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I want my students to be as excited to learn as I am to teach them

Do you remember when you were in school?  Did you have a favourite class (other than lunch and study hall)?  Did you have a favourite teacher?  Was there one special teacher who turned on your brain’s light bulb, and made you LIKE a subject and/or learning for the first time?

Students recognize the teachers who really enjoy teaching, and their time in the classroom.  Good teachers know that adding some zest and passion, along with some humor and fun, will help students to learn, and even help them to like the subject and the class.

When I was in the classroom for 37 years, 35 at North Allegheny Intermediate High School, our building was filled with talented and passionate teachers, and we reveled in making our lessons even better.  My good friend who taught Latin organized Saturnalia, complete with decorations in the cafeteria,  which transformed the cafe into a Roman holiday venue.  A World Cultures teacher had assorted outfits, hats, and headdresses – turning himself into many famous people in history, including Buddha! Another friend, a Geometry teacher, made rhymes and movements along with a few steps, in order to help kids remember formulas.  I loved doing the extra research to “hook” my students and make them interested in something that I was required to teach that could be considered “dry.”  In fact, as a review before the big test, I played ALL the parts in Julius Caesar, dying on my desk. Kids always remember that scene, as well as Marc Antony’s famous “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech. All of these examples helped students to become more interested and to learn.

I saw an article about a teacher in Oregon who has actually made his students like Math.  I think he has even made ME like his class, just from one short video!  Here is the link to see this energized and energizing teacher:

Students are bound by law to attend school, but they are not bound by law to like it or to learn. It is my belief that teachers should give some extra attention to making their classes interesting and engaging.  Students WILL learn from a teacher who is passionate about his subject!  I know – from first-hand experience!

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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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