I was privileged to be invited to the 35th class reunion of the North Allegheny Class of 1983. I loved that class of kids - so many great students with a good sense of humor, personalities plus, outstanding athletics, and a superb work ethic. I am actually good friends with several of my former students from that class, which is how I received the very special invitation to the reunion. I am so glad I went!
Although the Class of 1983 was over 700, under 100 attended the reunion, but it was just right. There was time to talk to each of my former students, and to reminisce about "the old days."
There is something so funny about the relationship between students and teachers, Students always think their teachers are SO old. While speaking with my former students on Saturday, some laughed to discover that I am now 65 and they are now 54, and our age difference is not so great after all!
I had an interesting discussion with one young man who asked me if I remembered my nickname for him - "The Big G." WE laughed about my penchant for assigning nicknames. I explained to him that I created nicknames for students so they would feel special, and that I wanted kids to feel safe and welcomed into our classroom. That was my strategy for classroom control, since all of teaching is based on relationships. I explained that by building a classroom culture of friendliness and familiarity, students would want to be on time, because they would not want to miss anything. I enjoyed seeing the expressions on my former students' faces regarding these topics of discussion, as most of them are parents, and they hear their own children talk about the teachers who "like" them. They enjoyed being in on my "teacher secrets."
The students I knew in 10th grade have become successful adults, parents, and community members. I am so proud of each one, and for the record, I must admit that I also had many of their children in class! Teaching in the same school for 35 years creates a wonderful and large circle of connections.
I was so pleased to be invited and spend some time with the North Allegheny Class of 1983. I loved them in 10th grade, and nothing has changed, except we all got a little older.
Teachers who give respect to students receive respect in return. Teaching is all about creating positive relationships, which can last for a lifetime.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
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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. www.Fieldtripzoom.com 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 http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/
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 www.dederittman.com 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! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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