About The Book
Tony is an Alumni of the University of Dubuque, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Education. After college however, his life took him down the unexpected path of a successful career as an actor. Many years later, Tony decided to return to his educational roots and volunteered for Teach for America. I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had is his absorbing account of the year Tony spent teaching tenth-grade English at Northeast High – Philadelphia’s most diverse and largest high school.
Entering Northeast’s crowded halls in September of 2009, Tony found his way to a classroom filled with twenty-six 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.
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 book 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 to organizing a talent show to leading far-flung field trips to hosting teacher gripe sessions.
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.
“A witty, self-deprecating, and charming account of how being a teacher extends far beyond the four walls of a classroom. From sweating through his shirt to harboring adoption fantasies, Tony Danza depicts his brutally and beautifully real experience as a first-year high-school teacher. With humor and honesty, he highlights the emotional toll of teaching and describes how one of the most important careers in America is still one of the most unappreciated.”
–Erin Gruwell, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Freedom Writers Diary
“At age 59 Tony Danza inexplicably chose to become a teacher at a tough, inner-city school. The story he tells is moving, eye-opening, and compellingly honest. Love infuses his work, and he cries a lot. Read this book and you will too.”
–Joel Klein, former New York City Schools chancellor
“It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a group of teens and proclaim yourself their teacher. It takes even more to be a good one — someone who sees each student as an individual with a unique life story. Tony Danza put himself forward to teach children and learn from them, knowing that the more he really understood these kids the better teacher he could be for them. We easily forget how truly difficult it is to be a transformational teacher and in these pages you can see that’s what he became.”
–Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees & Wannabees
“Tony Danza is filled with life, joy and the spirit of altruism – which makes him a natural teacher, as well as a perfect witness to the victories and tragedies in today’s inner-city classroom. Like teaching itself, this book is an emotional roller-coaster – but it’s also a sobering account of the perilous state of schools in our poor communities. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of the nation’s children.”
–Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone
“I highly recommend I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had to everyone who has thought about teaching as an encore career – and anyone who wants to know what life is like for teachers and students in American public school classrooms today. Tony’s book will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. It serves as a call to action for every one of us to take a stand and commit to the education of our young people.”
–Sherry Lansing, Former CEO of Paramount Pictures and Founder of The Sherry Lansing Foundation
“A great antidote to all those pieces by folks who consider teaching glorified babysitting.”
“In this endearing memoir, Danza defies expectations…[filled with] refreshing honesty…provides insights into a teacher’s daily life.”
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About The Book
In the Danza family, the men did most of the cooking — great Italian-American food that has remained the favorite cuisine in American households for more than a century.
Tony and his son, Marc, invite you into the kitchen with their huge, at times hilarious, Italian-American clan for 50 top-secret family recipes (the sauce and the lasagna) and never-before-shared stories and photographs.
You’ll meet Tony’s mom and dad, and Tony’s mom’s family, the Camisas. You’ll meet Marc’s family and of course his son, Nicholas. You’ll meet the uncles, the aunts, and the cousins, all important people in Tony’s and Marc’s upbringing. You’ll read stories about an Italian immigrant family that grew strong in America and really lived the American dream.
The stories are, for the most part, wrapped around the recipes and the food that was the center of family life: Uncle John’s Pasta with Prosciutto Sauce, Mother’s Lasagna, Chicken with Lemon and Garlic, Holiday Antipasto, Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Escarole and Bean Soup, Ricotta Cheesecake, and even Tony and Marc’s Quick or Date Sauce, a fabulous tomato sauce that’s fast, easy, and sure to help you impress the ladies.
So pull up a chair, pick up a fork, and join Tony and Marc as they cook, eat, and laugh their way through the generations. And remember, “don’t fill up on the antipasto.”