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Teacher Man: A Memoir [Paperback]

Frank McCourt
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 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

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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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars He writes with wit, honesty and charm June 21 2012
By Frances
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. He jokes about his life, himself and the people around him. This book was no exception, he writes with lightheartedness even with all he has been through and know that writing about his life must have been therapeutic. Thanks to Frank McCort for hours of entertaining reading - have read all three of his books with gusto!
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5.0 out of 5 stars ingenious Feb. 11 2012
By laury
Format:Paperback
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.as an emigrant to the new world he intensified my feelings of liking to leave in the international , universal atmosphere of nord american highschool, which i am not familiar with.my son will start highschool soon in canada, so we are on the learning curve. i will send to the teacher man my pink loving thoughts, wherever he might be...god be with you mr mccourt.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Frank McCourt - Teacher Man Feb. 13 2006
Format:Hardcover
Thank God for Frank McCourt. Makes me want to write.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Product description is misleading Sept. 19 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. When I received it, it contained only 68 pages and I thought "That's weird!?" On further exploration of the book, I realized it was RE-TOLD and edited by some people quite apart from Frank McCourt. The editing was done for Level 4 students of English as a Foreign Language. The product description mentioned none of this. In fact, the description was written as if THIS was the actual book Frank McCourt had written, not some "Coles Notes" version of the same. Thankfully, I am a teacher of such students, so I suppose I can pawn this "leaflet" off on them because there are exercises relating to the text in the back of the book. But needless to say, I was very diappointed and my cup of tea is stone cold.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More of the Same - And that's a Good Thing! June 9 2011
By B. Breen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
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. There are very strong meanings and reinforced patterns to be gained by listening to his lilting Irish Brogue.

McCourt writes as he thinks, and in doing so his book is both biographical and very psychologically revealing. Sure it gives insight to the teacher. But it really shows us ourselves. Self-doubt, pride, arrogance, mistakes, warts and all it is there. McCourt has found the avenue to meet the self-doubting scared little child in all of us. His experiences recounted in the book with regard to group therapy come full circle as we sit with him in group and hear him share what we all are experiencing.

McCourt fans will not be disappointed.

This should be required reading, or listening for all teachers as well as students, or former students.

Hits the mark!
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