Tony Danza releases book about teaching public school for a yearSep-11-2012
Give Tony Danza extra credit.
When the cameras stopped rolling halfway through the school year for his short-lived reality show "Teach: Tony Danza," the 62-year-old actor didn't walk out on his 10th-grade English students at Philadelphia's largest public high school.
As a first-year volunteer teacher separating from his wife of 20-plus years, the "Who's the Boss?" star was determined to finish what he started, no matter the challenges.
And there were many, as his book "I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had" (out Tuesday) recounts.
"There are very few things that are harder than being a teacher in any public school in America," Danza tells the Daily News. "It's a job that requires total commitment at the expense of just about everything else in your life.
"A teacher needs to be a lot of things to these kids - not only an educator, but a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a best friend and a social worker. And a lot of teachers aren't prepared for that. They come to teach the curriculum and inspire kids who want to learn, but there are a lot of kids who have a lot of difficulties that keep them from learning."
You might think that teaching would be easier for a celebrity. Not so, says the Brooklyn native.
"These kids were born two years after 'Who's the Boss?' went off the air," Danza says. "They knew I was somebody because of the TV cameras, but they hadn't seen any of my work. One student said, 'Wasn't he in 'Cheers?' "
But less notoriety actually helped Danza develop his teaching philosophy.
"The big thing is to try to find a way that the lesson connects with the students' lives so that it becomes relatable to them," he says. "Everything is a life lesson. 'Julius Caesar' teaches friendship. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is all about making the best of a bad situation. When I was in school, I couldn't understand why any of this mattered to me."
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