20 July 2009

On the death of a teacher man

Frank McCourt has died aged 78. Best known for his memoir of poverty in Ireland "Angela's Ashes" (1996), he was a high school teacher in New York by profession--although "profession" does not have quite the right ring about it. As the linked piece shows, he was an inspirational teacher, and there is an enormous amount to learn from the third volume of his memoirs, "Teacher Man" (2005). Not everyone could teach his way, of course; the book is far from a prescription--but it is the story of how he discovered his own way of teaching, and at that level it is a model of reflection and a guide.

As the piece quotes;

Instead of teaching, I told stories.

Anything to keep them quiet and in their seats.

They thought I was teaching.

I thought I was teaching.

I was learning.

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