A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality docuseries -- in which actor/certified teacher Tony Danza teaches English at a Philadelphia high school -- offers some positive messages about the teaching profession but also highlights the challenges that come with it. It’s pretty mild overall, but some scenes show Danza's teen students acting disinterested and/or engaging in mildly disruptive behavior. There's some yelling (mostly on the part of football coaches during games/practices), and some teens occasionally talk about violent incidents. Danza is sometimes shown at a bar having a drink with a friend.
What's the story?
TEACH: TONY DANZA follows the highs and lows that actor Tony Danza (who is also teaching certified) experiences while spending a year teaching 10th-grade English at Philadelphia's Northeast High School. Under the guidance of instructional coach David Cohn and the watchful eye of Principal Linda Carroll, Danza executes lesson plans, administers tests, and assists students with extracurricular activities like football and debate. Viewers also get to see him interact with fellow teachers and parents, as well as prepare for classes and grade papers at home. His students give candid feedback about his teaching in ongoing interviews. Throughout it all, Danza offers his thoughts, fears, and frustrations about the job, as well as the lessons he's learning along the way.
Is it any good?
The seven-part series, which was filmed during the 2009-2010 school year, offers an insightful look into the emotional journey that teachers make when starting out in the profession. It also highlights the endless challenges that teachers -- especially those working in urban education -- face every day. Meanwhile, Danza, who has a college degree in history education, uses the project as a way to inspire students to stay in school and make something of their lives.
Watching Danza struggle through his first year of teaching isn’t always easy, especially when he's faced with disinterested and/or difficult students, concerned parents, and pressure from administrators who question both his teaching ability and his motives for being there. But what he lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to his students. What he gives them is an education -- what he gives viewers is an honest look at both the challenges and the rewards that the teaching profession has to offer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teaching. What kind of training do you need to become a high school teacher? What are some of the challenges that teachers face both in and outside of the classroom? How is teaching generally viewed in the United States?
Kids: Do you have a favorite teacher? What makes him/her your favorite?
Parents: Can you still remember your high school teachers? Were there
any who had a particularly positive impact on your lives?
What was it that they did that made a difference?
Why do you think Danza chose to participate in this show? What benefit could he get out of it other than the pride of a teaching job well done?