Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Experiences with the Center for Teacher Effectiveness

I wanted to post an update on my experience and feeling toward CTE.  I presume you found this rather obscure blog because you're researching Time To Teach and the Center for Teacher Effectiveness.  Good.

It's wise to go into things with your eyes open.  I was skeptical at first. In fact I'm skeptical by nature and teach intense information fluency skills as part of my online teaching work.  I examine online information, look for bias, and have a highly developed BS detector.

I recall when I first got interested in CTE.  I searched and didn't find much. These days CTE has a slightly higher online presence, but it remains a very face to face, person to person organization. There's nothing wrong with that. I was pulled in by the quality of communication and information I got from CTE. Rick has a great business plan and amazing materials. Access to that information and the training it takes to help teachers get time to teach by gaining respectful control of their classrooms  is what it's all about. That's what the training delivers. If you're a dynamic teacher ready market yourself the CTE way, you'll do well.

I'm still associated with the Center for Teacher Effectiveness.  I still endorse their program and back the integrity of the people working with Rick Dahlgren.  Rick is an amazing teacher with a powerful, experience based approach that will create a safe, respect based, learning environment.

I personally think every classroom teacher and all administrators will benefit from this training.  Our schools would be better places to learn if all new teachers were trained in the methods taught by the Center for Teacher Effectiveness.  It took me 25 years of classroom teaching to learn what Rick puts into his materials.

So why am I not actively making presentations at conferences and providing face to face training in schools? CTE is not particularly visible on the web.  They work in the classroom face to face.  I now make my living completely by teaching online and doing e-learning consulting working from my home office.  IF I were willing to go on the road and put the energy needed into marketing this program I have no doubt I could make a good income doing work I am proud of.  Becoming an active associate is one of my back up plans if I need to diversify my career.  At the moment being at home and online is what I love to do!

Here' a quotation from a recent associates newsletter I got from the center that shows the way Rick coaches.

"The CTE Way - Amazing Trainings!!!

Dear Dennis,

We hope this correspondence finds you in good health and happiness.

Two of your Time To Teach colleagues recently concluded trainings and received some of the best reviews we have ever seen.  They are Chad Houck and Roger Miller.  I am so proud of them and wanted to share what the superintendent and teachers said about their Time To Teach training.  But, before I do, let me say that we encountered a shipping problem and the books did not make it to the training!   Even with this - which is not good - they totally ruled the day.  Here is what was said:

"I believe we just don't say thanks enough and I know from first hand experience that you rarely receive positive feedback from services provided to educators.  Let me buck that trend and tell you that Chad Houcks presentation to our middle school staff was a home run!

Our middle school needed a "cultural resuscitation" this year with test scores going down and discipline and absences going up....things needed a change.  With a change in administration, I told the new principal that I had a day long workshop planned before school starts and that he would thank me after it was over.

Sure enough, the teachers comments back to us were amazing, Chad was passionate about his material.  He had credibility as a high school administrator and a dad who implemented Time to Teach with his own kids.

Your materials are great, the presenter was even better.

My only feedback is to make sure materials are in the hands of the district well before the training.  Chad had to copy off the workbook to make the workshop happen.  I am not sure that we have what we ordered yet?

Thanks again for being part of the journey this middle school is on.  I will recommend to other superintendents the need for your program in their schools.


Kevin Silberberg Ed.D
Superintendent Standard School District 
And, from Roger Miller's training:

Thank you so much for coming to Elm Grove.   Your "Time to Teach" training was truly phenomenal.  Word has already gotten to the Board Office about how great the Teacher Academy was.  Numerous teachers expressed how much they enjoyed and commented that is was the best staff development ever.  I received emails Friday evening thanking me for bringing you to Elm Grove.  Here are some quotes:

"Today's Teacher Academy was absolutely awesome. The message was so clear: You are in the wrong profession if you don't LOVE children....haven't felt this happy and motivated in 37 years. Thanks, boss!"

"I want you to know that today's staff development was truly inspiring and beneficial. I'm excited to start the new year. We have several new changes with our staff, which should prove very positive. I believe that when our ENTIRE staff implements these strategies, we will achieve more success than ever! Thank for getting Mr. Miller to our school for a wonderful staff development session and for helping our staff get off to a positive start. I hope you will see all members participating and enjoying the successes."

"Best training in my 31 years!"

I was also told that it was posted of Facebook as "The best Teacher Academy ever."  The Deputy Superintendent was told by a teacher over the weekend that is was the best.  I have also told the Deputy Superintendent and the head of Student Services that this needs to be implemented county wide.  Maybe I will get you some more work.

You are a great presenter and we can tell that you truly care about Time to Teach.  We all enjoyed your enthusiasm and personal stories.  My staff continues to cry and laugh with you.

Hope to see you again soon.  If you are ever back in the Northern Panhandle make sure you stop in.

Thank you!


Richard B. Dunlevy

We are so lucky to be associated with Chad and Roger and all of you who represent us.   

Thank you ALL so much!  I have so many of these from many of YOU, but these just came in in the last few hours and I had to share them with you.   

Rick Dahlgren 


I hope this information helps you on your way! 


Dennis O'Connor
Program Advisor
E-Learning & Online TeachingSchool of Education
Online Professional Development
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Wisconsin's Polytechnic University
530-318-1145 (Cell)
Skype: wiredinstructor2


Greg Ormson said...

Dennis -
Your blog is correct, I am researching TTT to analyze its claims and think about it.
I'd love to talk with you, if possible. If you want to comment back, I could call.
FYI ... I see you work at STOUT. Menomonie is my hometown!
Now, I live in Hawaii and am a semi-retired instructor from the Wisconsin Technical College system. If you care to help me evaluate TTT in more detail, my email is

I'd be happy to call you anytime.

Thank you.

Dennis Thomas O'Connor said...

Greg, I enjoyed talking with you. I wish you the best with CTE.

They are the real deal. I'm glad I could give you an insider's view of how the program operates.


Carol Cervantes said...

I am sure that CTE is a great company and they probably do give great trainings, something that is truly needed in the schools. The only thing I feel that it makes it a scam is that in order for a educator to work for the company you would need to pay $675.00 to be trained. Now I have a problem with this because with any company that you work for the employee never needs to pay for trainings. I also understand that we are independent contractors and that this is looked at as a business but CTE will be making a profit from our sells because they will be setting us up with the schools, selling the program to the schools and the materials. So we are just trainers administrating their program to the teachers and schools. Because of this and because CTE will be making a profit then why should the trainers pay for a training program that will only generate a training fee paid to us by CTE. This is where I think it is a scam. What if we don't get any schools, what if we are the ones who have to hustle to get the schools while CTE gives them the program. There is alot of if's and if we didn't have to pay for the trainings then I would have a different opinion.

Dennis in your research did you come across anyone who has paid for the program and is currently not working the program?

Looking forward to hearing from you



Dennis Thomas O'Connor said...

Carole, I take issue with your use of the red hot word scam when it comes to paying for training. There's nothing dishonest going on. You know about the costs up front.

If you want to make money with CTE you have to be a trained in their methods. That training costs time and money (for them and for the person being trained.)

So no scam, just an upfront cost. If you were opening a franchise donut shop would you expect to be put into the business without any up front costs?


Carl Kaplan said...

Hi Dennis. This sounds very interesting, but I am curious about your experience with the fact that the site uses the word "commission". Are the trainers expected to do the sales, or are they being used to deliver the training once a "sale" has been made?

Rebecca H said...

Greetings Dennis - I ditto Greg above. I am researching TTT and appreciate your insight. I, too, am wondering if you would be open to discussing the company, their strategies and the outlook. Dr. Joanna Faulk just posted a training opportunity in my area and I would LOVE to return to working directly with teachers after a much too long absence.

Thank you -


Derrel Kent said...

I agree with Carol but also think scam is not the right term. What everyone should know if they decide to become a time to teach trainer is that TTT makes a large potion of their income off of training trainers and selling them materials. This is not wrong, but they know that probably 90 percent will not remain active after a year or two. They convinced me to go to the training saying there was a huge market for this training in schools. I contacted hundreds of schools and not one was interested. Maybe I'm a lousy sales person, but that is the point. It is really a sales position. You have to market yourself aggressively to have any kind of success and it is still iffy.
By the way, there are several other programs very similar to TTT and that is why it is a tough sell to schools.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this blog and answering individual questions.

I am still unsure if CTE sets up the sites for my potential presentations, or I would have to "sell it" to each campus.

Thank you,

Sandy Hutson

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this post and answering questions.

I have one more question. Does CTE set up the trainings I will present or do I have to "sell it" to each school district and/or campus?

I've seen websites set up by certified trainers that indicates to me that I have to sell my services.

Thank you,

Sandy Hutson

Dennis Thomas O'Connor said...

I see lots of questions about the sales aspects of this work.

Yes you are selling a product. You sell the training and the teaching materials needed to put the program into practice.

CTE will help you find leads. The primary way to find customers for the training is to present at Education oriented conferences. They will train you to do the presentations and in how to sell the materials at the end of your presentations.

The primary way you'll get training jobs is to go out there and meet people. You've got to talk with teachers. You've got to show what you know. You won't get far if you rely on email lists or Social Media Ads. Teaching is a person to person experience. You do that face to face, and if you have the skill set you can do that in online classes.

However selling CTE training will always be a face to face, real world, look em in the eye experience.

The materials are excellent. They are written for teachers and by teachers. If you believe in the product it is easy to sell.

Notice I say 'sell' a lot. That's what a trainer/consultant does. They sell the training and then they deliver the training.

Since you're a freelancer you have to be an entrepreneur and build a business.

If you just want to do training/teaching for a living, look for a school or college based job. If you want the freedom and challenge of running your own business, a business that can help teachers teach and kids learn, CTE is one way to go.

It's been a long time since I took the training. I can't speak to how CTE operates now. Joanna Faulk was my main contact and she's still with the company.

Everything I could tell anyone about CTE is here in the blog. I appreciate that folks want to talk to someone, but since I'm not an active CTE trainer, I'm probably not the right guy to talk with.

Moira MacG said...

This is what's most troubling about the CTE process. Nowhere -- not in the video, not in written materials, not on the Web -- does CTE admit that the trainers are indeed responsible for all sales. The fact that so many teachers leave this organization after just a couple of years is an indication of the challenges with selling this product. And it is a product. Therefore, the good pay they tout - "$1200 per day!" -- isn't at all $1200. If you have to sell every training, you will spend at least 40 hours capturing just one (I have been a training consultant for 20 years, so I know). So your hourly rate has just plummeted to $30 before you even do the training. The more I learned about this, the more I realized it's not much different from selling magazines door-to-door. If you're a good trainer, you can find trainings that you can deliver and be paid the honest $1200 per day (my current rate is $1500, and I am very busy). And I do almost no marketing or sales. The companies I work with do that. I am treated like the professional I am.

Traveler said...

I appreciate all the comments as well as the questions that have been posted in relation to the legitimacy of CTE business

I am also wondering -and I would greatly appreciate- if you can share some leads about training opportunities that you mentioned in your post.

I can be contacted at Thanks

kikitam00 said...

Moira could you tell me the name of the company you work for please?

Mr.Mac said...

I am more interested to hear about what you are doing Moira Sounds like you represent and train for several companies.