Workshop Topics

We are scheduling The Business of School Professional Development, Implementation and Instruction for the fall 2015 school year. Book early, particularly if you are arranging for pre-Labor Day programming. Click here to contact us.

In addition to teacher motivation, Dr. Cubbin enjoys great success when it comes to motivating and inspiring teachers as well as students of all ages. It is because of his honest and direct approach when speaking with adults and young people of all ages. Dr. Mike will connect with everyone in your classrooms or audience. He truly believes there is a solution for any problem that presents itself to any student. Let him know what issues your students are dealing with, and he will fashion his lecture to help address those particular predicaments. When students are spoken with in a candid and non-patronizing fashion, they are more receptive to being nudged in the right direction.

Click on any topic for a description and seminar objectives.

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Professional Development & Instruction for the Speak English with me program is available for the current school year through Skype. (Come on, give it a try!) We are currently scheduling appointments for speaking engagements for both the Speak English with me and The Business of School programs for the spring 2016 semester, as well as for the 2016 – 2017 school year.) Click here to contact us

Students are Customers, too!

One of the most hotly debated topics in schools today is the question, “How do we make meaningful changes in today’s schools so as to produce change on a grand scale, and at the same time increase the level of competency a student acquires by the time the formal education period has ended?”

To that end, I ask, “Since the business community is dependent upon productivity and maintaining excellence in its work force is it reasonable that schools be viewed as businesses and students as customers? And if this is the case, how will the roles of teachers (salespeople) and students (customers) change? Or will they change? What will this mean?” The one question that need not be asked is, “Do we have to change at all or can we further continue as we have been doing?” We all know that the option of “no change” is no option at all.

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It’s Got to Come From Within

Teachers are given tools; some tools are effective, while others are not so effective. At the end of the day, we need to realize that all our “tools” are not going to be worth a hill of beans if we do not have within us the ability to create the quality students we intend to produce. Find out how to bring out the “inner you” and more your students to the front of the pack!

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Building a Sense of Urgency

A sense of urgency is what is most lacking among teachers and students, as well. Please do not shoot the messenger. If it were there, you would not be reading this right now. It is time we faced our shortcomings in our quest to build a better mousetrap and see what we need to get the job done one and for all. If we can not do it better, well, I have an answer for that as well.

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Goals, Goals, and more Goals

Let me begin by making two points: first, that to move forward in your life one must set goals and second, that if properly created it is virtually impossible to have too many goals. We use them both consciously and unconsciously throughout each day.

It has often been quoted by some truly bright people that doing things over and over again the same way, and expecting a different outcome each time, is the definition of insanity. If that is true, then we as teachers must collectively fall under the net of insanity. Why? Because we (and do not think for one minute that I have not been guilty of this myself) finish a year – our first year or our twentieth year – receive our class results, and vow to “do better” next year. Then what happens? We come back and – again, I am not blaming anyone for this to happen – but we do almost what we did last year. So how do we break out of this cycle? Isn’t there a way, a method, to break free and increase productivity within our classrooms? You bet there is! Goal setting!

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I Know it’s Hard to Admit but…

Teaching is not for everyone, but you already knew it, didn’t you? I am not saying this in a negative sense either. But let’s face facts: we have all had jobs where we realize after a while that particular type of employment just was not for us.

Ten percent of teachers quit in their first year here in the US. By the end of the first five years, we have lost fifty percent! If we are losing more than 50% of new teachers in the first 5 years, then there can only be one of four reasons for this. Find out what these reasons are, and how to tell if you will be affected by these reasons.

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Motivation and Management vs. Teaching

When did we begin to change priorities from teaching students to managing or motivating them?

I am extremely familiar with programs that are created to motivate students with the intent of having them learn. While it is possible to motivate a student, or more correctly to create a sense of urgency for them to learn, I somehow lost track of when it became our job to be motivational speakers. When did it become our job to walk into a room and get them UP for the day, or get them “revved” to kick butt in their next 6 classes? I have a frightfully clear recollection of high school (not so much of middle school), and I distinctly remember the degree to which a teacher could get me “motivated” to succeed, or “pumped” about the next test. That degree, to be exact, was zero… nada. So what is our job and how do we do it to the best of our abilities?

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The Dos and Don’ts of Day 1 Introductions

You have heard them all before, but as they say you can never have too much of a good thing. Listen to, and exchange ideas that will help to tackle the school year by building a solid foundation for both you and you students to follow.

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Teachers Don’t Need Practice Management – or so they think

I have heard these responses when I bring up the subject of introducing practice management into schools. Teachers believe they do not need “practice management” for several reasons:

“First, we are not in business. We are professionals, but we work in a classroom and we do not have practices.” Wrong!

“Second, during the course of every school year we are provided “professional development” much of which covers a multitude of areas including: student behavior, lesson planning, and more. In other words, Professional Development instruction gives up all the “practice management” that we need.” Wrong!

“Third, we are teachers. We have gone through school to learn the necessary information needed to be knowledgeable enough to teach our students.” Wrong!

“Lastly, if we (especially as new teachers) need advice, we can easily enough go to the A.P.’s, or content supervisor, veteran teachers, or even mentors who are provided if we need any advice and direction. That is the only place we will receive valid advice to help improve ourselves. So we do not need a practice management “consultant.” Wrong and wrong!

Find out why this topic can be the most valuable lesson your teachers can ever learn.

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Market Yourself

Teachers are missing a key ingredient of any good business – marketing! As I have mentioned before, let us look at today’s troubling school numbers through the eyes of a scientist and explore solutions using the scientific method (as any robust business model would do.)

After all, who will sell our product (education!) if we don’t?

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When business is terrible many people think of ways to cut back and economize, but this is not what smart business people do. Wise businessmen and businesswomen realize that the only way to grow is to develop new ways to market their old products. They find one or two aspects of their business or product that are attractive at that moment. Even in down times there is always something about one’s business that is still to be desired by the general public. In other words, they need to reinvent themselves – a complete makeover – or close their doors. Contrary to certain arenas of public opinion, not all large businesses are too big to fail. There comes a time when every business needs to make the decision whether or not they should push forward or shutter their doors. Cars replaced the buggy. This is called progress.

That time is now for teachers. Find out how to “advertise” us!

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Be Fit!

Have you ever gone to the gym and seen a personal trainer who looks like he or she has been doing anything they could do for a Klondike Bar? No, this is not going to be an exercise class, but it is critical to be both mentally and physically fit when standing in front of students if we are ever going to win at this game of teaching.

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Make Yourself Invincible

Well, not actually invincible… more like making yourself indispensable.

I often speak with teachers in different schools and ask how they are doing. They often reply, “Too much work!” My reply is always the same, “no work, no job,” but I think Katharine Hepburn said it best when she said, “I don’t think that work ever really destroyed anybody. I think that lack of work destroys them a hell of a lot more.”

This is certainly a philosophy to be picked up and lived by; not just for teachers, but for everyone – students included! Hard work never killed anybody. But we need to realize that work by itself is often useless. We need to work smarter, not harder.

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Walking the Tightrope

Nobody said teaching was going to be easy, but then nobody actually told you how hard it was going to be either. Let’s be honest; nobody really told you the facts of teaching prior to getting into teaching with the exception of the usual comments: summers off, holidays off, short work day, pension, etc…. If your students are not at the top of their games, then there is still much to learn. Walking the tightrope is one of those things. It used to be easy for all of us to work inside our comfort zone, but the reality is that the administration will not allow that to continue any longer – and with good reason. Find out why breaking out of your “box” and learning to walk the tightrope is the only way to fly!

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The Phone Call Home

All of us go to dentists regularly, or at least from time to time. We go, we are treated, and we go home. Since there are at least six months between visits, the better offices will call a day or two before your next visit as a reminder. This is part of a typical business operation. The dentist or his receptionist will not come knocking on your door. They have too many patients and to contact as many patients as efficiently as possible, nothing beats the phone call. This is a lesson for all teachers.

Here are a few basic facts regarding phone calling a student’s home:

  • Calling home is the most underused, yet most valuable, tool in our arsenal
  • Parents are waiting for you to call when there is a problem (even if all you have is bad news!)
  • Calling home is an art that requires a deft touch, practice, skill and scripting
  • Sign up for this lecture and find out all the secrets of calling home
  • There is actually too much about calling home to put it all here!

Sign up for this lecture and find out all the secrets of calling home!

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Scripting again!

I cannot emphasize the importance of having each teacher scripted in a number of areas. From phone calls, to disruptive students, to parent/teacher conferences there are hundreds of “scripts” every teacher needs to have stashed in his or her bag of tricks. Find out what they are and why they are essential to the success of today’s teachers.

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Kung Fu Panda

This is not really going to be a lecture about the children’s movie Kung Fu Panda. It is more a story about Master Shi Fu – Kung Fu Panda’s sensei (highly respected teacher). For those of you who have not seen the movie (if that is at all possible) it is a tale of ancient China where there are several “super” kung fu heroes (is it possible there are kung fu heroes who are not super?) who have been trained for years by Master Shi Fu. He is the wisest of the wise. His students are a tigress, a snake, a monkey, crane and a praying mantis. A terrible foe is coming, and it is necessary to choose a “Dragon Warrior” to defeat this nemesis.

Ok, I am not going to ruin it for you, but needless to say this movie tells why each teacher needs to look at themselves in both a new and different way. Find out how!

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KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)

KISS… Keep It Simple Stupid, Keep It Super Simple, Keep It Short and Simple, Keep It Simple Silly, Keep It Simple Sweetheart, Keep It Simple and Straightforward, Keep It Stupidly Simple, Keep It Simple Sir, Keep It Simple Smarty, and my very favorite – Keep It Simple Students! This seminar tells you all about these!

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I wish I had said that!

How often is it that we hear a fellow teacher said something outside of our comfort zone that worked wonderfully? It solved the current issue and at the same time set the tone for resolving similar future issues before they start (because your classes already know what the outcome will be.) Easier said than done, especially if you are accustomed to saying and doing things in ways that are comfortable for you, but do not always get the desired results.

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Mo’ Money

This is probably one of my favorite topics. I will attempt try to change the thinking about one of the hottest topics in schools today. I will tackle the issue of, “how much is enough?” At what point can we comfortably say, “That is just the right amount of money (per child) for my success as a teacher to be guaranteed!” And once we answer that question, we will need to look into the question of, “Then why are other teachers achieving success when their students are being allocated only a fraction of what my kids are being allowed?”

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Role Playing

Nobody likes to role play – except me! The main difference between the role-playing you will learn during this time and the role playing you have done in the past will be that today’s dialogue is going to be scripted for you. I know your initial responses will be:

  • “I feel so silly, what can I learn from this?”
  • “Why do I need to do this? I have been speaking with students for years.”
  • “I’m a teacher; I know what to say to a student.”

I will confront those responses and hopefully teach you to love role-playing as much as I do. It’s critical if you are to achieve a stress-free, highly successful environment.

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Boot Camp Anyone?

School (especially high school) is boot camp. We get kids who are still hanging on their parents’ arm and expect them to learn how to walk on their own by the time they graduate. Find out how to make this job easier for both them and for us! (And don’t shy away from the title!)

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Fire me – I like worksheets. No, that not right. I do not like worksheets. I love worksheets. I believe worksheets can be the lifeblood of our students’ successes. Let me put this a little more bluntly. In school, or out, doing a single thing over and over will virtually guarantee success of almost any task – even if one is not the brightest bulb in the box. And believe me, you can ask any of my former high school classmates to demonstrate where I would have placed on the “bulb wattage” meter, and the room would have suddenly turned very, very dark.. This is not to say I did not start out great, because I did. I was a straight “A” student. But by senior year, my fortunes had turned. That is a true story.

So what happened? A lot of work needed to happen – and it did! I had lost a lot of time. So my first year of college needed to be filled with remedial work that I needed to do on my own. And this was not the mandatory “non-credit make-up” first year college work we hear so much of today. This was me, a book, and a pencil. I realized that the only way to get good at a subject was to practice, practice, and more practice. Yes, the same directions one might follow to get to Carnegie Hall.

This was when I learned about worksheets. I will show you what I learned.

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The Spoken Word

We have one supremely powerful tool in our box. It is what comes out of our mouths when we walk into a room. It can be unqualified, or it can turn off those in our “audience.” Find out how to make your words count.

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Why do projects fail?

When implementing a new procedure, plan or procedure, the intent must be to cover all bases and the plan must be used consistently to ensure its success. So why do most “plans” fail? We will cover your personal experiences, using the Scientific Method, and see if we can prevent failure from happening again. After all, that is what we want to happen, isn’t it?

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Where are you, Tony Robbins?

Tony Robbins is self-help author/coach as well as a hugely successful motivational speaker. He speaks all over the world with his message is one of ebullient optimism. He sees the finest in almost every opportunity. I have seen him on several occasions and have come away knowing I am a better person for having opened myself to listen and take note. Following my lackluster first year performance as a doctor I was sufficiently humbled so that I would accept a “new route” to take in my quest to become a successful doctor. Following my start in teaching, I once again went back to my motivational “roots” for inspiration – and I found it. There is the inspiration out there for teachers, as well. Let’s find it!

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