Author: Frank McCourt
Publisher: Scribner (2005)
Frank McCourt’s third memoir, following ‘Tis, was about the years he spent as an English and Creative Writing teacher. The schools he taught at were: McKee Vocational and Technical School on Staten Island, Seward Park High School, New York Community College in Brooklyn, and Stuyvesant High School.
The book is sectioned off based on the places he taught at in order from McKee and ending with Stuyvesant.
He is playful, witty, introspective, honest, and self-deprecating simultaneously.
However, his mishaps, although entertaining wore thin toward the end of the book. My attention waned and perked up mostly during the third half of his story when he was offered a position at Stuyvesant High School.
At this point in his life, he was ready to make an attempt to take himself seriously as a teacher, as opposed to his other experiences at the other schools. The difference at Stuyvesant High School was his ability to express himself, experiment with his students, while still reaching them in the long run. Reading this last section had me wishing I had him as a Creative Writing teacher at Stuyvesant. He made learning fun! There are many teachers in the school system that make learning so exponentially dull that the teachings are lost on the students; their attention is elsewhere. Being a creative person, I learned the most when my instructor made learning exciting.
My favorite book from his memoir series was Angela’s Ashes mostly even though the third half of this story holds a special place in my heart. The book was expertly written and entertaining. Teachers will commiserate with his tales of the stereotypes of students in every classroom and also the introspection of actually teaching the kids during instruction.
Frank McCourt touched the lives of the students he encountered and anyone who has read his memoirs. Rest in Peace, Frank McCourt.