The Weekly Standard has a lovely article today by one of Frank McCourt's former students. McCourt died last week after a battle with melanoma. I've long been a fan of his work and admire him as a writer as well as a teacher. Go read the whole thing, but here's a short clip:
"The first day in class with him was like no other I experienced. Rather than starting off with a turgid lecture on sentence structure or the use of adjectives or alliteration, McCourt made a few jokes about ambitious Stuyvesant students (none of whom, he noted, would ever deign to return to teach creative writing) and told us stories that showed how we all had it easier than he did in the old country. Then, after a few words about the importance of description to writing, he asked us what we had for dinner last night. Most students, myself included, still reeling from his biting wit and tales of Irish woe, couldn't remember what we'd eaten, but the details came back to us slowly, along with an assignment to write an essay about our dinner."