He taught at Stuyvesant High School in New York. I know Harvard’s Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein went to school there, but I don’t know if he ever had McCourt as a teacher.
One person who did have McCourt as a teacher was Daniel Radosh, the author of the hilarious book about Christian pop culture, Rapture Ready!.
He reminisces about his teacher and offers a brief god-free eulogy:
Over the years I’d run into McCourt periodically and he was always warm and friendly. I last saw him a few months ago at an event he did in Woodstock and when I gave him a copy of Rapture Ready! he held it up for the crowd and beamed, “Former student!” It was perhaps the most rewarding response I’ve had.
Beyond the practical lessons I learned in Frank McCourt’s class, I’ll always remember him as a model for how to be cynical without being jaded and sarcastic without being inhumane. I’m pretty sure he did not believe in God or an afterlife, but he had to believe that there is an immortality in living so that your words and actions transform the world around you in ways that will continue to reverberate forever. No one with so much life in him can ever truly die. And if there were an afterlife, I can guarantee you that somewhere right now, Frank McCourt would be mightily pissed off that he’s not around for what’s sure to be a hell of a wake.