Saturday, May 20, 2017

"You inspire me." (note received from an elementary student)




Sometimes wonderful things happen when we least expect them!

I have presented at several elementary schools during the past few months. I have a fun and interactive PowerPoint for kids about being an author, how glasses help people to see, my love for bunnies, and how all three of those things came together for me to create my award-winning children's book, GRADY GETS GLASSES.  One of the slides of the PowerPoint explains that I have a vision - to make money to create a GRADY GETS GLASSES FOUNDATION, or to join another charitable group, to provide glasses for children who cannot afford them. (FYI-Refractive error is the number one cause of blindness in the world - completely curable by wearing glasses.)  The students reacted to this slide with delight and applause, but that is not the end of the story.

The school librarian sent me an email asking for my address.  It seemed that a student really liked the idea of helping kids with glasses, and wanted to send me a donation. A few days later, I received a note in the mail from a student, who also enclosed $10 - the seed money for my upcoming charity work!  A picture of the note card is above - "YOU INSPIRE ME."  The note reads: 

 "Dear Dede Rittman,  You inspire me.  I love that you want to raise money for kids who cannot see.  I wanted to give you some money so you can help kids.  Thanks again.  Love, "

This child's empathy and sensitivity touches my soul, so I had to share this beautiful note with my readers.  This note also reinforces the great influence teachers  have on students.  
I was a guest author/speaker in this school for a 35 minute presentation - long enough to make a connection with this student.  Teachers, this is a big reminder that students are listening, even when you think they are not!  

I hope this gesture touches your heart, as it did mine!  A picture of the note is below.  (I am protecting the student's identity.) 






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 


As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

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, May 13, 2017

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." Abraham Lincoln





Our mothers are our first teachers. As babies, and then as children and teenagers, we notice everything our mother does - from the way she combs her hair to her favorite food and even the way she answers the phone.  My mother used to pick up the phone, take a big breath, and then say "Hello!" with an upnote in her voice.  I wish I could hear that "Hello!" today. 

Mother's Day has always been a time of reflection for me, ever since my younger brother, Brian, was born on Mother's Day, May 14, 1958. When my mother was alive, I always felt the mysterious connection between Mother's Day and my attempt to choose a unique gift that would please her, knowing that the gift of a child on that day in 1958 was one that could not be topped! The year that Brian was born, my older brother George and I constructed handmade cards for her in school, but the cards had to wait until mom and our baby brother came home.  Her joy at having a new baby turned into fright when Brian developed Rose Fever, and he could not be put down on his back because congestion and cough choked him, blocking his respiratory tract, resulting in his inability to breathe. For weeks, our mother walked the floors all night, holding Brian in her arms, cooing her love and trying everything the doctor had told her to do to keep his airways open. Antihistamines were not available over the counter in 1958, and I do not recall what medications Brian could have, since he was just weeks old. Although I was only 6 years old and my brother George was 8, I remember how we discussed worrying about Brian, and we knew that our mother was exhausted. She was taking care of a sick baby, all while keeping our house, dinners, Dad's work schedule, and bagged school lunches going.  This was one of the first lessons Mom taught me about love - that no matter how you feel physically, you have to do whatever is needed to take care of the ones you love. She also taught me acceptance and patience, because although Brian was sick, she said the Rose Fever would not last forever, and brighter days would come. Throughout her lifetime, no matter how difficult the situation, my mother always looked for the "up" side, or she would search for the good that would come from the bad. My mother turned me into an optimist, although I am also a realist. Her strength for serving the family she loved never wavered, no matter how difficult the circumstance.

Mom's lessons about strength and optimism served me well when my late husband, Scott, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in December, 2009, and given 12 months to live. Suddenly, I had to become a full-time caregiver, while working as a teacher and coach and director.  We had no children, so that was one less item on my plate; instead, I had the added responsibility of caring for Scott's parents for years, and now I would have to continue that, without Scott's help. The working and caregiving responsibilities for everyone was so difficult, and they required a great amount of juggling on my part.  I knew I was "becoming my mother", and that was a good thing. It was because of her strength and her example that I could fulfill all of the responsibilities to my loved ones.

I had to laugh about my older brother, George, telling me that I had "become our mother" after I had symptoms of appendicitis and drove myself to the hospital last October (while my appendix was rupturing.)  Although George's funny line was a real compliment to me, I believe it was a bigger compliment to our mother, who lived the example of such a strong woman that I had to become one as well. ( Audrey definitely would have driven herself to the hospital!)

Our mother passed in 2002, just 82 days after our dad. My brothers and I miss them both every single day, and we are all so grateful for the way they taught us and guided our lives.

Happy Mother's Day, Friends!  Kiss your mom, and tell her you love her.  Write a note to your mom about the great lessons she has shared with you.  

How I wish I could hug and kiss my mother one more time! 





As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

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, May 6, 2017

"Grief changes shape, but it never ends." Keanu Reeves



Monday, May 8, is five years since my husband, Scott, died from stage 4 colon cancer at 3:35 EST. Sometimes, it feels like he has been gone only 5 minutes, and other times, it seems like forever.  Scott died a few weeks after his 59th birthday from stage 4 colon cancer. Throughout these 5 years, I have learned many lessons about how much people do NOT know how to address a person's greatest loss. I have compiled a list of what not to say to someone who has lost their other half. (Those readers who have lost a spouse will recognize these!)

1.  "I know how you feel."  Actually, you DO NOT know how I feel.  Unless you have lost a spouse who was your other half and your best friend, please don't speak these words. 

2. "I had a great loss when my parents died, so I know just how you feel."  This is an elongated version of number 1's "I know how you feel."  The passing of a parent, although an immense loss, cannot be equated to the death of a spouse.  They are both difficult and emotionally draining, but they are not the same.  I lost both of my parents unexpectedly within 82 days in 2002, which was tremendously painful, but not in the same way as losing my husband. 

3.  "You're a smart and fun gal- you'll be married again before you know it."  Yes, several people (all men) have actually said this to me.  I am not sure why they think this is appropriate, but I guess they think they are paying me a compliment by telling me I am "a fun gal." 

4. "You'll get used to it."  Scott used to say as a joke that something was "like hanging- you get used to it."  Not a sympathetic or empathetic statement. 

5. "Now you can do whatever you want to do."  Wait - what - really??  Yes, I guess I can do "what I want to do" - alone!  Somehow, vacations and sightseeing trips no longer hold the allure they once did.  And have you noticed that all trips are booked by room reservations "for two?" 

I think I am doing OK, but I continue to have great waves of sadness.  Dealing with grief is akin to having a form of PTSD; you just never know what trigger will cause a fresh stab of pain, or prompt a memory that causes tears.  When I visit a friend who is grieving, all of my sad feelings return.  I have great empathy for others, and I can express that empathy, so although painful, I view these feelings as a positive way to connect with and help others. 

Throughout the span of my 37 year teaching career, I had many students lose a parent through an illness or accident. Kids would often ask me what they should say to classmates who were grieving.  I told them it was good to say two simple words, "I'm sorry."  My advice was to be there for their friends, even if just sitting quietly.  I told them to offer friendship and a sympathetic ear if their friend felt like talking. Students look to teachers for advice on so many subjects. I am so glad I had good advice for my students, even before I fully understood the grief process myself. 

My many friends have been so supportive these last 5 years, and throughout the 30 months of Scott's cancer treatment.  By the way, my friends are not the ones who said the inappropriate statements above; those statements came from mere acquaintances. I am so grateful for REAL friends! 

Sometimes when dealing with loss, it is just best try to put yourself in the other person's shoes before saying anything at all. Also, to keep in mind that no matter how many years pass, those who have suffered a significant loss will never stop grieving, and that loss still feels as fresh as the day it happened. Kindness from friends makes dealing with grief easier, even though the grief never goes away altogether. My grief today is different than it was 5 years ago, but it has not departed, and I doubt - I know- that it never will. Grief is the price one pays for loving so much.  I continue to learn many personal lessons from dealing with my changing grief.

"Grief changes shape, but it never ends."  Keanu Reeves



Scott is wearing his chemo in this picture from May of 2010. I miss him every day. :( 

A little laugh about what some people say to others!!  





As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Rittman Publishing, LLC ®



You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ®