I have the highest respect for teachers. Their impact on society as a whole and students in particular is so crucial that, in my view, it is the most significant role any person can undertake. Teachers have the overwhelming responsibility and incredible ability to make or break a child's future. Great teachers are rare and those are the ones who are born with a burning desire to educate. I think Tony Danza is one of those people.
It's very clear that the year Mr. Danza spent teaching changed his life. I applaud him for his courage to step outside his comfort zone and pursue his dream to take on a job that is grueling and thankless. The reality show helped facilitate his entry into the school, but the fact that he stayed after the show ended cemented his role as an authentic teacher. Actually, I think he did far better without the cameras because he could shed the Hollywood expectations and be true to himself and the kids. The transformation from self-important star to compassionate educator was an apparent progression in the book. And I think it had more to do with Mr. Danza's past career in dealing with LA and the insecurities with a new career than his dedication to or aptitude for teaching.
I'm so glad he wrote this book because I didn't see the show and it is an important issue to highlight. I hope Mr. Danza becomes an ambassador for a shift in perception about education in America. He's got the right ideas and enough charisma to make a difference.