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A teacher we would all love to have

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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.

This is a line from the third volume of Frank McCourt’s autobiography Teacher Man .

After retiring from his career as a teacher at public schools in New York City for three decades, he published Angela’s Ashes when he was 66 years old. The book, which was about his experience on surviving an impoverished childhood in Ireland, earned him a Pulitzer Prize.

While Frank introduced his students to a variety of authors including Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Flannery O’Connor, his students recall that the most interesting times in his classroom were when he recounted tales from his childhood.

Some of McCourt’s most famous students include actress Lucy Liu, journalists Susan Gilman, Alec Klein, Beth Knobel, and Alissa Quart, and the writers David Lipsky and Matt Ruff.

In an interview with Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), when asked why teachers are important in society, Frank McCourt said,” What's the most precious material we have in the country: children. If we don't give them the best keepers and mentors and teachers, we're destroying them. We're destroying the country. They are the future, and the teachers are there every day with the future.

Frank McCourt passed away from cancer on July 19, 2009. He was 78 years old.

If we don't give them (children) the best keepers and mentors and teachers, we're destroying them.

We're destroying the country. They are the future, and the teachers are there every day with the future.


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