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“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change”

Trying to keep New Year’s Resolutions? Dede shares one she thinks is essential and how to keep it.

New Year’s Eve is a great chance to begin again.  It is a time to reflect on the past, to assess one’s mistakes and triumphs, to put the past in perspective, and to plan the methods to make the next year better.  Sounds easy, right?  But, it is not.

Too many people try to overhaul their entire lives in a matter of days, and because we are all creatures of habit, changing EVERYTHING does not and cannot work, so we fail.  I have a better idea.

I say to change just one thing about your life, and many other facets of your life will change.  I want to help you to get organized.  One’s resolution cannot be simply to “get organized.”  That category is too broad to conquer.  Please allow me to share a few strategies that will make your family life, professional life, and social life to “flow” better.

First, you need a dry erase calendar hanging in your kitchen. Have a family meeting, and announce that everyone is responsible for posting their school events, sporting events, and other important events on the monthly calendar. Parents – this could include your out of town dates and social dates as well. Focal point – the kitchen, where everyone congregates and everyone is on the same page.  You might need to make some reminders for the kids, but this calendar is going to make everyone’s life better and less stressed, because there will be no surprises.

Parents- I know you like your phone calendar, and the phone provides great reminders, but you actually need a calendar that is comprehensive and lets you see the “big picture” of what is going on in your professional life.  I suggest you buy or make a large desk calendar for the year. Write everything you need to do on this calendar.  I used this method for all 37 years I taught high school- where I also coached varsity golf, directed the musical and the talent shows, worked with student council, and served on several boards. (My average work week was 60-90 hours)  My calendar included faculty meetings, dates I had to monitor detention hall, department meetings, parent meetings, rehearsal times, auditions, guidance meetings, and everything else.  I could know my entire week at a glance, and plan for it accordingly.  My stress level was reduced because I had no surprises –  I knew my responsibilities.  I know this method can help you, too.

I have shared this strategy with thousands in my book for student teachers. STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER ( I have also shared the calendar with my own students for 37 years and the hundreds of kids I tutored.  Results included better grades, better time management skills, more time to study, and more restful sleep, because of less stress.

I hope the calendar method will help your new year become a great new year!

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

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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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