Yes, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone! Teachers will love it because it will make them reflect back upon their own (probably disastrous) first year of teaching. For anyone else, if you'd like to get a small taste of what urban high school education is like, read this book.
I had the interesting experience of sharing my first year of teaching at Northeast High School with Mr. Danza, so in a way this book was very personal for me. Although I already had three years of experience under my belt, it was my first foray into urban education. Additionally, the following year, I had several of Mr. Danza's students in my own English class. So for me, this was like reading about home. I enjoyed the book so much more than I enjoyed the television series. It seemed more honest and definitely more real.
From the perspective of someone who wants to be a professor in a college of education at some point in the future, this book is crucial. Although Mr. Danza only had one class of students to worry about, his experiences -- his fears, his successes, his failures, his joys-- are all very real.
I also thought it was a masterful decision to have Tony read his own book. His voice is absolutely wonderful, his inflection perfect, and of course since these are own experiences, you can't ask for a more honest and personal style of reading. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and truthfully, I think that maybe Mr. Danza has found a new niche! I would definitely listen to him read another book.
Mr. Danza's book is sort of like Jonathan Kozol "lite". It lacks the authenticity of Kozol's more research-oriented books, and definitely the political angles, but the emotion is still there.
Towards the end of the book, there is a scene where Mr. Danza reflects back on his year of teaching and is saddened and moved to tears at the thought of his experience coming to an end. This was an especially poignant scene, one that teachers everywhere can relate to.
Of course! Not just because these students were my students too. The book is very well written and emotionally poignant.
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