Dede Rittman is a 37-year veteran English/ Theater teacher from Pittsburgh, PA, teaching 35 years in the North Allegheny School District, where she also was Varsity Head Boys’ Golf Coach for 33 years, directed the spring musical and talent shows, and contributed to many district initiatives. She was a PA Teacher of the Year semi-finalist in 2011, the year she had to retire when her husband, Scott, was dying from stage four colon cancer. Dede’s book STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER was published in September 2014 and the book has won 8 awards!
Today on the podcast, she shares so many stories about kindness, about how one small gesture can make a HUGE impact on our students, and shares her philosophy and ideas on how to build trust with your students in the classroom!
We talk about the BEST thing any child had ever said to her (something that was incredibly moving and powerful), how important it is to have empathy for your kids, and how empathy actually helps you gain trust and build the relationship you have with them!
We also dive into the vital words she would say on the first day of school to all of her students, what her greatest joy was in education, and one of the biggest WHY’s to building and creating these types of relationships with your students.
Below are some of her incredibly wise quotes captured from our talk:
We really don’t understand how many problems kids put in their backpack everyday from home… its our job as educators to help them to be able to unpack those at least while they are at school, so they can work
One person really can make a huge difference
Kids talk! When they have something enjoyable, they tell the other teachers.
You have to be who you are
You get what you give… its about trust
You can get kids to do anything if they trust you, and you trust them
It always comes back to… how do YOU feel? Well, how do you think THEY feel?
I passed up teaching honors english for 35 years… I always kept the kids that really needed me
NO ONE IS GOING TO LEARN FROM A TEACHER THEY DON’T LIKE
When we are kind to others, kids see that, and it makes them be kind to others
This is not brain surgery, this is simple caring about another persons feelings
This was such an awesome interview and I can’t wait for you to listen!
Dede writes a weekly blog for teacher inspiration at www.bunnyteacher.blogspot.com.
GRADY GETS GLASSES, Dede’s children’s book, just came out in hardcover. The book won Best New Children’s Book 2016 from The Authors’ Zone, best second edition in 2018 from the Authors’ Zone, and a Bronze Moonbeam Award for Best Book with Merchandise in October, 2018. Dede has also won three Album of Distinction Awards from Delta Kappa Gamma in 2015 ,2017 and 2018; the prestigious I AM L.E.E. (Living Education Everyday) Award in 2016; and she was inducted into the
North Allegheny Sports Hall of Fame in October of 2017.
Dede works very hard on promoting her books and speaking engagements. She enjoys continuing teaching grades kindergarten to college through her books!
Connect with Dede:
LinkedIn –Dede Faltot Rittman
Tumblr –The Bunny Teacher