115: Bonus Edition- Interview with Dede Rittman

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Dede Faltot Rittman graduated from Edinboro University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary English and attended the University of Pittsburgh for post-graduate credits. After two years at Penn Hills, she began teaching English and Theater in the North Allegheny School District, a position she held for thirty-five years. For thirty-two of those years, Dede worked with underachieving students and those with special needs.

Known as “the Bunny Teacher,” Dede affectionately called her students her “bunnies,” and one year for her birthday, two of her English classes bought her a real rabbit, Binky Rittman. Dede used bunny stamps and stickers for rewards and incentives, and when students were at home sick and requested homework, Dede wrote each one a personal note, adding a bunny stamp and a lollipop!

An avid golfer, Dede coached both Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys Golf at North Allegheny.

Dede always thought she would teach for forty years, but when her husband and best friend, Scott, was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer in December 2009, she retired to care for him in the final stages of his illness. Scott died in 2012.

After retiring, Dede began her own company, Rittman Publishing, LLC, which places an emphasis on teaching the three C’s: Confidence, Communication, and Creativity, whether working with student teachers, special needs students in theater, or those who need one-on-one tutoring. She authored ‘Student Teaching- The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher’ and  ‘Grady Gets Glasses,’ her first children’s book.

Quotables

  • The best thing that ever happened was inclusion.
  • Teachers set the example.
  • Empathy can be taught.
  • Devotion is really important.
  • Sometimes we don’t want to face what’s going on in our lives and we blame it on our jobs.
  • The more I gave of myself, the more rewards I received.
  • Teacher leaders, your attitude will set the tone for the school climate.
  • No one was ever late to my class because they felt safe and loved.

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Dede’s Stamp of Approval

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About the author, Adam &

I am an educator of almost a decade, passionate about cultivating talent in aspiring and new teachers through practical tips and strategies. My blog, book, and podcast are geared towards empowering teachers to enter the profession and stay there due to the advice and encouragement I provide. We have a real need in our nation for strong leaders in classrooms, and I believe its my calling and duty to coach teachers to achieve and maintain best teaching practices in order to drive the growth and success of our students in and outside the classroom.