|Published in English||November 15, 2005|
Frank McCourt's pedagogy involves the students taking responsibility for their own learning, especially in his first school, McKee Vocational and Technical High School, in New York. On the first day he nearly gets fired for eating a sandwich, which a boy had thrown in front of his desk, and the second day he nearly gets fired for joking that in Ireland, people go out with sheep after a student asks them if Irish people date. Much of his early teaching involves telling anecdotes about his childhood in Ireland, which were covered in his earlier books Angela's Ashes and 'Tis.
McCourt then taught English as a Second Language and as well as a class of predominantly African-American female students, whom he took to a production of Hamlet. He writes about his teacher certification test when he was asked about George Santayana, whom he was ignorant of, but was later able to give a well-prepared lesson on the war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Other highlights include his connection between how a pen works and how a sentence works (in explaining subjects and grammar, an area which he struggled with himself) and his use of realia such as using students' forged excuse notes as a segue to writing with scenarios.
He taught from the time he was twenty-seven and continued for thirty years. He spent most of his teaching career at Stuyvesant High School, where he taught English and Creative Writing.
During the time of the book McCourt went to Trinity College to try to take his doctorate, but he ended up leaving his first wife because of the strain.
- McKay, Mary-Jayne (February 11, 2009). "Frank McCourt Is 'Teacher Man'". CBS News. Retrieved November 18, 2011.