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Retired North Allegheny teacher's book gives scoop on profession

| Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Retired North Allegheny Intermediate High School teacher Dede Faltot Rittman, 62, of McCandless wrote “Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop From A Master Teacher,” released in September 2014.
“Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop From A Master Teacher,” released in September 2014, was written by Retired North Allegheny Intermediate High School teacher Dede Faltot Rittman, 62, of McCandless.

A retired English and theater teacher has put her 37 years of experience into her new book, “Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher.”

“I want to give student teachers and new teachers some sensible advice to help them in their teaching experience,” said Dede Faltot Rittman, 62, of McCandless.

Rittman, who taught at North Allegheny Intermediate High School for many years, said everything from minding one's manners to developing a “teacher voice” is covered in her book.

“I saw so many student teachers who did not seem to be prepared for the challenges they faced,” Rittman said, “from what to wear as a professional to how to be the teacher and not the friend of their students.”

Any teacher should be helping students be the best they can be, and that is the biggest lesson any reader of her book can learn, Rittman said.

“Teaching is not just about your subject,” Rittman said. “You must remember that you are teaching human beings with real challenges and fears.”

Rittman self-published her book through Word Association Publishers, and it was released Sept. 27.

It already has been picked up by faculty at three Pennsylvania colleges — Thiel College in Greenville, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and Point Park University in Pittsburgh — for use in their education programs, Rittman said.

Stephen Parks, an adjunct faculty member and supervisor of student teachers at Point Park, said he is using Rittman's book in an educational methods course that undergraduates take before they begin student teaching.

“I believe the book that Dede authored gives great practical advice on how to be successful as a student teacher,” said Parks, 56, of Cranberry. “It is a must read for anyone who is getting ready to student teach.”

The book is available for purchase at

Rittman retired from teaching in June 2011 to care for her husband, Scott, who had colon cancer.

After he died in May 2012, Rittman wrote her book.

“Scott and I both cried that I had to retire,” Rittman said. “We both felt that I made a difference because of how much I loved all facets of school.”

Melanie Donahoo is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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