It seems to me that in every teacher’s career, there comes a desperate moment in which we just want to be understood. We fervently wish that the public, the parents, and the media comprehended just how dedicated we are to our students, and just how hard we work on their behalf, and just how tough the job is. Tony Danza goes a long way to build this understanding in his 2012 book I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High.
Having already earned his degree in history and his teaching credential, Danza accepted a position as a first-year teacher in an inner-city school in Philadelphia, partly because he had always wanted to teach and decided now would be a good time in his career to explore that option, and partly because the experiment could be turned into a reality show that, Danza hoped, could accomplish some genuine good by turning an empathetic spotlight on our nation’s over-worked, over-criticized, and under-paid teachers.
Throughout the book, Danza provides an insider’s perspective on many of the topics that dominate political discussion in the media and professional conversation in the teachers’ lounge, including such topics as funding cuts, high-stakes testing, high absenteeism, student apathy, and lack of parental involvement. It’s amazing how he hit the nail on the head with every chapter.
I loved this book, and how Danza eloquently voiced the frustrations of practically every teacher in America. Most importantly, I loved how much his genuine affection and respect for his students, and his strong commitment to do right by them, shines through the frustrations. It’s an inspirational book I recommend you read before going back to the classroom in the Fall. You can find it on amazon at I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had.