Reviews for I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had : My Year As a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High

Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1
Not a whole lot of people tuned into the 2010 reality-TV series Teach. But those who did saw the Who's the Boss? star, who had long dreamed of teaching English, suffer reality checks so brutal he regularly broke down in tears. Danza's memoir of his year working at Philadelphia's biggest public school hews closely to the show, from his sweat-drenched first day to his ineffective class clowning to the harsh reprimands from a principal unafraid to toss him out. Dealing with just one-fifth of a typical teacher's workload, Danza indulges in grandiose lesson plans--talent shows, poetry slams, etc.--and yet he is still racked with daily anxiety. This is a breezy read, and when Danza isn't duking it out with the TV producer (who worries they have a boring show), he is able to shed light on a number of the underreported struggles teachers face: dealing with adoption fantasies, reporting sexual abuse, and breaking up fights, among them. A memorable exchange features a student telling Danza to grow some balls, but it took significant cojones for him to even try teaching. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
Surprisingly thoughtful and passionate account of an actor's turn at the helm of an urban high school classroom. After his talk show was cancelled in 2007, Danza (co-author: Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto, 2008) faced a late-career crisis. Weighing his options and feeling personally dissatisfied, he considered becoming a teacher, which led to his show's producer pitching this as a reality TV concept. To his credit, the self-depreciating actor owns up to the obvious doubts readers may harbor about this book or the underwatched show behind it (A&E's Teach). Initially nervous in the classroom, the affable yet hapless Danza understandably reverted to his chatty, ingratiating stage persona, which failed to impress students in Philadelphia's largest high school. Fortunately, he remained open to advice from his more experienced peers and tried different approaches in the classroom. For many readers, his classroom may seem initially composed of various urban adolescent "types," but they develop into fully realized characters due to Danza's verve and care in discussing them. Danza is generous in praising the full-time teachers who, with some reservation, mentored him. The writing is slick and occasionally mawkish (in Danza's telling, some dramatic classroom moments were punctuated by him bursting into tears), but the author has produced a real discussion of the challenges faced by American high school teachers, rather than merely a celebrity self-reflection. He approaches this project with heart, though his conclusions are grim: "many of those who went through orientation with me have already left the profession because of cutbacks, frustration, and/or their own economic necessity." Teachers will appreciate Danza's advocacy, and perhaps readers who know him from TV will be moved to consider the urgent questions he raises. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 October #1

Approaching 60, with a canceled television series and a troubled marriage, actor Danza was unsure of the next step in his life. Inspired by a documentary on Teach for America, Danza (who holds a degree in history education) found himself in a Philadelphia high school, teaching a tenth-grade English class that was also being filmed as a reality show/documentary. His book covers one school year, alternating life-in-the-classroom chapters with "Teachers' Lounge" chapters that look behind the scenes and offer general comments on teaching and the author's experiences. Those with classroom experience may cringe at Danza's naive pronouncements: teenagers are moody, some "bad" kids are just mixed up, teachers work hard outside of school hours. Danza taught one 90-minute class each day and helped coach football; he also spent his own money to take students on a field trip to New York City. VERDICT Danza's heart is in the right place, and his respect for teachers comes through loud and clear. Though he offers little new insight, the book is easy to read and will remind readers of the struggle many students, teachers, and administrators endure daily. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/12.]--Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch. Lib., Fort Worth

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 May #3

In this endearing memoir, Danza defies expectations by embracing his Taxi and Who's the Boss personae with self-deprecating humor and a deep appreciation for his new role as a 10th grade English teacher at Philadelphia's Northeast High School. With refreshing honesty, Danza recalls how the lows of his TV talk show getting canceled combined with his marital troubles propelled him to fulfill his long-lost desire to teach. The award-winning actor, with altruistic goals, reluctantly joins forces with A&E television to make his vision a reality--and a reality television show. The kids in Danza's classroom seem to fit every stereotype of modern students, but the earnestness with which Danza approaches his year in high school is engaging. Throughout, the reader learns about Danza's commitment via his attempts to reach each student and to help them work through anger, parental problems, and social upheavals. He lucidly explains the plight of his students and his attempts to engage them with Shakespearean sonnets that may seem irrelevant to them and classic novels (Of Mice and Men; To Kill a Mockingbird). Danza's writing style is accessible to a wide audience, and while there might be a bit of the jocular boss left in him, he provides insights into a teacher's daily life. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Media. (Sept.)

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