Lucian T. Durso has taken his three decades of experience as an educator and incorporated it into a guide for others. Earlier this year, Durso, a teacher and coach in the Westbury School District for the past 30 years, published Open the Book, A Teacher's Guide to Captivating the Most Difficult Crowd. In the 120-page "guide" Durso reveals his most eccentric, unconventional and efficient solutions for teachers, school personnel and aspiring educators struggling to influence today's youth.
Lucian T. Durso addresses attendees at his recent book signing in Huntington.
"You can image over a 30-year period many techniques have come and gone; some that worked and some that did not," Durso states in the book's introduction. "Techniques that work in the learning process - tried and true -should be shared. The purpose of this book is to do just that. I hope that sharing my experiences will help teachers, parents, administrators and students become more productive in their endeavors."
He continued, stating that today's educators must be "a keg of knowledge, an entertainer, a mentor, a big brother, a public relations expert, a psychologist and the emcee of a show ... The show is the lesson, the performer is the teacher and the audience is the students. Wow, what a concept! That's what a good teacher has to be and that is what it is about today."
Durso said he first got the idea to write the book years ago but it wasn't until about two years ago that he actually set out to do it. According to the Commack resident and married father of three, the goal of the book is to "open up a dialogue with educators, parents, administrators, public officials and any one else concerning the education of the next generation."
Durso told The Westbury Times that he believes " ... schools will do much better when everyone is on the same page" and he hopes Open the Book will "give new teachers and parents a heads-up of what works."
Overall, Durso said he wants to see today's school system back on top. "Our country is listed near the bottom in math and science compared to other nations [and] our school system has to get back the discipline it had years ago," he said. "There are too many excuses today why our young people cannot function at a higher level of learning. The name of the book says it all. To learn you must concentrate, open the book and study!"
A Brooklyn native, Durso graduated from Fort Hamilton High School before going on to earn a bachelor of arts from Queens College and a master of arts from Hofstra University. He began his teaching career at the YMCA, working out of centers in Hempstead, East Rockaway, Huntington and Glen Cove. Prior to joining the Westbury School District in the late 1970s, Durso owned and directed day care centers.
According to the author, coach and educator, there isn't just one particular student or situation that sticks out in his mind but rather several who have left an impression. "Some former students are on the board of education, [which] makes a teacher feel like he or she can make a difference in a young person's life. It is always a pleasure when old students come back and talk about some positive experience they had. Teaching is a great job," he said, adding that his advice for success is "work, work and work - with a little fun and games in between."
Currently Durso is already working on a second book focusing on the United States prison system and how it can be improved. He is a firm believer that if "we can make a better impact on our youth at an early age, maybe we can reduce some of these large numbers of young men and women in jail."
Open the Book can be purchased online at Amazon.com, Tatepublishing.com or BarnesandNoble.com and can be ordered at any bookstore.