Dr. Christopher “Chris” Masullo hails from a small town called Nutley in the state of NJ. He started out working for his father in the family-owned hardware store. He realized he had a knack for math and computers, and began tutoring students in the neighborhood and around town. He became a substitute teacher while pursuing a degree in mathematics. With a desire to further his education he continued to get his master’s degree in administration and a doctorate degree in instructional technology.
One of Chris’s accomplishments in teaching mathematics includes generating presentations for teachers which have been sold throughout the United States. Chris has also trained students and math teams that have gone on to win mathematics competitions at the local and state levels.
Chris has designed numerous original projects for students in grades K-12 incorporating mathematics and technology. He has a passion for the STEM sciences. His robotics team placed First Place in the county, and he also received first place for his robotics bridge design. He is an accomplished author with several publications in mathematics, technology, and education as well as a children’s adventure book. His most recent venture is designing a robotics program for elementary and middle school students in his home town. Chris is also working on a digital portfolio website for teachers called ClassAct Teachers.com. Here teachers can create a profile for free. They can post their resumes and sample lesson plans, photos, and videos of their work, plus share their accomplishments with other teachers. It is Chris’s hope that this website will help teachers promote themselves and get recognized for the great jobs they do.
Chris is currently a technology facilitator and college professor.
Was teaching something you always longed for? What inspired you to become a teacher?
Math was always one of my favorite subjects. It gave me a sense of accomplishment when I would solve a problem correctly. I remember coming home after school, grabbing a snack, turning on the stereo, and doing my homework, putting math first.
My mother inspired me to become a teacher. It was hard work, but I remember the enjoyment she received when her former students would come back to visit and thank her for helping them years ago.
What was your field of study?
My field of study was primarily mathematics, but I also enjoyed computers and technology. Math came easy for me, while the STEM sciences taught me how to integrate all fields. I balance mathematics and computer technology at school for kindergarten through middle school. Evenings are spent at the colleges helping young adults in math.
What is your preferred method of teaching? Describe your philosophy of teaching.
I prefer to make learning meaningful by providing students with real-world examples so they can see the practical applications of what they are learning. I use every possible method of teaching including standard lecture, interactive videos and presentations, guided practice, independent practice, and project-based learning.
In order to be an outstanding teacher in the 21st century, the instructor must be a lifelong learner willing to continue his/her own education and always look to improve upon his/her skills. The teacher should be dedicated to their craft and discipline, and at the same time be open-minded enough to understand how to meet the needs of today’s learner. The teacher should also be willing to go beyond the typical classroom duties and become involved in school-related programs and activities.
How do you encourage creativity in the classroom?
In the classroom, I like to get the kids excited about learning. I use games, Google Classroom, as well as Classcraft. I also give out mini prizes for the kids that complete the assignments with the most creativity and enthusiasm.
What is your approach when dealing with students in challenging situations?
I try to reason with the student and explain that we are all a part of the same team, with the same goals. This sometimes includes getting the parents of the student involved, as we are all stakeholders in the student’s success.
How do you use technology in your classroom?
As teachers, we must keep current with the trends in technology and education and be aware of its ever-evolving nature. We must recognize the needs of the students and decide how to best use the available technology to meet those needs. As a teacher of computers and mathematics, I have had two decades to hone my skills as both a computer user and instructor. I am in constant contact with the classroom teachers and I am always looking for new ways to tie the computer skills to those being taught in the classroom environment.
What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
My favorite subject is math, but I also enjoy the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs because of the way they interrelate. I enjoy researching and creating projects that span across the disciplines and tie the branches of stem together.
How do you offer support for students that are not performing as well as they should?
I am always available for extra help. I sometimes encourage some of the more advanced students to assist a student who may be struggling, and I make use of in class support teachers and classroom aides, as well as differentiated learning groups.
What was the most satisfying moment of your teaching career and why?
I really enjoy the summer enrichment programs because they allow me the creative freedom to do projects, labs, and experiments that I normally would not be able to do during the normal school year.
Are you one of those teachers who believe in regularly assigning homework to students or do you prefer to only assign homework as and when necessary and why?
As a teacher of a major subject I believe math homework needs to be assigned every night. In order to be competitive not only on high stakes testing but in future careers our 21st century learners must have every possible advantage including a solid math background.
Have you written any books and if yes, can you tell us more about that?
I have written several articles in math, technology, and education that have been published in Quarterly Review in Distance Education, Journal of Distance Education, and Education Weekly. I have also written a Children’s book called “Are You My Motherboard” which is about a boy’s journey to build his own computer. Since computers were another one of my first loves besides math, this was an easy decision and a pleasure to write. The idea for my website ClassActTeachers.com came from 4 years of frustration sending out resumes in a digital format. It soon came to my attention that there was no way to distinguish one’s self from the rest of the pile. I made a video of my work, edited it, and started mailing it out with my resume. It was getting some attention out there so I wanted to help other teachers benefit from this format. The idea for my website ClassActTeachers.com came from 4 years of frustration sending out resumes in a digital format.
What are your hobbies? Are they related to your profession in any way?
I have many hobbies. I enjoy building Lego sets which goes along with being a STEM educator. I’ll try to add a motor to something to make it “robotic like”. I also enjoy boating and have a small Bayliner that I take out on the bay in the summer. I have two cats which also keep me busy not to mention a fiancée that enjoys the same hobbies as myself. We also go to toy and collectible shows and model train shows.
How do you address a wide range of skills and learning abilities in your classroom?
I first identify the students’ strengths as well as the areas in need of improvement. I accomplish this through formal assessment and routine classwork. I also approach lessons from different directions by giving written and auditory cues, as well as incorporating multi-media technology to capture the attention of visual learners.