Struggling schools, sinking students and sorry situations. What’s the solution?

We are living in a world where mediocrity is a goal that is not reached by the masses.  If you are in my age group (went to school in the 70’s and 80s) and grew up in a big city like I did (NYC), you may remember a time when excellence was defined and attainable.  A high school diploma was something you got just because.  Most of us did not have to be forced to attend school because only the thugs, bums, junkies and drug dealers hung out in the streets during the day.  If you were not trying to be one of them, you went to school!

When you were in class, there was always a kid who pushed the teacher’s limits.  He or she was the class clown.  At most you had two of these individuals in your class.  Even though this kid may be funny at times, the class usually kept him/her in check.  If he/she was too disturbing the other students would tell the class clown to relax or be quiet so they could get their work done.   

Nowadays, students have scientific calculators, Internet access and after school programs and tutors in the school building.  Most students do not know that an English report may be called a term paper because it used to take a whole term to do.  Everything is easier but students are not doing better.  Now, the culture of the classroom is very different.  There are more “wanna be” clowns in over crowded classes now and most students do not challenge them to calm down or be quiet.  They simply enjoy the show.  Fights erupt in the hall and in the classrooms on a regular basis.  The fights are now captured on cell phones and broadcast on YouTube.  Teachers are forced to employ real disciplinary measures just to teach their classes.  If they are not successful, they leave the profession, or worse they stay and become extremely ineffective. 

For these and many other reasons, many schools are not reaching the average yearly progress (AYP) that has been established by the government.  In addition, many good teachers are leaving due to the fact that they cannot teach the years curriculum due to disciplinary issues.  What can we do?

I do not think that I have the answer to every problem in education, but I do know how we can start to take schools back to a time where education occurred more than violence, where technology can be used to make kids smarter instead of making them lazy.  Most teachers will tell you that classroom management and discipline is the key to raising AYP scores and improving teacher retention rates.  So where do we get these skills?

I am a High School Mathematics Teacher who presents Time to Teach Seminars.  These seminars expose teachers to a variety of strategies that can eliminate 80-90% of all low-level discipline issues. If low-level issues are addressed it makes it harder for higher level actions to occur.   This actually creates more time to teach (hence the name!).  If a teacher has less discipline issues, more learning can occur.  If more learning occurs, test scores improve!  In addition, less discipline problems equals less referrals which translates to less student in the principal’s office.  This means the principal can concentrate on other improvements in the school building.

Our seminars are based on methodologies of successful educators and many schools have seen a significant and consistent change in their school culture after having a seminar at their school.  In a typical training teachers will learn:

1) Self-Control strategies, which will help them to “Remain Calm and Respond Right” every time.

2) All of the Teach-To philosophy and strategies, which will help set them and their children up for peak performance.

3) The Unconditional Positive Regard philosophy and strategies which will help them establish connections with all children.

4) Classroom arrangement ideas that actually influence learning and behavior.

5) REFOCUS review philosophy and strategies which will guarantee that a teacher can “stay out of the tornado” and never again find themselves giving multiple warnings and repeated requests.

Need to see more?  Check out these videos :

If you are an educator, administrator, parent or just a concerned person who wants to see your neighborhood schools succeed, feel free to send them my information.  You can receive more information on scheduling a training seminar at our site at

Feel free to spread the word!  Lets fix our schools!  Our future depends on it!   If you want a training at a particular school, reply and leave me the contact information for that school!

Knowledge changes Perception

I am about 5 foot 10 inches tall (if you can call that tall) and I weigh about 260 lbs.  To most people, I would be considered fat or morbidly obese.  It is a not uncommon to hear people commenting about my size.  Many people, who do not know me will address me as big man or big fella.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not an issue for me, but I do have a point!  There are many people who can look at me in my present state and their perception is that I need to do something to lose weight immediately.  They even go as far as to believe that I am out of control and I do not exercise or have any control over my eating. 

However, those who know me or those who have seen photos of me from just a year ago would know that I have recently lost over 120 lbs.  Those people (who are in the know) do not have the same negative view that the previous group of people have of me.  Why is this?

Knowledge changes Perception!

This is a lesson that is well worth learning.  When you do not know the story about a particular issue, your perception is skewed!  You have based your opinion on your own set of experiences and been drawn to an uneducated guess of what the conclusion may be.  Usually, a brief look into the history of an issue can completely change your opinions and beliefs.  Are we in agreement yet?  If so, I think you will find that a lot of the feelings, beliefs and viewpoints that we share are often based on a lack of knowledge.  The worst part is that we seek out people who feel the same way to strengthen our positions.  This amounts to nothing more than a large collection of ignorance in most cases.  Just think about how many people believed the following: the world is flat, the atom is the smallest particle of matter, Columbus discovered America.  We must realize that large groups of people not only believed these things, they  were willing to bet their lives on this knowledge.  The truth is the world is round, the atom has been split (proving it is not the smallest particle of matter) and Columbus never even set foot on the place we call America. There are many things that a majority of people believed that was incorrect.

Lets take the time this year(and for the rest of our lives) to seek knowledge before we make decisions on anything.  Or at the very least, let us be willing to allow the truth about a situation to positively influence our viewpoints.  Review your opinions and let facts and knowledge have a chance at expanding your mind!

Oh yeah, I do intend to continue losing weight!  Don’t worry about that!

What Now?

Well, the hype of the New Year is gone.  The ball dropped, the confetti has been cleaned up, and the party is over.  Some resolutions have already been dismissed as “unattainable” and many people are back to their everyday lives in their familiar rut.  Where are you?

This cycle of “yearly rebirth” is one of the greatest fallacies known to man.  We put all of our energy into doing something different in the coming year.  When that does not work, we wait for the next year.  Why do we do this?  If you thought about it, I am sure that most of you would agree that our personal “New Year’s Day” is our birthday.  That is truly a new year for each of us.  However true this may be, we would still find ourselves in the same dilemma after each birthday.  So, what is the solution? 

Change your units of measure!

What does this mean?  Set a goal for the new month, the new week, the new day or even the new hour!  Who says we have to fail for a year before we get a chance to reset?  Who put a “magical spell” on the night of December 31st that makes all of our dreams and desires come true?  Obviously, no one or we would be in better shape by now! 

If you have “dropped the ball” on your resolutions already, start over this week.  If you fail, try starting over the next day and take it one day at a time.  It works!  If you did not go to the gym today, start tomorrow.  If you smoked a cigarette and wanted to quit, don’t smoke for the next hour and then the next hour.  Don’t limit yourself by units of time; use them to your advantage.  As long as you are living, there is another second, minute or hour to try again!  Be encouraged and find success in your new resolutions!  I am rooting for you!