Tuesday, July 02, 2013

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had

By Tony Danza

Tony Danza is famous for his acting career. Not for his teaching ability. But it turns out that Danza had always had a yen for teaching, this despite the fact he himself was a rather indifferent student. So when A&E wanted to do a reality TV show about teaching, with Danza in the starring role, he was enthusiastic. That's how Danza came to teach English for a year at a large Philadelphia high school, Northeast High. Danza's goal was to highlight the importance of teachers and schools to the future success of America's students.
But what he found out was that no matter how dedicated and skillful and compassionate the teachers may be, if they are not backed up by the community and, especially by the parents, they are fighting a losing battle. It is up to the parents to stress the importance and benefits of education and to make sure their kids are at school every day and doing the required work. Which is not the case in some homes in America where it seems everything is more important that education.

I enjoyed this book, for the most part. I did find that Danza seems to center the conversation on himself a lot. Even his students quickly caught on to the fact that Danza loves to talk about himself, using this tendency to derail the lessons. Don't most students love it when the teacher starts gasbagging? You don't learn much but you don't have to pay attention either. But other than that, this was a pretty good read and quite informative on conditions in U.S. schools these days.

For another review see http://www.cleveland.com/books/index.ssf/2012/09/tony_danzas_id_like_to_apologi.html.

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