Long before he starred on some of television’s most beloved and long-running series such as Taxi and Who’s the Boss? and went on to distinguish himself in a variety of film and stage roles, Tony Danza was a walking contradiction: an indifferent student who dreamed of being a teacher. Inspiring a classroom of students was an aspiration he put aside for decades until one day it seemed that the most meaningful thing he could do was give his dream a shot.
What followed was a year spent teaching 10th-grade English at Northeast High - Philadelphia’s largest high school with 3,600 students. Entering Northeast’s crowded halls in September 2009, Tony found his way to a classroom filled with 26 students who were determined not to cut him any slack. They cared nothing about “Mr. Danza’s” showbiz credentials, and they immediately put him on the hot seat.
It was only after experiencing abject terror for several weeks - and even dissolving into tears on several occasions - that Tony began to pick up the tricks of how to get kids to learn.
Featuring indelible portraits of students and teachers alike, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had reveals just how hard it is to keep today’s technologically savvy - and often alienated - students engaged, how impressively committed most teachers are, and the outsized role counseling plays in a teacher’s day, given the psychological burdens many students carry. The audiobook also makes vivid how a modern high school works, showing Tony in a myriad of roles - from lecturing on To Kill a Mockingbird to coaching the football team, organizing a talent show, leading far-flung field trips, and hosting teacher gripe sessions.
Inevitably, Tony’s students steal their way into our hearts - in a way that always feels authentic. A surprisingly poignant account, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny but is mostly filled with hard-won wisdom and feel-good tears.
©2012 Tony Danza (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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.
Tony Danza tells it like it is, I have spent 17 years in the classroom and Mr. Danza experiences and writes about almost every issue that teachers face in the classroom today and hits the nail on the head every time. Great read.
Being a public school teacher myself, I probably enjoyed this book more than many people may. I only wish I had the resources that Mr. Danza could call on. It would be heavenly to be able to conceive an idea and actually be able to pull it off financially. But even though he had those resources, he was still a first year teacher, facing the challenges that we all face, dealing with the discipline problems we all deal with, wondering how on earth he could impact a kid's life for the better, as we all do, grading papers nights and weekends, taking them with us to family gatherings, parties, or even the movies. But with it all, it is still the most rewarding of professions. Having a student come back and tell you, "You were my favorite teacher" makes it all worth it. I think this is something that Tony Danza learned.
Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world. Mr. Danza makes it real.
Tony Danza, obviously. After that, every student and teacher with whom he interacted. (I taught English. Can you tell?)
Having the author read a story gives it the passion he/she felt when writing the story. I felt that very clearly in this narration.
I shed tears at the end when he talked about the rewards of teaching. It truly is for the students, certainly not for money or the rules placed on teachers. I speak from experience.
I wish everyone from the president of the U. S. to the lowliest among us would spend a year in the classroom, any classroom. I truly believe things would change for the better in education. These kids are our future leaders. They are our future, period. If lawmakers understood what happens in the classroom and in the homes of these students, we could give them the tools and help they need to make the world a better place for all of us.
I think that all my teacher friends would enjoy it and I would like non-teachers to listen.It sheds some light on what teachers deal with in the classroom.
That he spoke from the heart.
His story about Alex. All teachers (at least that I work with) come across those kids that they would love to adopt. You know that the kid deserves a better chance. Wish you could save all those that need it...
ABSOLUTELY! It was an excellent story
The challenges that Tony Danza took on as a Teacher and pointing out how education is lacking in our society. He makes you see how we have all failed in paying attention to our studies and how some Teachers were lacking in teaching therir students. But he points out how hard of a job it is to be a Teacher. You have to be a parent, teacher, counselor and more to some of your students which is a hard job having to wear many hats.
ALL OF THEM!
It made me do both laugh and cry it was written and narrated by Tony Danza and tried to make his time at that school to count for him and the students. I think he learned a lot by taken on a Teachers job and found that is hard and many of our Teachers are faced with many challenges.He reflect back on when he was a student and this is WHY he writes this book! Guess we all feel the same way as he did about wanting to apologize to all of his Teachers.
I Enjoyed it so much that I plan on reading it again!
Enjoyed having Tony Danza as the narrator, and appreciated his honesty.
Enjoyed every minute of this book!
Absolutely. Tony captures the difficulties of being a first year teacher and the challenges of working with 'at risk' students with honesty and compassion. I loved his sense of humor.
Tony, of course.
I loved Tony's reading of his own book. I felt like I was having a conversation with him.
It made me laugh and cry.
Fantastic book. One of my absolute favorites.
Tony Danza chronicles his year as a part-time high school teacher in this funny and touching memoir. Long after he achieves fame as an actor, Danza answers his longtime calling to be a classroom teacher. He ends out teaching one class of 25 students in an urban public high school in Philadelphia. The deal includes teaching a double block each day, with a TV crew filming for a possible reality series. Danza makes it clear that he is there to serve his students, and the television piece is secondary. It becomes clear that he means that as he wades through his first year of teaching, full of mistakes, successes, humor, and constant up-and-down emotions. I am a high school teacher myself, and really enjoyed this book. Danza is exhausted physically and emotionally by his experience, and uplifted as well. He readily admits that with one class of 25 kids, he is not a "real teacher" and wonders how they do it. This book is from the heart and sheds great light on so many real issues in the field of education. Whether you are a teacher, high school student, or former high school student, I think you may enjoy Danza's humorous, emotional, and insightful journey through his year as a teacher.
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