Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Frank McCourt

On April 10th, I attended an academic lecture at Lamar University presented by Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt. I have to admit, the only reason I attended this lecture was because it was an assignment in the technology course I'm currently taking. I'm more of a kinesthetic type learner, and was really dreading this lecture; however, I was surprised at how the speaker held my attention with his poignant and colorful stories. I've already ordered his books, and highly recommend attending his lectures if you have the opportunity.

Frank McCourt shared with the audience that he was born in New Yorkto Irish immigrant parents. Unable to find work, his family returned to Ireland, where they sunk deeper into poverty. Three of the seven children died of diseases. McCourt himself nearly died of typhoid fever when he was ten. Despite the horrors of McCourt's childhood, he lectured with humor. After quitting school at 13, McCourt alternated between odd jobs and petty crime in an effort to feed himself, his mother, and four surviving brothers and sisters. At 19, he returned to the United States and worked at odd jobs until he was drafted. After receiving a college degree, he taught high school English in New York City. At first he had trouble teaching; he shared colorful stories about his "unruly" students in a tough high school. Eventually, he says he stopped being a dictator and developed a sense of humor. To help keep his students' attention, he told them stories of his childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Frank McCourt became a very experienced teacher at a prestigious high school and ended his teaching career after 30 years.

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