Resources and Reflections

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Teacher Man

Read Dugal's Teacher Man book review located after the tech updates.....

Teacher Man
A Book Review by Gary Dugal

“Frank McCourt [writes with] a comic eye, a sympathetic heart and the perfect timing of a master storyteller. Teacher Man…should be required reading not just for all teachers but for anyone who has ever stepped foot in a high school. Happily, there will be no test.”
~ Billy Collins, author of The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Collins’ assessment of the book Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. For those of you who don’t know, McCourt is the author who brought us the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Angela’s Ashes. I just began his prize-winning novel, but the desire to read it came as a result of my reading Teacher Man. Frank McCourt spent 20 years teaching English in the New York public school system, and what he has created in Teacher Man is a detailed memoir of his trials and tribulations from the moment he stepped into his first classroom, through all the ups and downs, to his final class and retirement from – in my opinion – a profession that is noble, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, frustrating, exhilarating, and very necessary…all at the same time.
McCourt has an incredible ability to weave a story in a way that would make ANYONE want to listen (or read). He uses humor and gravity interchangeably and he draws the reader right into the middle of the storyline. At times, I felt like I was a student in his classroom…or at least I wanted to be. The teaching of English and writing is a lonely world. As a former English teacher, I know what it feels like to be the ONLY enthusiastic participant in a class full of students. As McCourt recalls some of his more “teachable moments” I found myself being recharged with a desire to be more creative in my own pedagogy. This is not a book for English teachers alone…it’s a useful manual for all teachers, administrators, and – just as Mr. Collins notes – for anyone who has ever stepped foot in a high school. This book should be required reading for ALL!


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