Saturday, December 19, 2020

"Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter." Izaak Walton 

Like many other Americans are doing during the pandemic, I have been going through bins of items in my storage room and donating them to charity.  I recently found a box of old cookbooks, and when I saw the cover of a special one, it was like finding an old friend.  

I began my 35 year long teaching career at North Allegheny Intermediate High School in 1976.  The faculty was so different from the previous school where I taught.  The NA group ate lunch together, had parties, went out for a drink on Fridays after school, but most importantly, worked together to make the school a better place.  Most everyone on our large staff was friends with everyone else.  Ladies exchanged baby clothes; people did pick up and drop off for a friend with car trouble; fun lunches were planned during the school day; and lessons were shared. Being  part of that staff,  I felt like I was in "school heaven." A husband and wife teacher duo took me home for dinner when my car muffler fell off, and she cooked white he bought the part to re-hang the muffler.  The staff supported the students in the same way they supported each other, so for me, going to school never seemed liked going to work. 

In 1981, we decided to make a faculty cookbook.  Just about every  person contributed, and I can remember the effort that people had to put forth to make this cookbook happen.  First, all recipes had to be typed!  No computers back in 1981, so we had volunteer teacher and parent typists, and the parent volunteers also submitted recipes.  We made an assembly line for the copying process and putting together the book (3 brass fasteners hold it together.) We also had an organized delivery process, and we shared cooking stories of which recipe we made and loved for years thereafter.

When a faculty has this much camaraderie, the students also benefit.  We worked together to help kids, just the same as we worked on everything else in the building. The staff and the students partnered on many worthwhile fundraisers, plays, concerts, and events.  Once, we even spelled out "GO STEELERS" on the football field when the Steelers were in the Super Bowl.  Teachers worked wot make an outline of the letters with crepe paper and buckets of water to freeze the paper in place, and classrooms were assigned which letter in which their class was to stand.  Another teacher arranged for a flyover and an aerial picture to be taken.  The entire school - all 1500 kids and 100+ staff - were engaged in this project, which also made the local news. 

Camaraderie is such an important part of teaching.  In many ways, teachers are like inhabitants of their own little islands when they are in their individual classrooms. and the camaraderie makes the journey through the years of teaching so pleasant. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestionsRittman 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 or we will come into YOUR classroom via  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 web page 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. 

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  1. I agree, NAI was someplace special I am glad I got to spend ten years on that staff!

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