TV sitcom star Tony Danza (well known from his roles on Taxi and Who’s The Boss) recently participated in a media blitz to promote his new reality TV show “Teach,” currently airing on A&E. When we first heard Danza was leaving his family and cushy Los Angeles lifestyle to teach 10h Grade English at an urban Philadelphia high school, the first word that came to our minds was: “Gimmick!”
Why else would an actor leave his privileged lifestyle and the esteem that comes with a decades-long TV career to “slum it” in the halls of Philadelphia’s largest public school?
That’s what we first thought, and then we had to catch ourselves. Why should we see it as a gimmick? There is, arguably, no more noble, glamorous or prestigious profession than that of teaching. How is it that one of the most critical careers of all time has descended to the position of bottom rung on the ladder…that we would automatically count it as a gimmick for an actor to elevate his standing to teach.
As we went on to further explore the story, we learned that this was actually (likely) not a gimmick for Danza. He had actually studied to become a teacher before he took advantage of an opportunity to pursue a career in acting. It turns out that Danza did what many of us always wish we could: he took advantage of an opportunity to walk down his own personal “road not taken.”
Kudos to him! This is the kind of Reality TV we can all get behind. We’re hopeful that this could help contribute to our efforts, and the efforts of others, to elevate the teaching profession higher up–to its rightful place on the proverbial career ladder. Check out a couple of links below to some interviews with Tony Danza regarding this dynamic season in his life. And, visit A&E’s site to check out some of the episodes you’ve missed.
We applaud his efforts and support the messages he’s sharing with the youth in his classroom: that they can “have a good time and have good grades”; that they should “get smart early”; and that “there’s only one way out and that’s an education…a real education.”