Frank McCourt won the Pulitzer price for his first Novel, Angela’s Ashes, which chronicles his childhood in Ireland. Teacher Man is his third book and here he talks about the thirty years he spent teaching English in New York City. He writes in a very relaxed, narrative style with plenty of humor and wittiness interspersed. While everyone says this is a must read for teachers, I think it is also a must read for parents. I think many parents don’t realize the work it takes to be a teacher. We sometimes forget that they are human too, just like us, no worst and no better.
Teacher Man follows McCourt’s journey through teaching from the very first days floundering in the classroom to the very last, where alas, he is still floundering but with a little more finesse. Isn’t that the same way for most of us, especially when it comes to dealing with young people? Teens are an enigma that we can never hope to solve and the sooner that we learn that the better. Of course, we don’t and we all flounder along bumping into each other until we bump in just the right direction and something wonderful comes out. That’s kind of how McCourt chronicles his teaching experience. I think the greatest thing he did was to admit that he is there to learn just as much as his students are, if not more so.
Whether you’re a teacher or a writer, I think this book provides great insight into the profession and encourages quite a bit of introspection, which, for books, I think is a great thing.