Sunday, July 10, 2016

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Theodore Roosevelt

Teaching can be an exhilarating and exciting, as well as a stressful  profession.  In my opinion, it is the very best profession in the world- the profession which teaches all others. However, teachers know that one of the really sad parts of the job is this:  teachers can never enjoy looking at a "finished product."  Our students move on in their lives, go to college, undertake gainful employment, and sometimes move away from the area. Trust me when I tell you that every teacher wonders what happened to the various students we have encountered, and we always hope they are successful and happy.

I taught at North Allegheny Intermediate High School for 35 years. Return readers to my blog know that I loved ALL of my jobs at school: teaching English and Theater, coaching golf, directing the musicals and the talent shows, working with student council, and more. The NA students were wonderful, as was the district, and I enjoyed a marvelous career. Something happened this past week that made me think of my teaching career even more than I normally do. A former NA student started a Facebook page for NA graduates, and  a former student added me to the group.  I read with interest what my former students had posted and how they were doing, whom they had married, and where they were living and working. A few days ago, I posted remarks about the wonderful students from my past, and how much I enjoyed my job at NA.  I mentioned my husband's passing, as well as my new career as a writer and speaker. The response I received from my former students was overwhelming!  I am both humbled and honored to be remembered. 

Students from years ago said they have wanted to tell me "thank you" for believing in them; some remembered special moments from the musical and talent shows; many remembered their "favorite book" TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD from my class; some recalled a special poem or assignment; one recalled a poignant (true) story I told about a former student, and she said "if you ever wondered if we were listening, we were."  One young man told me I was the one who changed his life . . . he was a stutterer and I cast him as an emcee for the talent show. he shared with me that his self-confidence soared because of that role, and he still enjoys public speaking. 

I loved sowing the seeds of knowledge for these students, and I must confess that it never occurred to me that I would ever reap such enormous rewards.

My heart is bursting with gratefulness that my former students are happy and successful and enjoying their lives- and that they, too, still think about me from time to time, just as I think about them.

You see, teaching is about relationships, not just the exchange of knowledge and information. I always enjoyed knowing my students as people, not just as my pupils. A solid relationship built on mutual respect and caring knows no time limit, as time does not diminish  respect and caring. I am touched and moved beyond words.  

Teacher readers, I am posting this story for all of you.  Every teacher makes a difference every day to his/her students.  Even though teachers rarely have a glimpse of that finished product,  I say confidently that you should stand proud.  You helped to shape a child's life in a positive manner, and your influence will never end. The accolades I enjoyed this week are ones that I share with all teachers -  I was just the lucky one to receive them!  The world is a better place because YOU are in the classroom.

I am so thankful that I chose to become a teacher. I hope all of my teacher-reader-friends feel the same! 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

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 reading. 
Signed copies are available 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! 

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 .  The website IS UP AND RUNNING!!!.  Signed copies ARE available!   Grady plush toys are ordered! 

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
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