Set your DVR’s now for an encore presentation of Front of the Class on CBS, Saturday, February 6th at 8pm (est). Please be sure to spread the word to friends and family members. This is one movie you will not want to miss. And if you have already seen it once, you know you’ll want to see it again.
If you have Tourette syndrome or you know someone who faces a challenge in life, this is a movie that could change your life. Teachers, don’t miss this movie! If you don’t believe me, that’s ok. I’m not bias. But this is my new favorite movie of all time!
If you do miss it or you’re interested in owning a copy of the DVD, you can find it in your local Hallmark store or feel free to buy an autograph copy from my website. Click here to learn more.
To learn more about the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation, visit our new website: www.bradcohentourettefoundation.com
As always, I appreciate the support!
My movie would have never happened if it wasn’t for Tim Shriver, CEO for the Special Olympics. Tim is the Executive Producer of Front of the Class. We met years ago during a speaking engagement in Connecticut. Click here for a great article about when Tim Shriver and I first met at the event. Tim is a great guy and Nancy and I have really enjoyed getting to know him and his family.
I know this has been a difficult month for Tim and his family as he lost both his mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and his uncle, Ted Kennedy. Eunice was a pioneer in her own right as she was not only the sister to President John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy but also the founder of the Special Olympics. Although many people knew her as the wife of Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corp, Eunice did so much for this country and people as a whole. She stepped out into the world and told people it was ok to be different. We will no longer lock people up and hide them away if they are different. We will now appreciate differences and focus on one’s strengths, not their weaknesses. What started out a Camp Shriver in her backyard, eventually because what is now known as the Special Olympics which makes a difference for so many people.
Ted Kennedy made a difference also. It doesn’t matter what political background you come from, you must respect Ted for his passion and always believing in our country. The legacy he leaves behind is one that many Congressman live for.
It is on this day that I thank them for being the people they were…..people of passion and compassion for people who were a little different. And I think about Tim and his family during these tough times.
Feel free to share how people like Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Ted Kennedy have impacted your life in some way on my BLOG.
Change is never easy, in matter of fact it is one of the hardest things to do. In order for someone to truly change, they need to be motivated. But motivated by what?
That’s my challenge today! Is it possible for me to make others think about what changes they need to make in their own life? I guess I first need to find a focus and that focus will be for teacher. It doesn’t matter if you have been teaching for 1 year and are still new to the profession or if you are a 30 year veteran who is about to retire.
Front of the Class reminded me that teachers can change! After the movie aired on CBS, I received thousands of emails. Many of them were from teachers saying “Thank You” for reminding them the impact they have on children in the classroom. Many teachers like me get so caught up in the paperwork, politics, parent needs, and the curriculum that we sometimes forget why were became teachers. It is for the children! Students must come first!
I know I wanted to be that teacher that I never had. I wanted to make a difference in our schools and help all students believe in themselves and help them learn to the best they can be. But often times we may lose perspective because of high stakes testing during this age of accountability. I’m standing up now and reminding teachers not to forget why they became a teacher.
I also remind teachers that it is never too late to change the way you work in your classroom. Don’t be afraid of change, befriend change! Change can be one of the best things you can do for your students. As teachers, we must be able to change our instruction in the classroom as education changes in society. As the standards change and become more rigorous, so must our teaching practices.
If I was truly sick and had cancer or a chronic disease, would I want my doctor to treat me the same way they treated patients 25 years ago. NO, NO, NO! I would want the latest and greatest that medicine has to offer. Just like the medical field, the education field is changing too. Research has been going on to show how kids learn best and it is important to follow the research in order to give our student the best education has to offer.
Many viewers and reader of my story said Front of the Class reminded them that they need to be a little more patient, a little more aware of what life is like for kids who have challenges in the classroom. Some challenges can be seen by others, but many challenges are not. As teachers, we must learn to communicate with our students and listen to their voice. We need to hear how they learn best. We need to know what they need in the classroom. We need to see that maybe, it is not the child who needs to change, but it is us as teachers who need to do the changing.
I remember hearing once that when I teach in my classroom, only 1/3 of my class learns the same way I do. Most teachers teach the same way they learn. That means we are probably not hitting 2/3 of our class in the most effective way. So, what changes do we as teachers need to make?
Listen to everyone. Listen to the researchers. Listen to moms. Listen to the dads. Listen to administrators. Listen to the new teachers. Listen to the veteran teachers. Listen to my story where I share with others what it was like to grow up being different and all I wanted was to be treated like everyone else. Listen to your students. Because that is who we are here for.
In the “real” world, you would listen to your clients. If you didn’t, they may fire you or just leave and go somewhere else. They may actually give you some sort of advice that would help you in the field or help themselves. In the field of education we need to listen to our students or else we will fail them. It is our job as teachers to make a difference in the lives of every single student we work with. What better way to make a positive change in the life of a child then to just sit back one day and listen.
What changes will you make this year? Will you make these changes for one day or for the rest of your career? I guess it all depends if you are listening to your students.
What’s your New Year’s Resolution?Diet? Exercise? Not watching so much TV? For me, I always found making a New Year’s Resolution kind of funny, because most people jump into their “new” routine and by the end of January or February, they’re back to their “old” routine again. Instead of making a resolution this year, I challenge you to Not Allow “IT” To Win.
Neither Jimmy Wolk or Dominic Scott Kay had Tourette Syndrome in real life. They are both actors. They both did an amazing job learning about my tics. The director video taped me before they started shooting the film as I talked about my Tourette’s. I explained all the tics I’ve had and how and when I do them. I explained that their is a method behind the madness with TS and that each tic has its own reason behind it. They also watch old video tapes of me growing up and during my first year of teaching. In order to assure the tics were consistent throughout the movie as well as between Jimmy and Dominic, they had a dialect coach to work with them the entire time. Mary MacDonald, also the voice of on-star and other voice-overs, was their coach. She did an amazing job working with them for over 5 weeks. Both Jimmy and Dominic said they were worn out after each day of shooting the film because of all the tics they did. They told me they could get a massage on set whenever they wanted.
How did you think Jimmy and Dominic did acting as a Touretter?
- Keep checking back as I’ll list the appearances on TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine, etc that promote the movie.
- The View- Patricia Heaton will be a guest on Tuesday, December 2nd http://abc.go.com/daytime/theview/index
- Rachel Ray- Patricia Heaton will be a guest on Dec. 5th www.rachaelrayshow.com
- Entertainment Tonight- Patricia Heaton will be a guest the week of Dec. 1st www.etonline.com
- Great Day St. Louis-CBS Ellen, Brad’s mother, will be a guest the on December 1st www.greatdaystlouis.com
B98.5 Steve and Vikki Show (Atlanta)- Brad and Patricia Heaton will be guests during the week of December 1st- www.b985.com (listen online)
- WSB 750 Scott Slade Show (Atlanta)- Brad will be a guest the week of Dec. 1st www.wsbradio.com (listen online)
The Early Show- Patricia Heaton will be a guest on Tuesday, December 2nd around 8:00-8:30 EST http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/earlyshow/main500202.shtml
Atlanta Journal Constitution- Thursday December 4th
St. Louis Post Dispatch- Saturday or Sunday December 6th or 7th
Kansas City Star
Marietta Daily Journal
People Magazine (ad on page 41) December 8th issue
Education Week December issue
I’m pleased to announce that Front of the Class is now available in paperback. Thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin you’ll find Front of the Class in stores across America. The release comes 2 weeks before the airing of Front of the Class as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on CBS on December 7th. In the book you’ll find a new epilogue and a few more pictures. Grab the book now as I hear it has a great ending. It could be a great holiday gift for someone you know.
I know my agent is still shopping around the book for other rights so if you’re interested, please contact her: Sharlene Martin, Martin Literary Management
It is time to introduce you to me, or shall I say Jimmy Wolk, who plays me in Front of the Class. Jimmy is a great person and an even better guy. He’s got a great personality and gets along with everyone. I know the people on the set took a liking to Jimmy from the beginning. We really have a lot in common. This is Jimmy’s first big role and something tells me you’ll be seeing a lot more of him. I first learned about Jimmy during casting when the producers and directors said they felt they had someone special to play me. He was not a big name in the industry, but they kept saying “This guy can act!” They took a risk and the rest was history.
Jimmy first had to learn about not only me and my personality, but also about Tourette Syndrome. I was recorded on video and explained to Jimmy that there is a method behind the madness with the Tourette’s. That each tic has its own personality. We wanted to make sure that the tics in the film came across naturally, almost unconsciously. We didn’t want it to be forced. Jimmy learned and then he acted. And he did a great job.
When I first arrived in Shreveport on set, people thought I was Jimmy, but then they realized it was the “real” Brad Cohen and they quickly said “Wow, Jimmy really has Brad down nicely.” Our tics were identical. Jimmy’s positive energy came across throughout the entire movie. I’m honored to have Jimmy play me in the movie. As I told Jimmy, this movie is about the underdog getting a chance and becoming successful. Similarly, Jimmy was the underdog for the part as many other big name people were up for it, but the directors and producers took a risk on Jimmy and he is about to shock the world. Thank to Hallmark Hall of Fame for taking the risk and giving Jimmy his first gig. I’d say he did a heck of a job! Cheers