“Teach,” featuring actor Tony Danza as a sophomore English teacher at Philadelphia’s Northeast High, is billed as a reality show, though Danza teaches only one class of student volunteers with a teacher coach sitting in the back of the room to help. Danza tries hard, everyone agrees.
But Danza talks too much, writes Hank Stuever in the Washington Post.
In “Teach,” we’re not so much waiting for Superman as we’re waiting for Danza to shut up.
He arrives in early September for the first day of classes at Northeast High School — a massive campus of 3,700 widely diverse students — and he is all but certain that his winning personality will charm the teenagers into successful learning. (He raps! He tap-dances! He tells unending, tangential stories about his Brooklyn boyhood, his garbage-collector father, his boxing career, his acting career, his marriages!)
. . . What makes “Teach: Tony Danza” worth watching are the teenagers themselves and the glimpses of other teachers who make the place work. Danza, meanwhile, becomes an irritating, whirling, self-aggrandizing bundle of nerves.
Aaron Traister of Salon complains about The useless tears of Tony Danza.
He bursts into tears after his teaching coach ever so gently busts his balls — for breaking into tears. . . . His students rip on him for sweating too much and suggest that he should wear a double layer of undershirts. Actually, the kids rip on Danza about a lot of things, from his grasp of the material to his classroom management, to his crying.
But, at least, the show is honest about including Danza’s silly and awkward moments, Traister writes.
Even Danza’s insistence on performing his way through classes trying to keep the kids entertained rather than educated is a cringe-inducingly accurate portrayal of a common trap for young teachers.
The show is really about a fish out of water, not a teacher, Traister writes. The real teachers — who don’t have one hand-picked class, a coach and a lot of free time — should be the stars.
Still, Principal Linda Carroll said she’d hire Danza to teach, reports NPR’s Andy Dehnart.
No question because he’s funny, he’s caring, he understands that before you can teach a thing, you have to connect and build a relationship with a child, and he’s willing to do that.
Before going into boxing and then acting, Danza earned a degree in history education at the University of Dubuque.