Where do I begin with this one?

I would like to first say that after doing some research, I found that in all the newspapers outside of the Philadelphia area seem to think that all the people in Philadelphia say the word,”yo”. I would at this time like to thank Rocky for that.

Okay, back to this teaching thing with Tony Danza.

If you haven’t heard, A&E is trying to work out a new reality TV show with Danza called “Teach”. Danza would be teaching at North East High School…oh wait…I am sorry…he would be co-teaching tenth graders in North East High School. Danza has no teaching background and his degree in History is thirty years old. Sure, he will be taking the same courses all new teachers with the district would need to take during their first year, but he isn’t required to take any current English classes. Also, I heard that he might actually be a good teacher. I have no doubt in my mind that he would be good with the kids and even though a good chunk of them never probably saw his shows, they will still be impressed that an actor is teaching them English.

But he isn’t taking over a whole class on his own. He is basically student teaching.

When I worked with the school district, I was put in the classroom my first day. Granted, I was a certified teacher, so I was not shocked by this at all. I was actually thankful to be able to just walk in and start teaching. But there I was a first year teacher in front of a class of kids in what others would call a not so ideal district. I didn’t have someone in the room with me co teaching. But I am not complaining. I am actually very happy I was alone.

If A&E wants to make a real reality show about teachers, then I suggest not following an actor turned teacher. Danza will not be teaching in the reality most first year teachers face. I want to see Danza make up lesson plans. I want to see him out at Staples and Office Max buying supplies for his classroom. He needs to take a trip to either Lakeshore or Becker’s and buy materials for his classroom and for his professional library. Let’s watch him go through professional development days. I want to see him carry home upwards of 80 essays and grade them in one night. I want to see him sit in a parent conference and watch the parent smack the kid right in front of him. Danza is walking into a dream world of what teaching could be and he isn’t getting close to the actuality of teaching.

Then I want to know, how long will he be co-teaching? When they have enough for the 13 episodes, does he leave? Is that why he is co-teaching with another teacher? How much of the classroom responsibility will be his? Will he stay on with the district after he gets all his paper work in order? The man is like 60, so are you really telling me that this once actor is going to teach for the next five years? Will he get a retirement packet from the school district?

Also, in the school district, you get to pick your school by how much time you have in the district. Why does he get to move ahead into someone else’s classroom and bypass all of those other teachers who have more seniority? I guess that is another reason for the co-teaching?

The reality is no one would really watch a show about what it really is like being in an urban district.

I did work in the district and I will honestly tell you I loved it. I only left because I was moving back to NJ and I felt the commute was too much. I was lucky because in both schools I taught in I had wonderful Principals and Vice-Principals. My students were awesome kids (as they always are in every school I go to…so maybe I am biased in that respect). I was a young teacher and gained a lot of respect from my supervisors and my colleagues. I really loved going to work every day. I think if I didn’t have cancer, I probably would have never left the school district.

I think this Danza thing is a train wreck. He might be a great guy and a good teacher, but I think doing it for a show is just wrong. I think that Danza has the personality to make a good teacher (or at least what I have seen of him on TV), but I really think doing a reality TV show is JUST SO WRONG. How about if Danza does a documentary? He can teach the whole year, not have cameras around him in the classroom and the school every day, and at the end of the year then we can get a true assessment of what it was like for him. Now, this is just making a circus and it will never be the true reality. Those children and their education is on the line and I don’t think for a minute those kids should have to deal with the circus this show will create. They need a safe environment to learn and a show is just not it.

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