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Review: I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had

June 4, 2013

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher

As a youngster, Tony Danza didn’t take school very seriously but still wanted to be a science teacher.  He went to college and earned a degree in history and then got sidetracked by boxing and acting.  In the late 2000s, he hosted a short lived talk show and really enjoyed the “Classroom Makeover” segments the show did.  Inspired by a Teach for America video, Danza wanted to try teaching after his show was canceled.  He brought his producer on board and they decided to make a reality show of the experience.  They had trouble finding a school that would work with them, but eventually struck up a deal with Northeast High School in Philadelphia.  Danza taught one class – 10th grade English – for one year and chronicles that year in his book, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had.

I went into this book expecting a more detailed look at what teachers face on a daily basis, but didn’t get that because Danza had some definite advantages over other teachers – name recognition, teaching only one class, plenty of money, and a teaching coach, just to name a few.  I have to admit I was skeptical of his credentials as an English teacher as I started the book, but did find many of his lesson plans creative.  He discovered that teaching is the hardest job there is.  I really do think he worked hard and found his year as a teacher meaningful.  I think he probably made a difference in the lives of some of his students as well.  I enjoyed the book and it’s conversational tone and found it to be an easy, quick read but really hoped for more depth.

I read I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had with my book club and everyone enjoyed it.  There are three teachers in my book club and they enjoyed the book more than the rest of us – they marked passages and said the book spoke to them.  We had a lively discussion and, while some of it was about the book, most of it was about education.  I think that would probably make Danza smile.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2013 4:15 am

    Definitely a good sign if the teachers enjoyed it!

  2. sandynawrot permalink
    June 4, 2013 6:36 am

    When I saw the title, I figured he was a horror as a child and this was just a memoir about his life! Haha. I would agree that teaching is the hardest job ever…I couldn’t do it. I also feel that there are quite a few in that profession that shouldn’t be. It is too rare to find one that loves their job and makes a difference in a child’s life, at least in my world.

  3. Beth F permalink
    June 4, 2013 6:38 am

    Interesting. Sorry it wasn’t everything you had hoped, but I can understand that the teachers in your group would relate to Danza’s experiences.

  4. June 4, 2013 9:31 am

    I like Tony Danza. I should probably read this!

  5. June 4, 2013 9:36 am

    This sounds so interesting. I remember he had a show about teaching, but I never saw it. Sounds like he was pretty passionate about education, which I think is awesome. And, if the teachers in your book club enjoyed it, then he must have conveyed some pretty interesting points.

  6. June 4, 2013 11:07 am

    I think this is something I’d really like to read. I’ve always really liked Danza.

  7. June 4, 2013 11:34 am

    My first reaction as a teacher is to be very skeptical of something like this, so I find it really interesting that the teachers in your book club were the biggest fans! That says a lot, I think, Thanks for the heads up — I would’ve passed this one by if I hadn’t read your review.

  8. June 4, 2013 11:58 am

    I would be skeptical about this too, but it makes me feel good that the teachers in your group approved.

  9. Melissa Stream permalink
    June 4, 2013 12:09 pm

    I watched the reality show and it was very different, in my opinion, than what he wrote in the book. He had an extremely difficult time, possibly due to very high expectations. I remember him crying so many times and I really don’t think the kids in his class had real idea who he was; they were much too young to know Who’s The Boss that’s for sure. I admired him for tacking that project; I wouldn’t have perservered like he did.

  10. Literary Feline permalink
    June 4, 2013 1:13 pm

    I wonder if my mom would like this one. It’d make a great birthday present, I think, for a retired teacher.

  11. June 4, 2013 2:59 pm

    I’m sure there were some interesting parts in this book but it’s probably one that I wouldn’t pick up.

  12. June 4, 2013 3:17 pm

    So glad you read and reviewed this book! I’m a Danza fan, but didn’t know a thing about his teaching or this book. I don’t know if I’ll ever read it, but am keeping it on my list of maybe’s!

  13. Patty permalink
    June 4, 2013 5:03 pm

    This book sounds as though it would ensure some lively conversations! I saw him on morning television talking about his experiences…

  14. talesofwhimsy permalink
    June 4, 2013 6:55 pm

    I have this one on my wish list. It looks so good. I think I’m going to audio it.

  15. June 4, 2013 7:57 pm

    I’m afraid I can’t get him out of my mind, washing Angela’s dishes, not sure I could read this one. Thanks for your review.

  16. June 4, 2013 8:26 pm

    He should also teach an acting class–if he hasn’t already done so. Great review and presentation, Kathy!

  17. June 4, 2013 8:58 pm

    I did not know he did this year as a teacher thing! Interesting!

  18. June 4, 2013 9:15 pm

    I applaud his wanting to bring attention to the plight of teachers. Having only one class and a teaching coach does sort of set his experience apart from the norm though.

  19. June 4, 2013 11:38 pm

    I hadn’t even heard of this book. I can’t imagine teaching, I don’t have the patience. I believe those who do it well are heros. A teacher’s role is so important, I still recall the most influential teachers I had.
    Thanks for sharing.

  20. June 5, 2013 8:00 am

    Tony Danza has a great sense of humor which is a great asset for a teacher. I applaud him for trying to get some first hand experience. However, I don’t think you can get the full appreciation, without carrying the full load. I applaud our teachers who work very hard.

  21. June 5, 2013 10:29 am

    I used to love Tony Danza. I may have to see if our library has this.

  22. June 5, 2013 11:22 pm

    Sounds like this would make an good end-of-the-year gift for teachers!

  23. June 7, 2013 1:58 pm

    As an English teacher and a Tony Danza fan I would probably enjoy this book. However, I have been trying to shy away from books about teaching lately. I think part of that is just because my experiences have been so unique this last year. I recognize that the most rewarding and most difficult piece of the job is that there is no one way of getting it done. Still, this does sound like an enjoyable book — and I love the title!

  24. June 9, 2013 6:27 pm

    I watched the show and thought it started out really promising! I see first-hand what a hard job teaching is. Michigan teachers have been under attack for several years now by politicians that have never stepped into a classroom a day in their lives. Maybe they should try this??!!

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