the way he couldn't get down to do the phd in Trinity and kept putting it off but did have index cards. Good insight into teaching.more
If you want to be a teacher you'll want to pick this up. McCourt may not be you but what he talks about in regards to struggles teachers go through and the joys are universal and timeless. We still have these students walking in the halls of our schools. I saw my own teaching style in McCourt's methods he shares with us in these pages and got good ideas for teaching too. Moreover it gave me a shot of good juju for the upcoming teaching year.more
More of Frank McCourt's wonderful work. He has a real knack of being able to make very complex prose sound and feel very simple to the reader. His ability to tell stories that stick in one's mind is surpassed by none I feel. Some great belly laughs, some food for thought and some poignant moments.more
Read all 52 reviews

Reviews

I missed having Mr. McCourt as a teacher in Stuyvesant by only a year or two. He was going to come in for my senior writing class, but won the Pulitzer for Angela's Ashes! What a wonderful experience it must have been to have him as a teacher. That said, this is a wonderful book on it's own; as part of the trilogy, Angela's Ashes wins.more
I was surprised by the number of reviewers who did not like this book. I enjoyed it. Audiobook is definitely the way to go, even though the author sounds like he has marbles in his mouth, because he is a natural storyteller, and his imitations of students are priceless. I would have been one of those students frustrated by McCourt's teaching methods. I wanted to be able to measure what I had learned on a test. He wanted students to explore their creativity. Students have taken many, many classes by the time they graduate high school, so there should be room for a few random classes where success isn't measured on a test. I don't think I would have felt confident enough to open up in his class -- he really doesn't address the issues of loners vs. popular kids -- I probably would have been on the outside looking in on the fun everyone else was having. But, who knows -- maybe he would have taught me to laugh at myself, not take myself too seriously, like he tried to do.more
This was a great memoir on the way "things used to be" in the education world. As a former resident of New York, I have plenty of friends who are teachers in the New York City public school system. While the demographics and logistics have changed, it seems that the core problems faced in McCourt's teaching days are still alive and kicking. I would highly recommend this book, but not as summer reading for a teacher!more
Really enjoyed this; especailly since I have been a Brit out of my depth teaching NYC teens myself, I could relate to it. He has a unique style of disrespect for authority, but compassion fro the individual. I can appreciate that.I've also lived in Staten Island, so could relate to the people he comes across.more
Really enjoyed this; especailly since I have been a Brit out of my depth teaching NYC teens myself, I could relate to it. He has a unique style of disrespect for authority, but compassion fro the individual. I can appreciate that.I've also lived in Staten Island, so could relate to the people he comes across.more
Really enjoyed this; especailly since I have been a Brit out of my depth teaching NYC teens myself, I could relate to it. He has a unique style of disrespect for authority, but compassion fro the individual. I can appreciate that.I've also lived in Staten Island, so could relate to the people he comes across.more
Frank McCourt tells the story of his teaching career with humor, insight, and humility. He’s not reticent about his shortcomings as a person or teacher, and gives his many students credit for teaching him as much or more than he taught them.more
I didn't enjoy this book! The man seemed so self-effacing and incapable of doing anything right - it was only a matter of time before his marriage failed. He seemed to lack any spunk and I kept hoping that he would find some courage before the end of his tale, but alas! It was not to be. His story holds more appeal for the feminine reader....more
I found Teacher Man a very interesting read; as a teacher, the book certainly told it like it was, and still is, for teaching in the trenches of high school, and the impact teachers hope and sometimes can make upon their students. On the downside, the book can be a little ranty and long-winded--and especially over the top with the self-effacing attitude. McCourt devotes a little too much to his own education and adolescent troubles in Ireland. Also, I didn't find his dating and/or marital troubles to be particularly relevant--interesting: yes; relevant:no.All in all, I'm glad I read it.more
McCourt's voice is lyrical and convincing. He has a respect for his profession and his students, and some anecdotal moments that will make any teacher smile and nod in an "I've been there" kind of way. However, it seemed to me that he experienced very little progression as a teacher. He started out blundering, as all of us do, but he shared no triumphs, no insights, no growth, no faith that, in the end, he learned how to make it work, which saddened me. I suppose I was looking for inspiration, but only got comradery.more
actually enjoyed this book more so than his more famous ashes.more
I enjoyed Frank McCourt’s childhood biography, Angela’s Ashes, but never bothered to pick up ’Tis, so I wasn’t sure if I would find any coherent link between the child of Ireland and America, and the teacher of American children… McCourt, however, brought his whole life to his teaching experiences, and his memoir of those years is a moving, (if directionless), wholly worthwhile read. I could have spent a lot longer reading about the first 8 years of his career, because his floundering and occasional flashes of brilliance made for fascinating reading. I was especially moved by the respect and appreciation he granted the pupils that graced his classrooms, even those that tested his early, fledgling teaching ability beyond its limits. I admit I expected something much more cynical from a retired teacher, but McCourt’s cynicism is reserved for his own life, bringing the internal Catholic guilt down upon himself for not somehow knowing or achieving what he wanted to do with his life – this despite having obviously done it, then and later, and quite successfully, at that.more
A memoir that includes stories of students and classrooms, stories of teacher peers, stories of building (surviving) a career in education. The approach is focused on the challenges and self-doubt faced throughout. He documents not only his own experience as a teacher, but also the struggles of his students making their own way in society/American culture through the decades of his career.more
It was a little difficult for me. I confused.more
And the Frank McCourt marathon continues. This is the sequel to 'Tis, the sequel to Angela's Ashes. And like the other two books, I couldn't put it down.more
I don't like this story so much because the writer always complains in this book.He was poor when he was child but he was a good teacher for students. I want him to teach me one time.more
he was a great teacher. I wanna be taught by interesting teacher like him.more
At first, I enjoyed reading this book. Mr. McCourt's way of teaching was funny and interesting. A Sandwich Situation (chapter 2) was especially funny. But I lost my interest at last. It was because all chapters had similar stories. And Mr. McCourt was negative.more
This story is about how Mr.McCourt taught his students.He was a very funny teacher, and met a lot of students.They had their own problems and characters.This story is very funny because of Mr.McCourt's unique way of teaching.I like this book.more
This book was a good read. It was light with equal parts humor and stark reality. It is an inspiring read for immigrants and/or teachers. The writing style keeps you attention, and the little classroom anecdotes offer wonderful glimpses into the life of the author and his students.more
Well, this was a pleasant enough read, and after a few months' break from the reading it was a good way to get back in. Here, McCourt describes his long career in teaching in America. It's interesting, and there are enough details to satisfy teachers who want to try out some of his own techniques. I wasn't entirely happy with the style of his writing - somehow it seemed patronising and preachy even when McCourt was describing his own failures.more
Frank McCourt writes about his experiences as a teacher in the New York Public School System. Through his experiences in several public high schools, we watch him slowly gain insight into what teaching really means and how his students have shaped the man he's become. McCourt is a brilliant memoirist: funny, authentic, honest.more
If you are preparing to be, are or have been a middle or high school teacher, you should read this. Every thought Frank McCourt had in the classroom belonged to me at one time or another in the classroom during 11 years. His self deprecating humor as well as his insecurity about how he is viewed by administrators, students and parents provided assurance that this is not uncommon among teachers. His view that a teacher must to his own self be true is oh so valid. Wanting to be like the teacher in the next room who has everyone sitting up straight, teaching a black and white lesson, spoon-feeding the thoughts you want regurgitated on a test was never McCourt's style and never mine. I can really identify with Frank McCourt and am ever so glad I read his book.more
A mosaic of stories from McCourt's life as a high school teacher. I could relate to some of his foibles and insights into the classroom, but was bored by the absence of cohesiveness. A worthwhile read, a great glimpse into the real lives of high school teachers.more
Really liked this esp. the way he couldn't get down to do the phd in Trinity and kept putting it off but did have index cards. Good insight into teaching.more
If you want to be a teacher you'll want to pick this up. McCourt may not be you but what he talks about in regards to struggles teachers go through and the joys are universal and timeless. We still have these students walking in the halls of our schools. I saw my own teaching style in McCourt's methods he shares with us in these pages and got good ideas for teaching too. Moreover it gave me a shot of good juju for the upcoming teaching year.more
More of Frank McCourt's wonderful work. He has a real knack of being able to make very complex prose sound and feel very simple to the reader. His ability to tell stories that stick in one's mind is surpassed by none I feel. Some great belly laughs, some food for thought and some poignant moments.more
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