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"Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students."

Teachers in Oklahoma walked out of the classroom this past week, and their low salaries were not the only reason.  They were protesting the conditions under which they are teaching- outdated and crumbling textbooks, broken student furniture, lack of supplies for students, and more.

If you have not seen any of these pictures, take a look at this article:

For years, these teachers have been trying to bring out the best in their students under terrible conditions.I feel sure that there were many discussions of how both teachers and students felt devalued and disrespected by the school board and those who provide funds for materials.  I can remember years ago when our TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD books were in terrible condition.  We had some back ordered, but I had to hand out the ones I had taped together, or in some cases, taped, and then circled with a rubber band.  The kids felt like they were not important enough to receive a “real” book, not one that had been put together by me.  To set the example of learning through hardship, I used the same paperback edition of MOCKINGBIRD for 35 years.  No binding was left; the entire book was loose leaf, bound by 2 rubber bands.  I could literally “take out chapter 12.”  This book held all my notes, all my references, and all of the important highlighted parts to review.  I always told the kids that it is not the condition of the book that is important, but what is inside the book. My point is this:  no one likes to feel devalued and unimportant.  The students in the Oklahoma schools do not even have decent chairs to sit on, and their books are both outdated and falling apart.

Can you imagine working in a business that has demanding expectations, and then given no resources with which to meet those expectations?  That is exactly what the Oklahoma teachers have been doing for years!

I applaud these teachers for standing up for themselves and their students!  It is time!  Educating our students today so they can become leaders of tomorrow is paramount.

I hope the teachers get everything they deserve, and more – including the respect of the community.

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The author

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. Nationwide, colleges and universities are using her book, and Dede accepts speaking engagements around the country, with some focusing on education, and some on motivation. She is a guest blogger for educational magazines and was the Co-host of The Total Education Q and A Show, which was heard around the world on 120 stations in 80 countries on Dede gives presentations around the globe on both of her books through and . Dede writes a weekly blog for teacher inspiration at 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. Dede has also won two Album of Distinction Awards from Delta Kappa Gamma in 2015 and 2017; 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!

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