Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur Ward





I think Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday.  No gifts to buy, no major decorating required, just preparation of wonderful good food with lots of family and friends.  Most of all, I like the idea of setting aside a special holiday to celebrate being thankful.  But then, I am all about gratitude.

If you listen to people around you, you will hear plenty of complaining.  People complain about traffic and work, relationships and money, time and anything else they can think of.  I find listening to complaints really drags me down. Although I am not a Pollyanna, I try to look on the bright side. 

To be honest, on this Thanksgiving, I am quite sad.  One of my best friends died last week, and the two of us have been going out together for Thanksgiving dinner for years, since my husband died.  I am grieving, but I am thankful for the years we had together, and thankful to be driving to Mercer to be with my brother and his family, where I am always welcomed. I miss my late husband terribly, along with the two 25 pound turkeys we used to make for a throng of family and friends every year.  Although I am sad, I am grateful that we had such a loving relationship and welcoming home that we made so many people feel included and loved for 30 years.  

This Thanksgiving, may I suggest that you look around you and focus on all that is good in your life?  Be thankful for the small things that really aren't so small: a roof over your head, food on the table, people who love you, a warm bed to sleep in each night, a job to make money and provide service for others.  Those essentials are denied to many people who live in this world.  When you look at the world through grateful eyes, you will see your blessings multiplied.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Please share your thankful thoughts with others around you, and make 2017 Thanksgiving a day of spoken and shared blessings.  .  


As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 







Sunday, November 19, 2017

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams



Perhaps you have noticed that obituaries always include the final paragraph that reads "Mr.___ was preceded in death by . . ."  followed by the sentence that says "Survivors include  . . . "  

A really good friend of 40 years, my golf buddy, and former colleague died on November 12.  Campbell Witherspoon, Jr. was a gentle soul who loved life, people, conversation, and most of all, education.  Through the many years he worked at various districts, Cam was a coach, teacher, headmaster, department head, assistant principal, principal, curriculum coordinator, gifted and talented coordinator. He was also a mentor to scores of new teachers and a caring adult and great role model to thousands of students. 

Sadly, in his obituary, the teachers and former students are not listed as his survivors, because they are not his kin. But when I reflect upon his life as an educator (we were colleagues for 25 of those years), indeed, he was a different kind of relative.  Cam was like a brother to some, a father to others, and near the end of his career, a wise grandfather to many.  He taught all the things he learned that somehow don't seem as important in today's date-driven school atmosphere of teaching to the test.  He taught manners and caring; empathy and responsibility; perseverance and self-discipline.Cam encouraged his students and set high expectations for them.  His nurturing personality turned around many students who needed a caring teacher in their lives. Cam's modeled gentlemanly and appropriate behaviors for students every day of his life. Because Cam was born during the Great Depression,  he had great appreciation for all that he had, and he expressed his appreciation freely, forcing others to reconsider gratitude over entitlement.  His cheerful demeanor and gentleness, along with his love for people and conversation, made him a friend to so many, and a favorite teacher to many more. We were great friends, and through the years, Cam and I and my late husband had hundreds of meals together and played countless rounds of golf together.  Cam and I ate out for Thanksgiving dinner together for the past 5 years since Scott died.  I will miss him terribly this Thanksgiving Thursday.

Campbell Witherspoon, Jr. leaves thousands of survivors behind, former students, colleagues, and friends, and each person if richer by far for knowing him.  His influence will continue through eternity.  God speed, Cam. 

To read more about Cam's accomplishments and life, here is the link to his obituary:
http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Campbell-Witherspoon&lc=7414&pid=187248922&mid=7640143 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Dede and Cam - Christmas party, 1990, enjoying a laugh

Cam and Dede, Thanksgiving, 2015


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 






Saturday, November 11, 2017

"Discipline is helping a child solve a problem." L.R. Knost



A local news story caught my attention this week.  I was stunned to discover that the Pittsburgh Public School District suspends elementary students grades K-2 for indiscretions such as not having a pencil, forgetting a notebook or book, and  being tardy to school.  The story, featured on WPXI.  lists these statistics:  during the 2014-2015 school year, the district had almost 10,000 suspensions; last year nearly 6,000 suspensions.

Really?  Because of forgetting a book or pencil?  

The Pittsburgh Public Schools already suffer from negative publicity because of their low test scores. ( http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2016/10/14/Pennsylvania-releases-public-schools-report-cards/stories/201610140085 ) Within the past month, two violent incidents have been reported in the same elementary school, reinforcing the district's negative image.  Additionally, although the dropout rate has improved slightly, huge gaps still exist. Absenteeism is high, and 30 percent of high schoolers have been suspended.   http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/11/22/report-released-on-pittsburgh-public-schools/ 

So, with all of those HUGE problems, administrators and teachers are worried about kids grades K-2 forgetting books and pencils ????  What planet are they on? 

Perhaps one of the reasons for the achievement gap is directly correlated to students in grades K-2 missing classes because of inane suspensions.  Young students missing class time are missing the fundamental building blocks for the remainder of their educations. 

I was a classroom teacher in two suburban schools for a total of 37 years, and I saw lots of suspensions for violent and inappropriate behavior, but none for forgetting a book or pencil.  In my opinion, suspensions merely put students back into a home or street environment, not always the best environment, rather than keeping them in a nurturing environment in school, where issues can be discussed and addressed. Suspensions do not help students to solve problems.  Suspensions cause students to get behind in their work, become frustrated with trying to catch up, and in some cases, to finally give up and drop out.

I don't think the Pittsburgh Public Schools are helping students to "remember" better by suspending them.  A better solution to address small issues needs to be implemented that will not cause students to lose so much class time for such petty peccadillos. 

In my opinion, loss of class time in the early years will lead to more learning issues in later years. 


Interested in learning more about this story? See the full story here:  http://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/pittsburgh-public-schools-could-change-way-younger-students-are-punished-1/643741020 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

Friday, November 3, 2017

"Those who teach the most about humanity aren't always humans." - Donald L. Hicks





I am not always sure of what my topic will be each week; events present themselves to me that I deem worthwhile, and then I have my subject.  I warn you that this week's subject is a sad one, especially if you are a dog lover.

My next-door neighbor, Barb, has been a great friend since I moved to my condo 5 years ago, after my husband died.  Barb is also a widow, and she moved here 2 years before I did.  I would love to have a pet, but I am just too busy and I travel too much to take care of a pet, so I have been very lucky to have Barb's dog, Abby, as my adopted dog for these 5 years. Abby was at my house during Barb's vacations, she spent evenings with me when Barb was out and I was home, and she loved to ride in the car- even in my convertible.  Abby sat upright and tall in the back seat of Barb's SUV (as Barb's co-pilot) on short and long trips around town and to Barb's camp. Abby asked for her yummy treat of homemade "ice cream" (plain vanilla yogurt, a few tablespoons of peanut butter, and some honey, frozen in little lickable containers)  every day before 4 p.m.  She positioned herself in front of Barb (or me, if she happened to be at my house), and gave the "dog stare" with the tilted head that asked, "Aren't you going to give me my treat?"  She was bright and fun and loving, and she just wanted to be petted and loved.  Although she was not mine, I loved that dog, but probably not as much as Barb did.

Abby died on Halloween, and Barb and I are both heartbroken.  Abby was a little over 14 years old, and had a full and wonderful life, but neither one of us was ready for her departure, even though we recognized that she has been failing for the past several months.  Abby lost 15 pounds, her arthritis was debilitating, and she could no longer hear. We had to resort to sign language to get her up - she was such a smart dog.  Yet, throughout her physical problems and loss of agility,  she never lost her gentleness, her smile (yes, Abby smiled when she first saw you- followed by a sneeze from smiling!), her wagging tail, and her enjoyment of seeing people. She was really a people dog, and she loved sitting out front watching the walkers and joggers go past, meeting their eyes with hers so they would stop to give her a pet and a hug.  Even at the end, when she was too weak to lift her head, her tail still gave some little wags and she was still the loving dog she had always been.

This sadness over losing Abby has made me think about pets, and more specifically, about dogs.  Dogs are such loving creatures, and they have so much to teach us. Dogs are so patient, as they wait for their humans to get dressed, to arrive home, to make them food.  Dogs are so trusting, as they come when called, acquiesce to their masters, and rely on their humans for every basic need. Dogs are so compassionate, as they crowd their humans with love and kisses and tail wags when their human is crying, and they just seem to know when a human just might need a dog on their lap.  Dogs are so protective, as they throw themselves between their humans and possible threats, like intruders, or other dogs.  Dogs are so loyal, that even when scolded, they come inching back, tail between their back legs, trying to regain their human's good graces.  Dogs are so joyful that they teach us to live in the moment, and to enjoy the wind rushing through our hair (fur.)  Dogs are so adventurous that they don't even mind sniffing a pile of poo in order to experience all the rich smells out there!  Dogs teach us that life holds so many possibilities:  a ride in the car, a nap in the sun, a walk on or off a leash, and the delicious possibility that one might meet and chase a cat.  Dogs teach us that love is always the answer, regardless of the question. Indeed, dogs are great teachers.

When a human friend passes, I reflect on the many moments I had with that friend, and I think about how much they enriched my life, as I hope that I enriched theirs.  Today, I am thinking about a friend with four paws who gave me so much happiness, and she wasn't even my dog!   

Barb and Abby had almost 15 years together, years that both enjoyed.  Abby was there for Barb when Barb's husband, Tony, passed away unexpectedly, and she helped Barb to keep a sense of normalcy in her life.  Abby was a true and faithful companion, and our lives are both richer because of Abby and all the lessons this wonderful dog taught us.  RIP, sweet Abby. You were so much more than a dog - you were a friend.  


Abby in her prime




The last photo of Barb and Abby, October 31, 2017.  Abby was too weak to walk. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 





Thursday, October 26, 2017

"The handwritten thank-you note speaks volumes . . . " Emily Post





Since most communication in today's world is done through email and text messages, have handwritten thank-you notes gone by the wayside?  

I hope not.  I know there are fewer notes written than in days past, but "old school" teachers like me continue to hope that some people still teach and practice good manners.

My hope was fulfilled,  because I received a thank-you note and drawing in the mail on Wednesday.  

Last week, I sent a gift of a Grady book, coloring book, posters, stickers, and bookmark to two young brothers. (I know one of their parents, but I have never met the children.)  The note was written by a parent - simple, short, and sincere - and I know the children were included in the process because I also received a "thank-you" drawing. These parents are modeling and teaching the appropriate manners and behavior to their very young children.  (Applause from me! Manners matter in life!)

I have always enjoyed both the writing and the receiving of thank-you notes. I like to think of the recipient's reaction upon opening the mailbox, secretly hoping that there reaction is similar to mine.  I hope they feel joy when they see a handwritten envelope in the "real" mail.  To me, receiving a thank-you note means someone has taken a few minutes out of their day to choose a card or stationery, compose a few lines, and then sign, seal, stamp, and mail the card to me. This is a herculean effort, especially when comparing the tasks to typing an email and pressing the "send" button.

You know, I actually enjoy re-reading thank you notes, although I rarely re-read an email.  

I believe that my penchant for writing thank-you notes has helped me to be successful in all aspects of my life.  Thank-you notes show the other person that you are considerate and respectful. Thank-you notes say that your family taught you good manners, and that you learned the lessons.  Thank-you notes let the recipient know that you are thoughtful.

I like and employ technology, but there is just something special and personal about a handwritten thank-you note.  The next time something good happens to you and you want to say thanks, try sending a snail mail thank-you note.  I guarantee a positive reaction! 



As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

"We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear." Nelson Mandela





Something truly shocking happened in Pittsburgh earlier this week after school at Martin Luther King Learning Center, a K-8 building in the Pittsburgh Public School District.  The story begins with a teacher  taking a cell phone from a 10 year old fourth grade girl during class time.  The district has a strict "no cell phone" policy, so teacher Janice Watkins was doing her job. According to reports, the girl bit the teacher during the process of confiscating  her phone. Consequently, Miss Watkins met with the girl's mother after school regarding the cell phone incident. The mother told the teacher she would "get even" with her for taking her child's phone. (Do you see any red flags?)

After the meeting,  Ms. Watkins was driving to a clinic to have the human bite evaluated and treated. She was not aware that she was being followed in another car by the girl's mother and a man, who allegedly threw a brick through her car window, taking out some of Ms. Watkins' teeth. They dragged her out of the carr to beat, punch, and assault her.  All of this happened in the middle of traffic on Pittsburgh's North Shore, on a very busy street. 

WHAT???? 

I am stunned. The teacher did nothing wrong, so there was nothing with which to "get even." The girl was violating a school policy, which teachers are expected to enforce.  This mother's behavior is unacceptable for so many reasons!

Think of the terrible lessons the parent of the 10 year old girl is teaching their child;  lessons like "You do not have to follow school rules," and "Intimidation and threatening are appropriate," and "Violence is the answer."  My heart sinks, and and then breaks, to think of the domestic atmosphere in which that child is being reared.  How will she ever learn appropriate methods for dealing with life's problems?  The world is violent enough without seeing one's parent perpetrating violence against a teacher. 

Being a teacher is a difficult job, and the pay is never enough for all the work that goes into the job.  Most teachers have no real "life" during the school year - their entire focus is about working and students and school. Teachers teach because they love children and learning, and they want to make a difference.  I would not blame Muss  Watkins if she did not return to her classroom after this terrible and unthinkable assault.  She was simply doing her job, and she did not deserve the stalking, the brick, and the assault. 

Here are several links to this news story, including the link from WPXI, in which the attacker called the station and said she had no remorse for her actions.  The world is becoming too crazy; teaching used to be a safe job.  Students used to be afraid that if they got in trouble at school, they would be in twice as much trouble when they arrived home.  Not now -  some parents want the teacher to take all the responsibility and they will not assign any blame to their own children.  I think I am glad to be retired.  

The mother of the girl was arrested for stalking and assault and the teacher is recuperating at home at this writing. 

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2017/10/18/teacher-assault-north-side-school/ 

http://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/woman-arrested-for-attack-on-pittsburgh-teacher/626613600

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®




Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

"Failure is not the opposite of success - it's part of success." Arianna Huffington




I read many articles on Education each week, and this week,  I read a really interesting article about teenagers and anxiety.  After being in the high school classroom for 37 years, I have seen more than my share of anxious students.  However, cases of anxiety and depression in teens seem to be growing exponentially, and I was truly alarmed by the statistics in this article.  I would like to share a personal observation with you.

First, here is the link to the article.  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/magazine/why-are-more-american-teenagers-than-ever-suffering-from-severe-anxiety.html  Besides the obvious stressors, such as more and more standardized tests, schools removing recess time to teach to the test, thus making even small children more anxious, and pressures from peers, parents, teachers, and social media to perform, I noticed one statement in the article that really caught my attention. A boy named Jake had asced all the tests in middle school, and now in high school, with even more pressure, he was in fear of failing, and his fear and anxiety were ruining his life.  Reading this article forced me to reflect upon some of my anxiety issues at school.  I was never particularly bright in science, which caused me many sleepless nights. However, I knew what it was like to fail and to lose, so my anxiety did not control me. 

Many students have never failed at anything in their entire lives, and they are afraid to fail. I think too many participation trophies have been distributed, and I also believe that  too many parents and teachers and coaches are telling students that "You are ALL winners!" That statement will never be true, in academics, in sports, or in life. Adults who say those kinds of words are doing a great disservice to children.

When I posted the linked article above on Twitter, one of my Twitter colleagues reinforced my thinking when she tweeted this reply to me: Jodi Meadows, PhD‏ @drjodimeadows Replying to @dederittman "I teach honors college freshman. They have nearly no experience with failure. It’s devastating when they hit the academic wall at transition."

I believe that kids need to lose sometimes.  As I look back at my life, I remember many times I did not win.  Sometimes, I did not put enough effort into the project, so it was my fault.  Lesson learned- if you want to win and excel, you must put the time and effort into your dream.  Sometimes, I lost when it wasn't my fault., like 7th grade cheerleader tryouts. (For the record, I could never do a split.) I wasn't the best or the worst, but I recall looking at the list of team names of the girls who were selected, thinking that most of those chosen had a connection to the school, through a faculty or school board member.  I specifically remember discussing this with my wise mother, who  explained that sometimes, even when you work hard, you will not win, because of circumstances beyond your control.  Although that was a difficult lesson to learn at age 12, that knowledge helped me to understand many future events in my life, when politics and nepotism reigned over simply choosing the best candidate.

Parents and teachers and coaches must stop coddling young people and filling their heads with the "everybody is a winner" philosophy.  Kids need to learn that it is OK  if they are not in first place every time.  Participation trophies should be thrown out.  Kids need to learn that win or lose, life goes on, and that regardless of how bright they are, life will sometimes make them come in last place.  Losing, like failure, offers many lessons.

I urge all educators to share and discuss this insightful article.Students need to learn that failure and success are not polar opposites, but rather that failure can be an igniter for success.  They just need adults to explain how failure and losing can be beneficial to learning and success. We owe it to our children to teach this concept in order to ease their anxiety. The greatest amateur golfer of all time, Bobby Jones, summed it up in this quote: "I never learned a thing from a tournament I won." 






As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ®