‘BE GOOD’ DOESN’T WORK

 As a new teacher, I noticed that nearly every family in the drop-off line had the same morning ritual.  As children hopped out of the car, strapped on their backpacks, and headed out toward their day, parents would call out, “Be good.”  The children would always holler back, “I will!” as they hurriedly rushed through the school doors.  Once inside the classroom, however, those same children would constantly have to change their color to red, sit out for recess, get notes sent home, or take trips to the principal’s office for not ‘being good’. Usually the same negative behaviors came from the same students, day after day, without any progress. The recurring negative behaviors slowed the flow of each lesson and distracted from learning.  I couldn’t understand it.  I was giving consequences, but nothing was changing.  The teachers and parents wanted the children to ‘be good’.  The students wanted to ‘be good’.  Where was the disconnect?  And why did everything feel so negative?

HONORABLE CHARACTER WORKS

Then came the year that changed everything for me as a teacher!  I came to a school that used the HONORABLE CHARACTER™ system.  HONORABLE CHARACTER™ brought peace and order to my classroom in ways I never could have imagined.  And it was so easy.  All I needed was two posters and pen.

HONORABLE CHARACTER IS SPECIFIC

Teachers know that every good lesson uses examples and non-examples to reinforce concepts.  Character development should be approached in the same way.  When I used other behavior management systems, I only identified and called out non-examples, the negative behaviors.  There was almost no explanation or example of what desirable behaviors would be or look like.  However, with HONORABLE CHARACTER™, students receive the most attention for positive behaviors.  I am able identify and call out 14 positive character traits through HONORABLE CHARACTER™.  I can encourage students by telling them when their behaviors are wise, responsible, or honest.  I can tell them they are diligent, kind, forgiving, and cooperative.  As I teach any lesson, I can quickly call out examples of wisdom, cooperation, or diligence that I see in students.  When I do this, the student I praise is encouraged to continue the behavior, and other students recognize clear examples of wisdom, cooperation, or diligence.  This completely solves the ambiguity of what it means to ‘be good’. 

HONORABLE CHARACTER IS AUTHENTIC

Students naturally demonstrate positive character traits all day long, often going unrecognized for their good choices.  HONORABLE CHARACTER™ finally gives me a tool to acknowledge students making good choices!  With HONORABLE CHARACTER™, the student who pushes in his chair gets praised for orderliness.  The student who quickly takes out his reading book gets praised for obedience.  The student quietly raising her hand gets praised for honor.  As these students are praised and acknowledged, their classmates become encouraged to do the same.  All of this happens in the normal flow of the lesson, in a simple and authentic way that doesn’t distract from the learning process.  Acknowledging ongoing honorable character during every lesson is so much better than other options.  In contrast, programs like ‘character trait of the month’ don’t stick and, quite frankly, don’t create lasting change or real character growth.

HONORABLE CHARACTER IS AFFIRMING

HONORABLE CHARACTER™ affirms students who make good choices.  Students are recognized when they are demonstrating honorable character.  Students begin to see themselves as wise, diligent, kind, forgiving, honest and obedient.  These attributes become part of their identity and they begin to see themselves as they are…students with honorable character!

HONORABLE CHARACTER PROMOTES POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS

HONORABLE CHARACTER™ cultivates positive relationships.  To strengthen my teacher-student relationship, I have the opportunity to encourage and affirm students numerous times every day.  When I inevitably do correct negative behaviors or give consequences for poor choices, there is a lot of relational equity built up between the students and me already.  The students know I care about them, and because of that, can accept correction and are less defensive.  The students usually return to the lesson faster and with more normalcy.  The teacher-parent relationship is strengthened, also.  When I send home conduct cards filled with positive HONORABLE CHARACTER™ traits I saw in their children throughout the week, parents know their children are cared for, seen, and appreciated by me.  The student-peer relationships can be enhanced because HONORABLE CHARACTER™ is training students to see the best in themselves and others.  Frequently students ask to give HONORABLE CHARACTER™ numbers to each other when they see a classmate making wise choices! Of course, I always say, “YES!” 

HONORABLE CHARACTER™ is my dream come true. HONORABLE CHARACTER™ allows my lessons to flow smoothly and with fewer distractions.  Peace and order rule in my classroom and a positive, edifying, affirming learning environment is the result.  Thank you, HONORABLE CHARACTER™!

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