Friday, August 24, 2018

"Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself." Chinese Proverb

And so, it is "Back to School" time again.  The ominous advertisements started before July 4th, and now the time has arrived.  Teachers can't believe vacation went by so quickly, and neither can the students!  Some are stuck in the before school "Land of the Glum", but I always looked to the start of the school year as a whole new beginning.

As a child, my friends and I would walk the half mile to Birdville Elementary School every day to see if the class assignments were posted on the building windows facing Lilac Street. My friends and I wondered aloud for hours - What teacher would we get?  Would we be in the same class?  Were there any new teachers in the building?  Any new students? 

Through junior high and high school, we walked to the G.C. Murphy in the Heights Plaza to buy our new 3 ring notebooks, pencils, erasers, notebook paper, white hole reinforcements for said notebook paper, and other school supplies. My group of friends liked school, and we speculated endlessly on teachers and tests and studying and note taking. We never missed school unless we were really sick.

Then came college and I became a teacher.  I realized that first day of teaching when a student threw a book, a chair, and a desk at me, that not everyone loved school the way I did. (He did not want to repeat 9th grade English for a third time.)  I acknowledged that I had to entice students to like learning and reading a little bit, but I recognized that it was their job to actually do the work.  I became a master at the "anticipatory set", a sort of "hooking" kids into a desire to learn.  For 35 of the 37 years I taught, I was assigned several classes of reluctant learners, so getting them interested in learning was imperative!  I found that through kindness, cajoling, and creativity, the kids came around to working in the class.  I opened the door, but they had to walk through it themselves.

Teachers, at this point in the year, when you do not know your students and they do not know you, do the best you can, with kindness and creativity to "hook" your students into wanting to learn.  Please, do not look at their "labels"  or listen to colleagues who have opinions on a kid based on "last year."  The new year means it is a fresh start - for everyone.  

I am wishing you a wonderful year.  Although I know there will be difficulties, there will also be moments of great joy and accomplishment.  Remember that you are not teaching a subject, you are teaching human beings. If you treat your students with care and respect, they will return care and respect.  Open the doors to learning, invite your students in, and have a great year!  

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!

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