Thursday, April 11, 2019

"I've learned that people will forget what you said . . .but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

Inspire 99

I spend at least an hour a day on Twitter, expanding my brand and reading and tweeting about Education. Many teachers are on Twitter, and they spend lots of time tweeting about research based articles and technology.  Although I know research is important, I think after 37 years in the classroom and 8 years of retirement/being an author and presenting globally to ages 4-college, I hold firm with my true belief - that students are far more important than any content.  Teaching is all about relationships. and without a solid relationship, no learning will occur. 

I have the good fortune to live in the same community where I taught for 35 of my 37 years. Additionally, I have the further good fortune to be out in the public and encounter many of my former students, which is delightful. Some opening lines go like this: 

"Miss Rittman, I can't believe I am seeing you!  You look exactly the same!"  (Bless these kids) 

"I remember that you made us feel special and called us your bunnies!" 

"You gave us bubble gum before a big test and told us that chewing would make our scored higher." (I did - this was from a research article.)

"You helped me when my parents were getting divorced - 10th grade was so hard for me, but you made it easier."  

 "I remember how much you LIKED us.  You made us WANT to learn." 

That last statement is the one I hear the most often, and the one I cherish the most.  For all 37 years of my teaching career, I taught 2 classes of reluctant learners every year. I recognized the importance of relationships during the student teaching experience, and I carried that practice over to my teaching positions. Kids have to perceive that you actually like them, and that you want to be with them.  They are so needy, and even in the 10th grade, the majority still want to please the teacher. I worked hard to lean about each of my students - hobbies, jobs, home life (if offered), siblings, girlfriend/boyfriend, and more. In return, I shared information about my wonderful husband, about learning to fish and go camping, about buying a new car, about getting a flat tire, and thousands of other small details that did not disclose too much personal information, yet let them know who I really was as a person. I cried when I had to tell my students that my parents died unexpectedly within 82 days of each other, and they were polite, sad, sweet, and supportive when my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Our mutual respect was evident to anyone who happened to walk in my classroom or see my interaction with a student in the hallway.  

I saw two former students within the past two days, and I was amazed at what they remembered from my class.  Very gratifying. In fact, those chance meetings prompted this post.

I know the trends in Education are important, but I urge teachers not to make technology and methods your classroom focus. Instead,  make students your focus. 

I still miss being in the classroom.  I would have stayed 40 years or more if my husband's stage 4 colon cancer had not changed both of our lives, although I am so grateful for my June, 2011, retirement and our final 11 months together. 

Teaching is all about the kids!  Enjoy them Like them! Show them how much you love teaching!  The rewards for all involved are so wonderful! 

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 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.

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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