I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had is television, screen and stage star Tony Danza’s absorbing account of a year spent teaching tenth-grade English at Northeast High -- Philadelphia’s largest high school with 3600 students.
Entering Northeast’s crowded halls in September of 2009, Tony found his way to a classroom filled with twenty-six 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.
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 book 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 to organizing a talent show to leading far-flung field trips to hosting teacher gripe sessions.
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.
“Breezy…Danza is able to shed light on a number of the underreported struggles teachers face.”
“In this endearing memoir, Danza defies expectations…[filled with] refreshing honesty…provides insights into a teacher’s daily life.”
“A witty, self-deprecating, and charming account of how being a teacher extends far beyond the four walls of a classroom. From sweating through his shirt to harboring adoption fantasies, Tony Danza depicts his brutally and beautifully real experience as a first-year high-school teacher. With humor and honesty, he highlights the emotional toll of teaching and describes how one of the most important careers in America is still one of the most unappreciated.”
--Erin Gruwell, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Freedom Writers Diary
“At age 59 Tony Danza inexplicably chose to become a teacher at a tough, inner-city school. The story he tells is moving, eye-opening, and compellingly honest. Love infuses his work, and he cries a lot. Read this book and you will too.”
--Joel Klein, former New York City Schools chancellor
“It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a group of teens and proclaim yourself their teacher. It takes even more to be a good one -- someone who sees each student as an individual with a unique life story. Tony Danza put himself forward to teach children and learn from them, knowing that the more he really understood these kids the better teacher he could be for them. We easily forget how truly difficult it is to be a transformational teacher and in these pages you can see that’s what he became.”
--Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees & Wannabees
“Tony Danza is filled with life, joy and the spirit of altruism – which makes him a natural teacher, as well as a perfect witness to the victories and tragedies in today’s inner-city classroom. Like teaching itself, this book is an emotional roller-coaster – but it’s also a sobering account of the perilous state of schools in our poor communities. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of the nation’s children.”
--Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone
“I highly recommend I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had to everyone who has thought about teaching as an encore career – and anyone who wants to know what life is like for teachers and students in American public school classrooms today. Tony’s book will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. It serves as a call to action for every one of us to take a stand and commit to the education of our young people.”
--Sherry Lansing, Former CEO of Paramount Pictures and Founder of The Sherry Lansing Foundation
"A great antidote to all those pieces by folks who consider teaching glorified babysitting."