Thursday, July 12, 2018

"The power of positive reinforcement: Praise your students, focus on their strengths . . . then watch how quickly they reach their full potential!"

I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter, tweeting articles and ideas about Education. (In fact, I was even named a top 100 Educator in Pennsylvania to follow on Twitter! @dederittman)  Many teachers and administrators tweet about the importance of creating and maintaining positive relationships with students. Although I am no longer in the classroom on a daily basis as I was for 37 years, through presenting my two books, I am still in front of many students each school year.  I have found that one thing never changes - kids and young adults thrive on being recognized and encouraged by their teacher, or even their guest speaker!  

During my entire 37 year teaching career, I always was assigned a class or two of "challenged learners", many of whom were labeled as "underachievers."  I never looked at those students according to labels put on them by the administration; I figured when they were my students, they would discover how exciting learning could be, and how inspiring achievement could be.  It turns out, that for all those years and all those students, I was right. 

If teachers only focus on the negative, they simply cannot and will not have a positive outcome.  Of course, many students come to school, lacking in skills.  And, guess what? These students already know they have a reading deficiency or spelling issue!  As a teacher, help them to build these skills, rather than dwell on their deficiencies, and let them know they are making progress!  Small triumphs will lead to bigger triumphs. Success breeds success!

Throughout my wonderful career, I had many students who faced big learning issues, including reading deficiencies, dyslexia, ADHD, lack of writing and grammatical skills, and many other problems. I worked beside them, acknowledging their progress, and asking about their feelings on their personal progress. My personal interest and guidance, along with daily encouragement, led these students to higher grades - and more learning - and even to liking learning!  A teacher has the opportunity to have great power over the manner in which students look at learning. I always shared my philosophy of "I am a lifelong learner" with my students, because I never wanted them to think I had all the answers. I enjoyed giving authentic praise when it was earned, but not empty words of "Good job!" every few minutes.  Those words are so trite when spoken automatically and so often that they are no longer authentic. The students knew that when they got a nod from me, it was well-earned. I am NOT a fan of frivolous praise. 

Every student has gifts, and it is up to the teacher to help each to discover his gifts. Focus on the positive and the potential, offer words of encouragement, and your students will blossom - even the reluctant ones.  I have 37 years of teaching experience that tells me this method works.

Teachers wield more power than they can ever know, and it is best to use that power in a positive manner. Help students to love learning, and to be the best they can be. What a wonderful opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of students!

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. 

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  and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

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