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.
Definitely! I found it really engaging, and it has an important message about the challenges facing teachers and the strength it takes to do their job.
Maybe "The Freedom Writers Diary" but not really. Most books on a similar subject focus on a teacher who single-handedly provides life-saving changes in their students lives. Tony Danza's book doesn't paint him as an amazing, awe-inspiring character. It shows a more realistic portrayal of teacher struggles and mistakes, and takes into account the challenges imposed by internal and external forces on the teachers, the students, and the school as a whole. I really appreciated the fact that it wasn't a story of Danza coming into a school and saving everyone through his love for his kids and innovative ideas, rather it was a more ordinary tale that lots of teachers have and will experience.
I wouldn't be opposed to it, but I wasn't driven to listen to it all at once. It would make a good podcast-like or serial story, where you get an hour or so at a time.
I really enjoyed this story, and I feel like I gained a better appreciation for teacher struggles through having listened to this. People considering joining programs like Teach for America would find this an interesting and potentially helpful resource, as it deals with an inner city school, as well as the challenges facing first year teachers in particular. Anyone with a hand in regulating education or imposing things on schools and educators should listen to this, and recognize how often their interference is more of a hindrance than a help.
The Tome Host at thetomeshow.com
I found that the author was upfront about his biases and the fact that his experience was not typical, but in fact his teaching was much easier than most. This level of honesty gave the story an air of truth that I appreciated.
An honest depiction of one persons experience teaching one hard class without trying to argue that this experience was typical of anything.
Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.
More emphasis on teaching, less emphasis on social work.
Probably not. It would depend on the topic of the additional work.
Since the author read his own book, I am unsure how it could have been improved.
Tony Danza does a pretty good job collecting stories about his year of teaching. There are plenty of interesting anecdotes in this book about the various difficult students he teaches at a low-income school in Pennsylvania. Overall, it's a well done book, but there's nothing in here that's going to really impress you. The insights about teaching, students, and public education are all pretty standard. You could pick up any number of similar memoirs from teachers and find exactly the same opinions expressed.
Mr. Danza has put out a decent book and he narrates it well. If you're interested in education, or just memoirs in general, you'll probably like this book. If this kind of book isn't something you'd usually read, then this one probably won't make a convert out of you.
It was a great book to listen too and hope some people learn from it.
All of it.
I laughed and cried for him and his students!
I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!
I really enjoyed this book and was very glad I listened to it. It is not Tony Danza's memoir--it is the story of his one-year experience teaching in Philadelphia's largest high school.
It is written with humor, and narrated very well by Tony. It was a tougher-than-expected experience for him, and a real eye-opener. Good for him--and thanks for sharing with the rest of us!!
Genuine, caring, & human.
I don't think I have read anything like it. I could compare it to reality tv, which what Mr Danza was actually doing with his students and writing about in this book.The series was called "Teach". I have not been able to find the series to watch. Comparing it on a reality tv basis, this was far better and real.
He came across as very ernest and his students meant the world to him.
Yes, it was very entertaining.
Loved the lunchtime half sandwich club!
author of books for teens and children
It was interesting to follow the students and Tony Danza through the school year. Danza came off as a decent human being with a very interesting life (as a boxer/actor/talk show host/teacher). I'd also be interested in reading a memoir of his life, because it sounds fascinating. The pacing of the audiobook never lagged.
My quibbles: There is a lot of discussion of his marital troubles while he is teaching 3,000 miles away from his wife and kids, but we never find out whether he was able to save his marriage and we hear nothing about how things went when he went home for winter break. Also, Danza is extremely pro-union and barely touches on the drawbacks of teachers' unions.
I did not have the print version.
Tony was amazing in his actions as a teacher and mentor. He is also did a great narrating this book. His book was inspirational and touching on so many levels. Well done!
There were so many that I can't list them all!
It was interesting to hear Tony's perspective. I respect his effort and know how difficult it can be to be in the classroom
I like a broader perspective
He did well. No complaints.
Currently volunteering. Will advocate education as a forefront political policy. If the next generation isn't ready to step up and take our current national policies forward in a positive, intelligent and educated manner, why bother. Regardless of the topic, or which angle you advocate for; SCIENCE, economy, defense, equal rights, environment, international policy - if we raise a stupid generation that can't add, divide, write a complete sentence or think innovatively, we're screwed.
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