Before Frank McCourt wrote his two best-selling memoirs, Angela's Ashes, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and 'Tis, he taught English in the New York City school system for 30 years. He worked days, nights and summers in five different high schools and one community college. By his own count, 12,000 boys and girls listened to him "lecture, chant, encourage, ramble, sing, declaim, recite, preach, dry up." He's wondered what he did for them, but knows what they did for him and allows us into that teaching-in-the-trenches experience in Teacher Man. McCourt, who is interviewed in this issue, is surely blessed with the gift of gab. He's a natural storyteller with irreverent wit, disarming honesty and real compassion. It's an unqualified pleasure to hear him read in his in brogue-brushed voice and a true eye-opener to hear his unvarnished take on daily life in big city public schools. McCourt learned early on that you should never try to hoodwink American teenagers, a lesson he's taken to heart and applied to his own memoirs.