Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes."
-- Desiderius Erasmus

Having just finished reading Teacher Man by Frank McCourt I'm left feeling a little confused about how to judge the book and consider how it fits into his trilogy (Angela's Ashes and 'Tis), or if a trilogy even exists. I certainly enjoyed it, but felt that some biographical broadstrokes were to be assumed. I have not read the other books but I understand that when taken as a whole all three span his youth through his retirement from teaching. It was a unique look into the life of a teacher that is constantly wondering if he is doing a proper job while also constantly striving to figure it out, when in the end the conclusion is that he was undeniably an excellent and memorable teacher. It was difficult to divine just how good of a teacher he really was at times because his self deprecating Irish character and personality wouldn't allow him to indulge the sin of Pride (I would assume he would answer that satisfaction is the death of desire and that he had no time to revel in any degree of satisfaction). I wonder if having read the earlier books I would have become more comfortable with his rhythm and found the facts within his voice a little more quickly. Well worth reading, but could easily have used another 200 pages, which I supposed is high praise. Once again I realize how indebted to teachers I am and how unique one's personality needs to be in order to achieve balance and excellence within a classroom (traits I admire so greatly because I know I don't have them).
Apparently when you get a haircut in Madison you must either figure out a completely new language that I do not know yet, or just accept the fact that you're rolling dice. "How do you want your hair cut?" "A '1' on the sides and trim the top. A high and tight." I left with a perfect fade that drifts into a '2' at its shortest. Its not bad but its not what I wanted. Maybe they sell different clippers up here.

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