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Teacher Man

(Frank McCourt #3)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  29,881 ratings  ·  2,319 reviews
McCourt's long-awaited book about how his thirty-year teaching career shaped his second act as a writer.

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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Scribner (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  29,881 ratings  ·  2,319 reviews

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Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Teacher Man is as good example as any that if you have wit and personality you can tell an entertaining story. Told with an Irish accent helps too.

I think McCourt, with his humble yet playful, self-degrading Irish charm could read from the phone book and hold a reader's attention. But he has lots to say worth hearing, as he recounts thirty years of teaching in New York's high schools and community colleges.

A working class, blue collar teacher in the trenches, McCourt helped me better appreciate
Jan 10, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is difficult to review. While I appreciated McCourt's attempt to recognize teachers (especially English teachers) and the work (often underappreciated) that we do, I felt that his theory of if we all "think outside the box" and try to be friendly with our students, than we will have a successful teaching career, a bit unrealistic, overly idealistic, and in many ways, condescending. While I do admire some of his methods, and enjoy his writing style, I found that the times when he let hi ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: Charles Van
Shelves: memoirs, series
My fourth book by Frank McCourt and I am still impressed.

Teacher Man (2005) is the last book of his 3-part tragicomic memoir and it is about his experiences as a teacher in at least 3 schools in New York. He spent 33 years teaching high school students before he retired at the age of 60 and wrote his first book, Angela's Ashes at the age of 66. The book changed his life tremendously. He won a Pulitzer in 1997. National Book Critics Circle Award in 1996. He met President Bush, Lady Diana and othe
Apr 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, avid readers
Shelves: nonfiction, memoirs
At first, I was a little disappointed, because the book went by so fast. He summed up 30 years of teaching in a little over 200 pages.

Then, when I thought about it, I realized how much it made sense. I've only been teaching for five years, and at times, it feels like forever, but at the same time, it's gone by so fast. I think McCourt captured that perfectly.

Also, I love his self-deprecating humor. There are many times when I feel like a fraud as a teacher, but I know that if I tried to write li
JJ Marsh
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very different book to Angela’s Ashes. It’s like listening to a witty, self-deprecating yet passionate man tell you stories of his life. You can even hear his accent.

McCourt talks about his time as a teacher; how it came about, his successes and failures, his talent for telling stories.
In other hands, this could read as one long ego trip. But this man is, was, a master storyteller. He draws you in with his confidences and asides, making you believe you’re sharing his secrets.

I met Susan Jan
Feb 25, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
i hated this book. i didn't like the style of his writing. i didn't like the way he talked about his teaching and what he did in his classroom. as i kept on reading, i was just like- dude- you are not a good teacher. but maybe it's just the way he presented himself.

when i got to the end, i was like- so. what was the point? but i guess the point was that this is part of his life story.
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: re-reads
I read this book years ago, at the start of my teaching career. I can't remember if I was student teaching or if it was my first year, but nevertheless, I was a newbie. I actually started reading it again forgetting this was the Frank McCourt book I had read years ago. It took me about two pages to realize my mistake, but I figured I might as well finish it since I hadn't even remembered I had read it in the first place.
McCourt no doubt has some questionable pedagogy. Some of his out-of-the-box
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really loved Angela's Ashes and 'Tis, but Teacher Man, Frank McCourt's third book, was easily my favourite. Part of it was that, brilliant as they are, his first two book are heavy going. I was exhausted at the end of each one. Glad I had read them, but even more glad that we were at the end. His childhood was hard and depressing and something no one should have to go through, but I'd finish each book feeling almost overwhelmed by the fact that his childhood was (unfortunately) not uncommon. C ...more
Jun 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
McCourt has a compelling style of writing, an extraordinarily masculine style (I don't know what this means exactly, but if I were ever to try to pin down what I thought made for "masculine" writing, I'd definitely look at McCourt's book, if only to avoid the traditional recourse to Hemingway). One thing that was nice about it was that it was a memoir that happened to be about a period in his life when he was a teacher -- i.e. that happened to be about teaching. It clearly wasn't a "teacher mem ...more
Fred Gorrell
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
The first chapter of this book is so exquisite that I have caught myself rehearsing it as a possible public reading many times. Mr. McCourt describes his first day as a new teacher standing before a class of hardened urban students. It bristles with irony and suspense comparable to great classic comedy scenes. I read the book for the first time shortly after it was published, at the end of my first year as a teacher, and identified with Mr. McCourt's predicament completely. If only I had managed ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emprestados
After reading Angela’s Ashes, I wanted to read the second volume of the McCourt series. I was interested to see what became of young Frank after he left his poor childhood years in Ireland and went to America. But it turns out that book is out of print and not available at my library. So I jumped to the third volume, which covers Frank’s years as a teacher in several NY highschools.

This is, of course, a very different book from Angela’s Ashes, but I still liked it a lot. This is not just a journ
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A side note: Frank McCourt (1930-2009) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents, grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. For thirty years he taught in New York City high schools. His first book, "Angela's Ashes," won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Award. In 2006, he won the prestigious Ellis Island Family Heritage Award for Exemplary Service in the Field of the Arts and the United Federation of Teachers ...more
Dec 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Inexperienced teachers!
Shelves: read-in-2008
Frank McCourt: The Irish-American Larry McMurtry?

I ended up with mixed feelings about this book. I loved -- no, adored -- the first section of this wry, honest memoir. The second section was solid, also, but felt a little out of place. (My reaction: What? McCourt's in Dublin drinking, cheating on his wife, and not getting the doctorate he's supposed to be working on? What does this have to do with his high school teaching career?) The third section returns to and wraps up his teaching career. I
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is my favourite of Frank McCourt's books. I found Angela's Ashes just too unremittingly bleak.

Teacher Man is not all about teaching as it tells of how he lives in New York before accidentally becoming a teacher. Anyone who's ever been in a classroom and especially teachers will 'enjoy' his descriptions of being in a room with a group of kids who would rather eat dirt than listen to him. But he succeeds through his having 'kissed the Blarney Stone' and tells tales (mostly true) of his life.
Feb 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Heather by: self
Shelves: nonfiction
I do not like this book. I thought, "He's a teacher, I'm a teacher. I should read it," and "He wrote 'Angela's Ashes' which people seem to like, so I'll read it." I wish I'd left it alone. I actually bought the book for someone else, but then I decided to read it myself and give her something else. I'm glad I didn't give it as a gift.

Frank McCourt was a high school teacher in New York and is an immigrant from......Ireland! He was actually born in America, but his family moves to Ireland, and he
Kressel Housman
Angela's Ashes is Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer prize-winner, but I’ve been attracted to this lesser-known memoir of his since I heard him promoting it on NPR years ago. His younger brother Malachy is also a favorite guest on NPR shows; I’ve heard him read two of his short stories on “Selected Shorts.” One of them was about an Irish doorman working in a Manhattan luxury building on Christmas, and it was absolutely hilarious. I admit I got the two brothers mixed up, but this book set me straight. Both ...more
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Helga Cohen
The 3rd book of the Frank McCourt series is an inspiring book about his 30 year teaching career. It describes how he found his voice by teaching Creative Writing and all of the other classes he taught in the many different schools he taught. It was in the last school he taught as a teacher for creative writing, after 30 years of teaching, that was instrumental for him write his first highly popular book, Angela's Ashes about his childhood in Ireland. I recommend this book as part of the series o ...more
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. Frank McCourt's "Teacher Man" is a spellbinding lyrical ode to the craft of teaching. It is a rollicking, delightful trek across nearly thirty years in New York City public school classrooms that will surely please his devout legion of fans, and perhaps win some new admirers too. Truly, with
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I've always loved to read about teachers' experiences and methods, so Frank Court's Teacher Man perfectly matched my horizon of expectations, so to speak. It was emotional, entertaining, interesting and, of course, instructive. I especially liked the apparently random memories, and the fact that he insists upon personal events only when they have an impact on his teaching. I think it would have been a joy to see him in front of his students with his unorthodox but such efficient method of teachi ...more
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This memoir made me miss teaching, and writing, and being a student, and Stuyvesant High School, and all of my wonderful and weird and thoughtful and mysterious and empathetic English teachers throughout the years. And now I'll greatly miss listening to Frank McCourt on my daily walks around my newly strange neighborhood.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i'm fascinated, as usual by the negative reviews of this book. ive never read anything that spoke to me about teaching the way this book did, and about the rest of the stuff we're all to deal with in general. perhaps the people who dont get it arent rebels at heart...perhaps they are individuals who havent had a boss scold them or perhaps theyve just always felt in control. but i am grateful for this book, and moreso for frank mc court writing about everything he chose to detail in all three, an ...more
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book. Having just qualified as a teacher, it very much appealed to read a novel about somebody from a deprived background falling almost accidentally into the teaching profession in New York without being remotely prepared for what he has let himself in for.

The first few chapters delivered exactly what I wanted - inspirational quotations about teaching, about how misunderstood the profession is and the common assumptions that get thrown around regarding the amount o
Mikey B.
An amusing book and the author can to spin a good yarn. It is noble that he sings the praises of being a teacher for it is a profession well worthy of being written of. However there are times where he seems self-absorbed and draws too much attention to himself (Woody Allen style).

The book can be a little too much of “McCourt and his students” instead of being “the students and McCourt”. There is self-centredness of how the students feel about the author. The writing can be wonderful when he foc
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read this one before, but decided to listen to the audio version from the library because #1 it's good, and #2 it's read by the author. Hearing the author made it even better the second time around. His accent is great, and his sense of humor comes through better on the audio. A couple times, as he tells a story, he chuckles, and it's so great I had to rewind to hear it again.
John Lamb
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is something comforting in knowing that students were always apathetic and wanting distraction.
Mary Blye Kramer
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is no other way of seeing McCourt than as a master and genius. He has such a unique and wonderful and engaging writing style. I felt all the joys and frustrations of being a teacher right alongside him, although I’ve never been a teacher. To think he spent his life with high school kids that I’d probably have choked to death - then went on to write three PERFECT books in his 60s and 70s. Wow. This was a great book. No surprise.
Greg Morrison
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read Teacher Man on a whim. I read Angela's Ashes seemingly in a past life, and scarcely remember much of it. Did he throw up his communion wafers, & did the priest chastise him for rejecting the body of Christ? And do I remember him having to lick it up? Was there also some closing section that involved the long death of a sweetheart to tuberculosis, or am I confusing that with Van Morrison's "T.B. Sheets"?

Teacher Man doesn't demand extensive knowledge of Frank McCourt's other two memoirs, an
I enjoyed reading about Frank McCourt's time in the classrooms of New York. Of course I've read Angela's Ashes, and I read his brother Malachy's autobiography, I knew Mr. McCourt had become a teacher. I STILL found this painful reading; this is Frank McCourt and his past is present in his writing, in fact he spends quite a bit of classroom time talking about his miserable Irish childhood. He tells us he talks about it, he doesn't actually spend very much book time talking about it. But the subje ...more
Frank McCourt has been a favourite of mine since high school where I read 'Tis and then Angela's Ashes, so when I saw a copy of the final book in his memoirs, I snapped it up, and read it. I enjoyed it so much that I passed it on the a friend from TColl, who enjoyed it just as much as I did, and so she passed it on to another friend of ours from it's done a miniring among friends :-)

I'll probably take this one to the meetup on Tuesday :-)

From the back

"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning,
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Francis "Frank" McCourt was an Irish-American teacher and author. McCourt was born in Brooklyn; however, his family returned to their native Ireland in 1934.

He received the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996) for his memoir Angela's Ashes (1996), which details his childhood as a poor Irish Catholic in Limerick. He is also the author of 'Tis (1999), which continues t

Other books in the series

Frank McCourt (3 books)
  • Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt, #1)
  • 'Tis

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“Just let them sit in the goddam sun. But the world won't let them because there's nothing more dangerous than letting old farts sit in the sun. They might be thinking. Same thing with kids. Keep 'em busy or they might start thinking.” 30 likes
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