Sunday, January 21, 2018

"Expectation is the mother of all frustration." Antonio Banderas

This week has been a challenging one for me.  On Tuesday evening, my barely-4-years-old desktop computer stopped being connected to the Internet. I took it to the Geek Squad, and the network card was broken. I attempted to circumvent the issue with a wireless net connector, but even that would not work. Additionally, my laptop developed a virus, which the Geek Squad fixed through a remote connection, and two days later, the computer started acting the same way as before the fix.  Many hours later, it was fixed remotely again- the touch screen was not working correctly, and the technician had to disable that function. 

The news is I bought a new computer today, Sunday, and I am not happy about it. When I buy a product and take care of it, I expect it to work correctly.

Then, on Thursday night at 11 pm, a major transformer exploded in Pittsburgh's North Hills, plunging 2400 customers into darkness and no electricity for 21 hours. I was already so frustrated by the computer experiences, and dealing with no electric made a bad situation even worse.  I live in a valley, and my iPhone will not work without the booster from AT&T, so I did not even have phone service. Once again, when I pay for a service, I expect it to work, or at least, to be repaired in a timely manner, but I had no control over the situation.

Can you sense my frustration?  Before the power outage, I spent at least 12 hours trying to connect to the Internet, following suggested methods for addressing the problem from researching the problem on my iPad.  After the power returned, I spent 2 hours on the phone with the Asus support people trying to get the wireless network device to work, and another 2 hours with a technician at my home, who said that whatever was broken in the motherboard, it was not worth spending the money to fix. 

This week was filled with so many wasted hours, working to control things that I had absolutely no control over, although I thought I did. My frustration had even turned to anger!

Thinking about all the frustrating events of my week, I reflected on the anger and frustration of many of my former students who lived with severe learning disabilities. So many of them tried and tried to meet teacher expectations,  but they needed a different pathway to learning, because the methods being used by many of their teachers simply were not working.  As their English teacher, I worked with these students individually, asking questions and helping them to devise ways to get information into the brain without causing so much frustration!  We made silly sing-song sentences, used highlighters, read with note cards, and I even made elaborate study guides to serve the sequential learners, along with hundreds of other tricks.  Every student with special needs presented a new challenge; I wanted to help them because of their level of frustration, and the anger that ensued from that frustration. Teachers who do not understand student frustration become angry when the student is angry.  All that does is escalate a situation.I always found it was better to ask the student, "What is really wrong?"  Allowing a student to vent leads to creating a solution, as well as student-teacher understanding.  Isn't that what we want for our students?

So, I have vented.  My power is restored, but my new computer will not be ready until Thursday.  I can't control that. However, just sharing this information with my readers has helped to relieve my frustration, which I can control, and for that, I thank you.  Teachers, please reach out to your angry/frustrated students!  They need to be heard, and helped, because dealing with frustration of not being able to meet expectations is difficult. 

Have a great week. 

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.  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  

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 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 now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

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

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