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What followed was a year spent teaching 10th-grade English at Northeast High - Philadelphia’s largest high school with 3,600 students. Entering Northeast’s crowded halls in September 2009, Tony found his way to a classroom filled with 26 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.
It was only after experiencing abject terror for several weeks - and even dissolving into tears on several occasions - that Tony began to pick up the tricks of how to get kids to learn.
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 audiobook 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, organizing a talent show, leading far-flung field trips, and hosting teacher gripe sessions.
Inevitably, Tony’s students steal their way into our hearts - in a way that always feels authentic. 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sibine on 04-13-13
I may be a little biased, but ....
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone! Teachers will love it because it will make them reflect back upon their own (probably disastrous) first year of teaching. For anyone else, if you'd like to get a small taste of what urban high school education is like, read this book.
I had the interesting experience of sharing my first year of teaching at Northeast High School with Mr. Danza, so in a way this book was very personal for me. Although I already had three years of experience under my belt, it was my first foray into urban education. Additionally, the following year, I had several of Mr. Danza's students in my own English class. So for me, this was like reading about home. I enjoyed the book so much more than I enjoyed the television series. It seemed more honest and definitely more real.
From the perspective of someone who wants to be a professor in a college of education at some point in the future, this book is crucial. Although Mr. Danza only had one class of students to worry about, his experiences -- his fears, his successes, his failures, his joys-- are all very real.
I also thought it was a masterful decision to have Tony read his own book. His voice is absolutely wonderful, his inflection perfect, and of course since these are own experiences, you can't ask for a more honest and personal style of reading. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and truthfully, I think that maybe Mr. Danza has found a new niche! I would definitely listen to him read another book.
What other book might you compare I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had to and why?
Mr. Danza's book is sort of like Jonathan Kozol "lite". It lacks the authenticity of Kozol's more research-oriented books, and definitely the political angles, but the emotion is still there.
Which scene was your favorite?
Towards the end of the book, there is a scene where Mr. Danza reflects back on his year of teaching and is saddened and moved to tears at the thought of his experience coming to an end. This was an especially poignant scene, one that teachers everywhere can relate to.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Of course! Not just because these students were my students too. The book is very well written and emotionally poignant.
26 of 26 people found this review helpful
By Colvin on 09-24-12
Tony Danza tells it like it is, I have spent 17 years in the classroom and Mr. Danza experiences and writes about almost every issue that teachers face in the classroom today and hits the nail on the head every time. Great read.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful