Don’t let a bad experience or a setback define who you are or what you are doing. Try to remain positive and focus on the successes you have had and use the mistakes to help make improvements both professionally and personally.”
Christopher “Chris” Masullo was born and raised in Nutley NJ. His first job was working in the family owned hardware store while he was still in high school. Chris went on to college and as a side business; he started tutoring family members, which then expanded to the neighborhood kids. Before you knew it, word had traveled throughout the town that Chris had a knack for teaching math. Chris has won several awards including math competitions and robotics competitions. Chris is an accomplished author, having articles in distance education journals, mathematics education journals, educational leadership journals, and had recently published a children’s adventure book about computers. Chris enjoys teaching at the college level and has run several successful courses in algebra and statistics at the local colleges. Chris has also developed a teacher portfolio website where teachers can upload their accomplishments and share information with other teachers all over the country. Presently Chris is a technology facilitator and college mathematics professor in northern NJ.
Where did the idea for Class Act Teachers come from?
The idea for my website came from seeing how difficult it was to land a job in education between the economy and politics. I wanted a way to stand apart from other candidates so I made a video presentation of my work and saved it to a flash drive. I then started handing out the flash drive along with my resume. I decided to share this idea with other teachers by providing them a portal for submitting samples of their work. I came up with this idea about 4 years ago while looking for a career change.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day for me is spent at the elementary level teaching technology to the younger grades and advanced mathematics to the middle grades. Evenings are spent at the local colleges teaching college algebra and statistics to young adults. I have a very low tech way of staying organized – I keep a paper calendar in my back pack at all times always updating it with pencil and I write daily “things to do” on my post-it note pad.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas for me can spawn from any source, sometimes from watching a TV commercial, or listening to the radio while driving to work. As soon as I get a chance, I write the ideas down along with an illustration so that I can remember it. I will share it with certain individuals whose opinions I have come to respect.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One of the trends in teaching that really excite me now is STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and career and technical education. This is where the future of jobs lies and I feel proud to be an important part of getting students prepared for their future careers.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that has made me more productive is my persistence. I learned this early on in elementary school being one of the youngest kids in my class. I always felt I had to work harder to keep up with the others. To this day I remain persistent and because of this I have recently started a robotics program for elementary and middle school students in my hometown.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The best and worst job I ever had was working at the hardware store. I learned the value of a dollar and what it meant to put in an honest day’s work. It was the worst job because of the conditions of working in a store that was too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, and in the heart of a city whose economics was changing to the point where they no longer needed a local mom and pop hardware shop. The negative aspects of this job taught me the value of education in becoming a professional and excelling in my career.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I was to start again, the one thing I would do differently is to not worry so much. Worrying has gotten me nowhere and caused me anxiety and wasted a lot of time. In the end, most of the things I worried about worked out for the better anyway. If I could give my former self a piece of advice, it would be to take a deep breath and just relax. You will make your best decisions when you have a clear head.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would recommend not letting a bad experience or a setback define who you are or what you are doing. Try to remain positive and focus on the successes you have had and use the mistakes to help make improvements both professionally and personally.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
My tutoring business grew on its own through word of mouth of the parents of my clients. The one strategy that would sum up the growth of my business is by simply doing a good job and treating each customer as if they were your boss and your next job depended on their critique.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure in my business was when I took on too many jobs and was spreading myself to thin. I was not able to focus and do a quality job on any one of them. I learned to budget my time and finances better so I would not have to over extend myself and I could focus on the ones that were really important to me.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Differentiated instruction is a big part of how we teach today but it can be very difficult and time consuming to custom tailor learning materials for all the different levels of students on the same topic. A company that could generate the learning materials and content for teachers would make teaching much easier.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was purchasing the domain of ClassActTeachers.com. I am going to create this website to help teachers collaborate with each other and promote themselves.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use Google classroom to create, store, and share content with my classes. I also use Class Craft to make the learning more entertaining and assist with classroom management by using a reward system. In addition, I use Blackboard at the college level to post class assignments and for its grading system.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The book I recommend is Mind Set by John Naisbitt. In his book the author uses the study of past businesses, sciences, and politics to form a trend line and then uses that to help the reader make predictions about the future. He has made several accurate observations of our fast-paced society.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.