Friday, October 8, 2010

TEACH with Tony Danza

I’ve been watching the show Teach with Tony Danza because, hey—it’s Tony Danza. Okay, so maybe that’s not the only reason. I’m actually interested in finding out what his first year of teaching is like compared to what mine was like. In case you haven’t seen the show on A&E (it does come on pretty late), Tony Danza is living in Philadelphia and is teaching English at Northeast High School. Before he actually started acting he went to school to be a teacher. (I know crazy, right?) In any case, he’s teaching 10th grade English at this inner-city high school and is failing miserably at this point.

Yes, another reality show, but I had hoped this one would be different. I had hoped that the show would let the public know how hard the teaching profession really is. That it isn’t an easy thing to connect with your students, and to meet their needs when they’re all at different levels within the same class. I think the makers are trying to show how tough it is, but what I’m really seeing is how much Tony Danza cries over everything that happens. Yes, teaching is an emotional roller coaster. In fact, I cried every day and threatened to quit at least once a week because the stress and the pressure is overwhelming.

The thing that upsets me about this show is that it is only showing one class period. You see, he only has 26 students. It’s not showing the normal workload of a veteran teacher; one that has 7 classes because they’re on t-payroll because the county won’t hire another teacher to take on the extra workload. One that has over 160 papers to grade each night which become more when the standardized testing is right around the corner and the teacher has to make sure his/her students are prepared. I mean, let’s face it. If we all had to teach only one class a day and could use the rest of the time to  hang out with our friends, attend meetings and staff developments—we would all be spectacular teachers. Instead, I think the public is getting robbed because they are assuming that he has a normal workload and it’s not even close to what it should be.

The first week of the show was extremely slow—mainly because they had to bring in all of the characters and key players in the show (students and what the purpose of it was). I decided that I would give the show a few more chances before I decided to move on with my time. After this week’s episode, I’m not quite sure I want to continue. I mean, you can see that Tony cares a lot about the kids and that he’s trying his hardest to connect with them, but I think many of the interventions are staged just to try and show how inept he is at teaching. Sorry—but I really don’t think that makes for great television. Teaching is hard enough without having editors make a mockery of the things teachers go through on a daily basis. I will give the show one more week, and if things do not improve, I’m moving on.

Have you watched it yet? What do you think of the show?

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