Tony Danza knew that when he left acting behind, he wanted to do something meaningful. After a failed talk show attempt in New York, he decided to go back to the thing which had once made him happy and had been number one on his list of career choices before the acting bug bit him: teaching.
Now, in a new book titled “I’d Like To Apologize To Every Teacher I Ever Had”, Danza talks about his experiences in the classroom and gets candid about the reality show he tried to get off the ground but couldn’t find the right tone for.
Danza earned a teaching degree many years ago and decided to put it to good use in 2009, when he landed a job teaching English at Philadelphia’s Northeast High School. He wanted to share the experience with the world and pitched the idea of a reality show to A&E, where he wanted to portray the world of classroom learning and the real lives of his students with a keen eye towards showing the pressures kids face every day.
“The kind of show I envisioned would be risky for the network, but I was convinced that the real lives of real kids combined with my hyperreal flop sweat as a novice teacher would make for more than enough drama,” Danza wrote in the book. “Responsible reality. That actually had a good ring to it.”
Unfortunately for Danza, the show–called “Teach”–was poorly received even before it began, with some critics accusing him of leaning on teen drama and exploiting children in the interest of jumpstarting his career. Even though the show was picked up by the network, it lasted only seven episodes. Still, Danza stayed on through the rest of the school year after filming ended and was fervent in his commitment to the students. “I’d Like To Apologize To Every Teacher I Ever Had” is the story of his time with those kids, what it meant to him to fulfill his promise, and how sometimes reality is better than television reality.