As I continue my read through of the Fulton County Public Library, I find myself immersed in nostalgic memories of my own former teaching career as well as laughing myself silly. I have really enjoyed reading the books for this post.
The first book that I read was I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza.
(Yes, for those of you old enough to remember this is the actor, Tony Danza.) For those of you not old enough to know who Tony Danza is, he acted in the sitcoms Taxi
and Who’s the Boss?
Before Danza was an actor, he was a professional boxer.
It was during his boxing career that Tony Danza was “discovered” and then became an actor. What most people don’t know is that even before Danza’s days as a boxer, he trained to be a teacher.
Life has a strange way of taking twists and turns. After college, Danza intended to actually be a teacher but his boxing career took off and he pursued it for awhile. Because of his boxing, he then became an actor, and because of his acting career and his desire to return to his love of teaching, he was offered a reality show called Teach. Teach is a one season DVD series with 7 episodes.
Tony Danza was actually hired at an inner city school in Philadelphia as a first year teacher. Danza bravely agreed to be filmed as a first year teacher. There were some concessions that had to be made to the Philadelphia school district to ensure that students would actually receive a legitimate education during the reality show. A teaching coach was assigned to the classroom. He sat at the back during the classroom sessions and then made recommendations and suggestions afterwards. Danza was expected to be like any other teacher in the school and he had extracurricular duties.
This first year teaching experience led to writing I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I’ve Ever Had, a book which I totally enjoyed. Danza truly does have a heart for kids. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that Danza’s eyes got opened. According to him, teaching is the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life. It’s harder than being a professional boxer. I would totally recommend the book. I liked Teach, the DVD series, but I actually liked the book better.
The next book I read was “Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?” Teaching Lessons from the Bronx by Ilana Garon. I had to read this book for it’s title alone. I also perk up when I hear about aliens (for more about this see my post Shelf Browsing Leads To Memory Lane.)
Garon is a young Jewish teacher who explains the realities of teaching in an inner city school in the Bronx. Her book follows the first 4 years or so of her teaching career through two different schools and a sabbatical. While I liked the overall story in the book, I have to admit that I did have some difficulty relating to some of the cultural elements of the students and teachers. Since I’ve never lived in a huge city like New York, many of the concepts were quite foreign to me. For instance, rather than having huge school systems, many of the larger school buildings have been reinvented and may house multiple schools within the same building complete with their own staffs of support people and administrators. In both this experience and also in Tony Danza’s experience, all three schools discussed house their own police department to control their students and the students are sometimes dragged out of class in handcuffs.
The next book I came across was Hugs for Teachers by Martha McKee, Caron Loveless, and LeAnn Weiss.
This book is a very quick read book which is faith based, inspirational, and motivational. It is one of those books that you may want to give as a gift to your child’s teacher.
Finally the last two books I read (and laughed myself silly reading) were:
Both of these books by Richard Benson are compilations of wrong (but often quite creative) test answers. I literally laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes and trouble catching my breath! If you need to laugh, I highly recommend these books!
Were you aware that Tony Danza is a certified teacher? Have you ever been to a school that has it’s own police department? Have you ever given “creative” test answers when you didn’t know the real answer?