Review of Tony Danza’s “I’d Like to Apologize To Every Teacher I Ever Had”

“I HAVE A BIG MOUTH, which is how this whole thing got started.”

Tony Danza, known for his roles on the sit-coms Taxi and Who’s The Boss, found himself unemployed after a two year stint as the host of a talk show which aired between Live! with Regis and Kelly and The View. But, because of a segment, his favorite, he notes, called “School Room Makeovers,” he found himself eventually enrolled in the Teach for America training program and eventually, as part of short-lived series on A&E, found himself teaching English in a Philadelphia City High School. This book is, as the late Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”

“I’d Like to Apologize,” is a serious and honest look through the eyes of a man, though he was an actor on two hit TV shows, a star of the Broadway stage, and one time boxer, who found himself in the intimidating role of teaching a group of urban high school students who did not care about who he was in the past and among the faculty who felt that he was there for the wrong reasons and would not last. It is a story not just about education but about the environment of education that is the subject of debate and discussion, acrimonious at times, across this nation.

Yes, Danza does recite the litany of issues at the end of the book regarding education in this country. But what he does in this book is reveal the challenge and opportunity of teaching students, whether urban, suburban, or rural, who live with and in challenging circumstances but can and do learn.

The book chronicles Danza’s year in the classroom,  interspersed with end of chapter segments called Teacher’s Lounge. And along the way, we watch a dancing act of motivating, cajoling, and encouraging a group of students to learn and believe they can learn. It also features the tension involved in filming a TV show that he refused to “realitize” with the result that from February to the end of the school year in June, Danza is on his own as filming ends.

What I liked about this book are the great stories of the students and Danza’s ability to bring the reader into the classroom and experience the joy, frustration, successes, failures, and setbacks of one teacher.

I rate this book a ‘great read.’

I received an uncorrected proof of this book via the Amazon Vine review program in exchange for a review of this book. I was not required to write a positive review.


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