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Teacher Man: A Memoir [Paperback]

Frank McCourt
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 19 2006
Here at last in paperback is Frank McCourt's critically acclaimed and bestselling 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 of teaching in public high schools. 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.

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

Frequently Bought Together

Teacher Man: A Memoir + Tis: A Memoir + Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
Price For All Three: CDN$ 41.86

  • Tis: A Memoir CDN$ 13.71
  • Angela's Ashes: A Memoir CDN$ 14.44

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This final memoir in the trilogy that started with Angela's Ashes and continued in 'Tis focuses almost exclusively on McCourt's 30-year teaching career in New York City's public high schools, which began at McKee Vocational and Technical in 1958. His first day in class, a fight broke out and a sandwich was hurled in anger. McCourt immediately picked it up and ate it. On the second day of class, McCourt's retort about the Irish and their sheep brought the wrath of the principal down on him. All McCourt wanted to do was teach, which wasn't easy in the jumbled bureaucracy of the New York City school system. Pretty soon he realized the system wasn't run by teachers but by sterile functionaries. "I was uncomfortable with the bureaucrats, the higher-ups, who had escaped classrooms only to turn and bother the occupants of those classrooms, teachers and students. I never wanted to fill out their forms, follow their guidelines, administer their examinations, tolerate their snooping, adjust myself to their programs and courses of study." As McCourt matured in his job, he found ingenious ways to motivate the kids: have them write "excuse notes" from Adam and Eve to God; use parts of a pen to define parts of a sentence; use cookbook recipes to get the students to think creatively. A particularly warming and enlightening lesson concerns a class of black girls at Seward Park High School who felt slighted when they were not invited to see a performance of Hamlet, and how they taught McCourt never to have diminished expectations about any of his students. McCourt throws down the gauntlet on education, asserting that teaching is more than achieving high test scores. It's about educating, about forming intellects, about getting people to think. McCourt's many fans will of course love this book, but it also should be mandatory reading for every teacher in America. And it wouldn't hurt some politicians to read it, too. (Nov. 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

In another easily embraceable memoir by the best-selling (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) author of Angela's Ashes (1996) and 'Tis (1999), McCourt now concentrates on his career as a teacher for many years in the New York City public school system, where he worked in four different high schools. His trademark charm, wit, and unself-conscious self-effacement ensure that the flashbacks of his dreadful days growing up in extreme deprivation in Ireland don't sink the narrative in self-pity. Remembrances of his struggling days in college in New York ("dozing years") provide informative foundation for the real point of the book: relating his development into the kind of teacher he became--namely, one who shares his life stories not only to establish bridges of experience with his students but also to get them to open up. His new book is hardly a teaching manual; however, what it is on one level is a tough but poignant and certainly eloquent defense of the sacrifices and honorableness of those in the teaching profession ("Teaching is the downtown maid of professions. Teachers are told to use the service door or go round the back") and a lesson itself in taking yourself seriously--but not too. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Life Nov. 21 2006
Teacher Man is one of the best books I have read. No teacher should be without the insights that McCourt offers. This non-fiction work weaves his tragic childhood into his career as a high school and college English teacher. The best stories are the true ones, and McCourt's is the best I have read in a long time. For other real live stories I suggest the book "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" which I have reviewed in the past.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it! May 25 2006
From the start, when McCourt got in classroom trouble, he told the stories of his formerly Irish life and the students listened. In the beginning he thinks these stories, and his other classroom solutions, are mistakes. He even confesses to feeling doomed during his NY teacher's exam. (When trapped then he suggests the students write a suicide note.) But he passes and he gets to experience all of those frustrating years in "trade schools." Eventually he ends up at Stuyvesant High with kids who were prepared to learn what he was prepared to teach. At Stuyvesant his "betters" saw themselves as colleagues and knew enough to trust him to stimulate.
Also recommended: "The Bark of the Dogwood" and "Katzenjammer" by McCrae
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5.0 out of 5 stars McCourt Does it Again! July 7 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Frank McCourt undoubtedly had a very hard childhood in Ireland and another hard time in the service and through college ... and then on into his teaching career ... before he was able to do what he had always wanted to do: WRITE!

And thank God he finally managed to do that, because he really knows how to weave his experiences into edge-of-the-seat reading adventures. Some of the classroom antics in this book are hilarious; others are bittersweet, but all are believable and realistic.

I thoroughly enjoyed every book he's written, and was blown away by the title of his second one: 'Tis ... Isn't that the coolest title?

Buy this one, too. It's money well-spent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Back to Back Nov. 26 2005
By A Customer
Two great books to read back to back are "Teacher Man" By Frank McCourt and "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey. I am quite taken aback by the stunning portrayals of memoir style novels that reach in deep and touch the heart with power. These are two of the finest. I also recommend Nightmares Echo and Running With Scissors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Memoir/Biography Dec 22 2005
By A Customer
Teacher man is a brilliantly written and wonderful book. Second to none other than A Million Little Pieces. I was astounded at how well written this book is. One you will enjoy and have a difficult time putting down. I also enjoyed another book, Nightmares Echo as well...I give my rankings to all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 'Tis Better Than "'Tis" July 12 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved "Angela's Ashes" but was less excited by "'Tis." This memoir, dealing exclusively with Irish-American teacher/writer Frank McCourt's lifetime career in the NYC High School public education system is much more compelling. McCourt allows himself to drift in and out of his experiences, sometimes waxing poetic, sometimes being brutally honest. I was able to capture again the essence of that vulnerable but extremely clever little boy we first met in "Angela's Ashes." A remarkable man. A remarkable life.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not so much June 30 2013
By muskoka
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Found it was very repiticious.I did keep reading thought it might get more interesting.Not. I did like Angelas |Ashes. It did bother me how anyone could let their children live like that.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong version May 13 2013
By James
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is version for early readers not the complete version. I wanted the complete version and this was not clear from its online depiction.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 12 days ago by michael fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars He writes with wit, honesty and charm
All his books bring you within his life and pulls at your heart strings. it makes you realize that people do go through hardships and are able to live to laugh about it. Read more
Published on June 21 2012 by Frances
5.0 out of 5 stars ingenious
the approach of this teacher is very inspiring .humor ,vocabulary, diversity, heart, love for his profession. the audiobook i was listening brought him even closer to my heart. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2012 by laury
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This book is as good as, if not better than Angela's Ashes. Frank McCourt has a wonderful way of describing things that made me laugh out loud and in the next few pages bring... Read more
Published on July 14 2011 by crimsonlass
5.0 out of 5 stars More of the Same - And that's a Good Thing!
McCourt has a very consistent writing style with a very appealing, and revealing style.

I listened to the Audio Book as McCourt read it himself. I highly recommend that. Read more
Published on June 9 2011 by Bart Breen
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost As Good As 'Angela's Ashes'
McCourties of the world rejoice! You have nothing to lose but your tears of woe anticipating when he'd return with his next book; the foremost memoirist of our time is back. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2010 by John Kwok
2.0 out of 5 stars Product description is misleading
I ordered this book, thinking I would be able to settle down with a cup of tea and have a good, solid read from one of my favorite authors. Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2010 by Mindlink Educational Consulting Inc.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different McCort
Don't be put off reading McCort's Teacher Man because you didn't care for his other books. Although his melancholy nature comes through in the telling of his own teaching career,... Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2008 by KZ
5.0 out of 5 stars "Listen. Are you listening? You're not listening"
A smile. A reminiscence of the good old school days. How many times did our teachers address us with that remark? Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2007 by I LOVE BOOKS
3.0 out of 5 stars a passing grade
There is no doubt Mr McCourt is a competent writer; there is no overlooking the fact that he did win the Pulitzer Prize. Read more
Published on March 13 2007 by Shemogue
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