So entertainer Tony Danza is going to be a real high school teacher this autumn as part of a new reality show. In the words of the Church Lady, “Well, isn’t that special!” Once again we learn that most people think teaching is a piece of cake. I mean, after all, “those who can’t do teach”. To his credit, Danza says he is “so scared”. I wonder though, how he would feel if a teacher with no previous experience decided to tap dance with him on stage.
I teach English to people for whom English is a second language. The more I do it, I say to myself and to anyone who will listen, “Not everybody could do this.” In my opinion it takes some skill to create an atmosphere in a classroom of people from different countries so that they feel comfortable to take the risks necessary to speak English with their fellow students. In addition, it takes a certain kind of mentality to enjoy working with people from other cultures. Yet, we English as a second language teachers are low on the totem pole at colleges and universities. Our field is considered “remedial” and we are paid chump change when compared with other university teachers.
Mr. Danza should be scared, I know my own weaknesses. You can forget about me teaching anybody below the age of 16. I just don’t have the patience. It’s tough enough to teach young adults who act like kids sometimes. I learned this about myself the hard way in a school where the students were what my boss called “20 going on 13”. I’m afraid Mr. Danza may have his own school of hard knocks.
Rodney Dangerfield illustrates in this clip what I think the result of Danza’s reality show escapade will be.
As a teacher I feel a lot like Rodney Dangerfield. “I don’t get no respect.”