Sunday, July 31, 2016

"You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." John C. Maxwell

I often write about as parents as our first teachers, and i can say unequivocally that I learned a valuable lesson from my mother at a very young age.  When I was 6, my brother Brian was born on May 14, 1958.  Brian was a beautiful baby who was plagued by allergies and rose fever in the first few months of his life.  When he recovered, my older brother George and I became a part of Brian's "routine."  My mother told us repeatedly that babies are happiest when they follow a specific and set routine; naptimes and feedings; playtime with siblings; diaper changing, and more. Brian rarely cried- except when his routine was disrupted.  As time moved on, George and I developed our own routines with Brian as well- playing with him as he explored his favorite toys; the joyous daily greetings when we ran in from the school bus to see him (these remained consistent- from the time he was an infant, and as he grew into a toddler); the "rides" I gave Brian as I pushed him in my baby carriage around and around the house, until the wheels of the perambulator wore tracks, and then holes, into the threads, and then the padding, of the wool carpeting.

Years later, when I became a teacher, I remembered my mother's lesson about the importance of a routine, and I applied it to my own classroom for 37 years.  Even 9th and 10th grade students want the feeling of familiarity with classroom expectations, procedures, and evaluations. (Did you ever know anyone who really liked a pop quiz???  Of course, not! No surprises, please- especially with grades!)  Just a few routine items included: writing daily objectives on the board; assigning new seats every quarter so the kids could all get to know each other; previewing the day's lesson; reviewing the day's lesson with a sneak preview for the next day;  outlining class expectations as often as needed; asking students to follow a prescribed method for better organizational skills for our class; greeting students at the door; having students keep a grade sheet (before grades were online); keeping classroom supplies in the same place for easy access.  This list could go on ad nauseum, but you get the picture. Students felt relaxed and happy in our classroom, because there were no (upsetting) surprises.  They knew the routine!

This is not to say that I was a boring teacher, Heaven forbid!  I am the first to admit I was a kooky - and innovative - teacher, which the students enjoyed. I earned their trust and they took learning risks with me, and learning was fun!  But the basic routines of the classroom- the structure, the expectations, the feeling of 'I am home and I know what to do" - were a solid and consistent foundation to build student trust, mutual respect,  confidence, and a love of learning.

Thank you, "Mom" Audrey Faltot, for another parental lesson I can share with others - especially parents and teachers. 

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. 

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