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On 'Teach,' Tony Danza Literally Sweats Through His First Day of School (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 4th 2010 12:06AM
On 'Teach,' Tony Danza Literally Sweats Through His First Day of SchoolCan you start a new career, even if you're well-advanced into middle age? And can you teach an old dog new tricks?

The season premiere of 'Teach: Tony Danza' (Fri., 10PM ET on AETV) follows the adventures of actor Tony Danza -- as he attempts to make it as a public school educator. The 59-year-old Danza spent a year in an urban high school in Philadelphia, trying on the new role of 10th-grade English teacher. But on his first day of class, Mr. Danza is already sweating bullets.

Before becoming an actor, Tony got a history degree in college, and had dreams of one day instructing a class full of students. Of course, his television and movie career interfered with these plans. However, Tony's acting career has, uh, died down lately -- so he's not really too busy these days. This is the perfect time for him to enter the world of teaching. ... Or is it?

Danza doesn't seem all that prepared for his first day of school. First, he gets chewed out by the school's principal, who warns that he won't be getting any special treatment from her. "I won't let anybody or anything compromise my children getting where they need to get at the end of the day," she says. "If this doesn't work, you're outta here."

Well, that's encouraging. Next, it's time for his very first class! Tony is visibly anxious. And emotional -- he's also very emotional. As we've discussed before, Mr. Danza wears his heart on his sleeve. And on the first episode of the show, he cries no less than four times. Yikes!

It's the signs of stress that are more evident to his students. Tony starts out his introductory class by trying to give a rousing motivational speech. But he's quickly interrupted by the crowd of teenagers, who laugh at him and want to know if he's "a millionaire." Then, a young woman named Charmaine raises her hand. She asks if Danza is "nervous."

"I'm terrified," the actor replies.

"Okay, well ..." Charmaine says. She pauses to smirk. "I don't want to embarrass you or anything, but maybe you should, like, wear more undershirts or something." The camera then zooms in on Tony's massively sweat-stained dress shirt. "He sweats a lot," she adds. Yep, Danza seems pretty nervous.

He's definitely giving it his all, though. Danza truly does want to be a great teacher. Already on the pilot episode, we've seen crying and perspiration. That's two parts of the all-important "blood, sweat and tears" trifecta. But will Tony's efforts be enough? Can he help his unruly class of students, or was this just a terrible idea for a new career?

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I know this will date me, but when I was in high school, we were taught to respect our teachers and would never have had the nerve to call one of them out on his fist day of teaching.

October 04 2010 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tony, why she's apprehensive! Your line of work has produced governors, Presidents, etc. Go Tony. You're alright Mr. Danza. You inspire me. Great job Tony. Don't let any of these dabblers on TV squad bother you. Bet most of them ever got where you are. Not like you had to do it. And even if you had a thumbs up.

October 04 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He doesn't care about teaching. If he did, he wouldn't have cameras. He doesn't want a new career, he wants to act infront of the camera. This time hes just acting like hes a teacher. This show is a disgrace.

October 04 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C. Gardner

As a former educator and School Psychologist I get really tired of the "anybody can teach" attitude that pervaades TV and the News. Good intentions are not enough. You have to have knowledge of your subject matter and classroom management. Mr. Danza obviously had neither and should get out of the classroom ASAP

October 04 2010 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think he's got the right idea but needs to be less emotional and maybe should have gone to teaching school first and prepared more for this "role" I'm calling first.

October 04 2010 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The principal can hardly enunciate the English language and she's challenging Mr. Danzas effort. I wish him well for his desire to help our children.

October 04 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Any of you who do not want to give him a break needs to put their money where their mouth is. You try it (teaching) first and come back with as many critics as your arrogant mind and mouth will let out.

October 04 2010 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At least Danza will only miss the boat w/ 26 students...unlike Bush who undercut public education in our whole nation w/ his "No Child..." hoax.
Additionally, I bet that Danza carried a higher g.p.a. than Boy George.

October 04 2010 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not the teacher here, it is the poorly behaved, lack of respect for authority, that so many young people have lost because of what our current society is telling us and by letting schools run by administrators, such as the one shown here that are making big bucks, being politically correct, and forcing the burden on the teacher and not where the blame belongs-the parent(s). What is seen here is only a glimpse of what horrible things go on in the classroom. There is an extreme lack of respect on the part of the students. Teachers spend an inordinate amount of time, wasted time, trying to keep order in the classroom. Personally, I am totally shocked with the culture of schools today. There is not only lack of respect for authority, but students don't respect each other. I am not promoting beating kids, so don't read that into what follows. Back in the days when I went to school there was a 4th grade teacher that slapped kids with a ruler, sometimes for no reason at all, principals were allow to spank students when it was deserved, and I still have yet to find a person that turned out rotten for being punished for doing wrong. I lived with a couple from China. The husband told students in China don't misbehave because a call is made to your parent(s); they come to the school and dish out the punishment in front of everyone. This might sound extreme, but interestingly, both he and his wife are graduate students! Children and young people Need structure and perimeters. Parents, step up and do your job. Principals, support your staff. Teachers God Bless you. When they told God out of schools all havoc was let loose.

October 04 2010 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Benedict Balser

As a retired teacher with 42 years experience on all levels (elementary, middle, high school, and college), I can identify with Mr. Danza's early troubles in the classroom and also in the locker room. One of the most difficult things to do in teaching is to "accept silence" and give the students a chance to think and reply. Sometime two minutes of silence during a presentation seems like 30 minutes when one sees all those faces looking at you. Also, he needs to remember that although he has some students in the class that know a lot of "academic stuff", as an adult of his age and experience in life, he is still head and shoulders smarter than any of his students. Preparation and patience are the keys he needs to work on.

October 04 2010 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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