Ask Brad: What motivated you to keep going rejection after rejection when you were trying to find a teaching position?

Don't Give Up!

What made me never give up?

You did! Everybody did! Tourette Syndrome did! As you heard in the movie, I didn’t want Tourette Syndrome to win!  If I allowed it to win, then TS would always win.  For me it was about no excuses!  The first time you start making excuses for yourself, it is very difficult to stop.

There were too many people waiting for me to say I can’t do it because of Tourette Syndrome.  The more times I got rejected and denied a teaching opportunity, the more it made me what to get that job.  I knew I could do it, I just needed to find one person that believed in me too.  By my 25th interview, I had the confidence with my interview skills.  I knew what the principals were going to ask before they even asked it.  My answers were ready to go and I wanted that job.

Many people have obstacles that are placed in front of them throughout their life.  This was a pivotal moment for me.  My mom kept saying “Come back to St. Louis because you know people here.”  My dad said “To go be a substitute teacher and then I would eventually get the job.”  But that’s not what I wanted.  I couldn’t give in.  By my 25th interview I wanted that teaching position so bad. And then it happened where I was finally hired as a 2nd grade teacher.

So, what can I tell others who are looking for a job and have some sort of disability or weakness in life:

  1. Don’t give up!
  2. Don’t make excuses!
  3. Be motivated to prove others wrong when they doubt you!
  4. Set high expectations and get to that mark!
  5. Keep that positive attitude.  Once it becomes negative, it is hard to go back!
  6. If you want something bad enough, sometimes you really have to work hard at getting it!
  7. Don’t look for self pity and for other to feel sorry for you.  It won’t get you your job or the goal you have set out for any faster.  Stay strong.
  8. Read my book, Front of the Class, or see the movie! (Of course I’m adding this.  My success story is now in book and movie form so I can share my story with others so they can see that if Brad Cohen can do it, then so can they!)

What advice can you give others to help them achieve their goals? Have you struggled to achieve something that took you a while to get?

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"Brad Cohen is a walking billboard for the idea of living positively. He is like a cold drink on a hot day--refreshing, energizing, and likely to put a smile on your face."
Tim Shriver - Chairman of Special Olympics

"I have observed the magic of Brad Cohen in the classroom. He has turned Tourette Syndrome into an asset, and his life into inspiration."
Senator Johnny Isakson, Georgia

"Brad Cohen's story is a triumph of hope, determination, will and relentless good humor."
Peter J. Hollenbeck, Ph.D., Professor and
Associate Head of Biological Sciences,
Purdue University

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