Thursday, December 5, 2019

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves." William Arthur Ward

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation 

Last week, I was part of an awesome interview/podcast with Juan Campos, an educator I know only from Twitter. We have been following each other's tweets, and we connected strongly about our shared outlook of what teaching is all about.

We think teaching is about kindness, connection, and high expectations, as we look for the best in each of our students.

Juan and I contrasted stories about those teachers who practice the "Don't smile until Christmas" philosophy with our own "Extend yourself, be your authentic kind self, and show kindness" approach.  We like our practicing philosophy better.

Juan and I believe that every student is a person, to be treated with dignity and respect.  We believe that students respond to a kind heart, an encouraging word, and a personal connection. We believe that when students know the teacher believes they can achieve, that the possibilities for success are endless. 

One of my stories concerns a Theater class I taught, with 17 gifted students and 3 special needs students.  On the very first day, I said that our group would become a family, and that families share and learn from each other, and that each person in the class had something to teach the others, and that everyone should extend himself to others.  This class story of transformation and kindness is one of the favorites in my career. The students were ALL included, in every way, every day. Throughout the semester, I called every parent to tell them of the way in which our class had become a family, offering specific examples of kindness and inclusion.  I cried during each of there phone calls, and the parents cried with me. It is amazing how a teacher can set expectations of kindness and inclusion, and the rest of the class practices those values. I set the expectation, I believed in the students, and they did not disappoint.  And somehow, through this entire experience, I became a better teacher and human being because I was fortunate to teach this class. 

Thank you, Juan Campos, for allowing me to articulate my passion for teaching - even now, when I am retired. Thank you for sharing your fire for helping students to be their best.  I only wish we could have been colleagues!   

I will post the link to the interview as soon as Juan uploads it!  

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.  and a company called 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!

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