I meant to write something a week or so ago after hearing that Frank McCourt had died. But shit happens and I forgot. (That is occurring with alarming regularity these days.)
Want a good summer read? Pick up a copy of McCourt's Teacher Man.
The book is for anyone who ever set foot inside a high school... for anyone who had a teacher that made a difference... for anyone who likes to read... for the pure joy of a story well told. (The episode of McCourt taking twenty-nine mouthy black girls on a field trip via the New York subway system to a movie theatre in Times Square in the late 1960's is priceless.)
This book should be read -- and reread -- by every teacher who plans on returning to the classroom in the fall. The book is all about teaching. All about kids. He shows how it's done, why one does it, and especially, why it's important.
"At the end of a school day you leave with a head filled with adolescent noises, their worries, their dreams. They follow you....
... You can tell when you've reached them or alienated them. It's chemistry. It's psychology. It's animal instinct. You are with the kids and, as long as you want to be a teacher, there's no escape. Don't expect help from the people who've escaped the classroom, the higher-ups. They're busy going to lunch and thinking higher thoughts. It's you and the kids. So, there's the bell. See you later. Find what you love and do it."
BTW (update): I've been writing, reading, grabbing some rays -- when the fucking rain stops, that is -- and drinking copious amounts of chilled imported beer. I think I'm finally happy. And if I croak tonight... no regrets. Not a one.
2 weeks ago