10 Sep 2012 Tony Danza’s I’d like to apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had

Photo Credit: Thinkfactory Media/Barbara Johnston

Book Review: I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had, by Tony Danza

“Never smile before Christmas…They will eat you alive.” This advice, given to countless new teachers for decades, is given to Tony Danza as he starts his next adventure as an educator. Danza’s warm banter makes me feel I have a front row seat in his classroom and to his dramatic moments—crying over classroom poor performance (his), enthusiasm for team sports (staying in Philly instead of returning to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving), encouraging other teachers in a talent show, and field trips to Washington DC and New York City. Extravadanza, the student run show, raises money for the crisis in Haiti—at every step you can hear Danza engaging students in their own learning.

His obvious extras — products of filming a reality television show in the classroom — like air conditioning, wifi, windows, and unlimited Xeroxing, are not to be taken lightly when considering public school teaching. Having and sharing YouTube and even the movie version “Of Mice and Men” do make a difference. Resources are a huge issue in teaching, and Danza does discuss how teaching 150 students well requires a superhuman effort on the part of educators. I loved learning about his rap songs, poetry contests, and ways to connect modern day kids to Shakespeare. Having daily feedback from a competent mentor is something that would help any teacher improve. He was lucky to be in a school with Small Learning Communities (SLC); like Danza, I got much assistance from this group when I taught 8th grade. Not every school has them, but you can see from his examples that SLC can be a lifeline for a drowning first year teacher.

Click here to read the FULL REVIEW at Wandering Educators.

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Lisa Niver

Lisa Niver is a travel expert, writer, artist, entrepreneur, and on-camera host who has explored 96 countries. Niver has established a following through her written and video content, garnering over one million video views on YouTube, Amazon Fire Tv and Roku. Niver is the founder of a top 100 travel blog, We Said Go Travel, that reaches more than 200,000 annually and is in the top 1/8 of the top 1% of all sites in the United States. In her tri-annual international travel writing competitions, she has published nearly 2000 writers from 75 countries. She was invited to the United Nations as a Champions of Humanity ambassador, to the red carpet at the Oscars with United Airlines and to New Orleans for a project with American Express and Starwood Hotels. Her recent stories include Dutch designer villas for Luxury Magazine, interviewing Fabien Cousteau for Delta Sky, skiing with the blind for Sierra and scuba diving in the Solomon Islands for Smithsonian. She also contributes to USA Today, Wharton Business Magazine, the Jewish Journal and is verified on Twitter. Niver was a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and a 2014 nominee for the Charles Bronfman Prize.

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