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.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. She sailed the seven seas by cruise ship for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one and a quarter million views (1,250,000) on her YouTube channel. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries, named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blogs and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and has over 160,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and also ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on her own site, We Said Go Travel. From 2017 to 2020 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won three times and been a finalist fourteen times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards. She was also a finalist for four other categories including online journalist of the year, digital story for activism journalism with Ms. Magazine, educational reporting for Wharton Magazine and a broadcast lifestyle feature for KTLA TV in Los Angeles.    Niver won a 2019 NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award for one of her KTLA TV segments and was a finalist for articles published in both Ms. Magazine and Wharton Magazine. In 2018,  she was a finalist for stories in Smithsonian, PopSugar Fitness and the Saturday Evening Post. Niver won a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal and was a finalist for travel reporting. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, TODAY, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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