This excerpt from the first Amazon.com editorial review caught my attention:
“My life saved my life,” he [Frank McCourt] writes. “My students didn’t know there was a man up there escaping a cocoon of Irish history and Catholicism, leaving bits of that cocoon everywhere.” At the beginning of his career it had never occurred to him that his own dismal upbringing in the slums of Limerick could be turned into a valuable lesson plan. Indeed, his formal training emphasized the opposite. Principals and department heads lectured him to never share anything personal. He was instructed to arouse fear and awe, to be stern, to be impossible to please–but he couldn’t do it. McCourt was too likable, too interested in the students’ lives, and too willing to reveal himself for their benefit as well as his own.
I agree that teachers should share and leverage their own personal experiences in the classroom when it is appropriate and potentially effective to help engage, mentor, and teach students. Sounds like McCourt has some sage wisdom which I (as well as many others likely) would do well to read and and heed! 🙂
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