Friday, June 16, 2017

"My father didn't tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland




I lost my father fewer than 2 weeks after Father's Day, 2002.  He had a massive heart attack and died in his sleep. The coroner said, "He didn't know what hit him,"  which has always been like a balm to me.  My dad suffered in so many ways: while serving in in World War II, with a serious rift in his family, with cancer, with hearing loss, with emphysema and more, and I hoped his ending would not be painful.

Whether it is Father's Day or any other day, I often think about my dad, who was a study in contrasts.  He had such a dry sense of humor, that sometimes people were not sure if he was really joking, yet his laugh was actually larger than he was!  A petite man of 5'7" and weighing only 110 pounds, he acquired the nickname of "Herk" for "Hercules" because of his wiry strength.  The gruffness he showed my brothers regarding their incorrectly done chores was the opposite of the tenderness shown to me, his "little girl," when I needed advice.  

Dad had a sterling sense of fair play and honesty.  When life was not always fair to us as children, Dad would remind us that life wasn't fair, but people should be fair. Lying was not acceptable in our house, for any reason, and if we made a mistake, we told the truth and accepted the consequences, because Dad said that was the only right thing to do. 

Dad worked 40+ hours per week at Allegheny Ludlum Steel, on the swing shift of 8-4, 4-12, and 12-8 for almost 44 years.  I know he wanted for a better life for his three children, so he never complained about his job. When he finally retired, I asked, "Dad, how could you work 44 years on the swing shift?"  His answer was simple: "Honey, I liked my job and I liked the people I worked with.  It really only seemed like about 10 years."  Many years later, I would understand his answer on my own personal level.  When I retired from 37 years of teaching English and Theater, friends marveled at my long career, asking, "How could you teach 10th grade for 37 years???" I gave my dad's answer without realizing it at the time:  "I really liked my job, and I enjoyed my colleagues and students.  Those 37 years really only seemed like about 10 years."  

I had become my father, and I that made me happy. 

As I get older, I reflect upon the lessons of my parents, and I am so grateful for the values they bequeathed to my brothers and to me: have a strong work ethic, be reliable and responsible, do your best every day, say only nice things to others, be courteous, and remember that the world owes you nothing, so be grateful for what you earn and what you receive. These core values have dictated both my brothers' and my many successes in life.

Thanks, Dad, for all you taught me.  I love you and miss you. 

Happy Father'sDay to all the dads out there! 





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, June 10, 2017

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



One of my former colleagues passed away last week, and I went to the funeral home to pay my respects on Sunday evening.  Tragically, she died from a rare disease at the age of 61; what was uplifting to me at this sad occasion were the tributes from former students about how she lived.

She taught hearing impaired students in many of the schools in the district, from elementary to high school, and she made a difference to every student.  She pushed them to work to the best of their abilities, and she told them that they could and would be successful - no matter that they were hearing impaired. She looked for their ABILITIES, not their DISABILITIES.

Through the years, many of her students became my students, and some of those students and I had a reunion of sorts at the funeral home.  Her former students - now adults, and many in their 50's, told me that she was the force behind their life's success.   They talked about her kindness, her caring, and her love for her students. Her brother was overwhelmed to the point of tears to share with me that many students flew in from all over the country to pay their final respects to the woman who had changed their lives. Clearly, she was a gifted, devoted, and caring teacher.

Seeing former students, hearing what they had to say, and visiting with them for the first time in 30+ years made me reflect upon the Henry Adams quote "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."  This quote is so pure and  true; I have seen it in my own life and the lives of my students, and last week, I was privileged to witness the remarkable influence my colleague had on her students.

For my many readers who are teacher friends - what you say and do, the way you treat your students, and your expectations for your students will live on long after you are gone. Your kindness and caring will have a direct influence on your students - forever. If you don't believe me, just think of the story of this one extraordinary teacher.

God bless you, Cil Clemente. Your legacy lives on in each of your students.  You were a wonderful teacher and friend. 




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, June 3, 2017

"There is something you leave at every meeting with another person." Fred Rogers


Our world has become a very scary place, and watching the evening news is not for the faint of heart. When the terrorist attack happened in Manchester, England, a man named Anthony Breznican gained notoriety by tweeting the famous Mr. Rogers quote about looking for the helpers.  Turns out, Anthony had actually met Mr. Rogers in person, and Mr. Rogers was able to help him when he needed an ear to listen.  If you did not see the great CBS Steve Hartman piece, which includes an interview with Anthony Breznican about a personal encounter with Mr. Rogers, please take a look at it!  You will be glad you did. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-compassionate-message-from-a-neighbor-at-the-right-time/

Reading Anthony's tweets and seeing this news clip made me think back to many years ago. My (late) husband, Scott, and I had season tickets to the Pittsburgh Public Theater on the same night as Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.  We would always nod and say a few words in passing. One night, we saw a little girl dressed in a beautiful white lace dress with a pink sash in the lobby. She spotted Mr. Rogers and she zoomed over to him and exclaimed, "Mr. Rogers!  Look at my new dress!  Isn't it pretty?"  He answered very quietly and simply, "Yes, your dress is very pretty, but it is more important to be pretty on the inside."

All of this talk about and remembrance of Mr. Rogers has made me reflect again on how much difference one teacher can make for students.  Mr. Rogers influenced millions of children, teaching social skills and good manners, and modeling the roles of friend and neighbor.  He wore his teacher persona like he wore his sweater and tennis shoes; in a comfortable and non-threatening manner. Years later, as Anthony Breznican reminds us, those lessons from Mr. Rogers- on television or in person - still matter. Although they had only one chance encounter, Mr. Rogers left quite an impression on Anthony. 

Teachers, the behavior you model and the kind words you speak to your students will still matter years from now.  As the school year winds down, please remember kindness and caring, and in the words of Mr. Rogers:   "If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."  Fred Rogers

Pittsburgh was so lucky to have Mr. Rogers.  So was the world.  #Agreatteacher 




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 ®