During my fourth or fifth year of teaching, we were required to take a course or two for professional development. The course I chose required me to tape continuously at least ninety minutes in my classroom. Easy breezy, right? We were then required to listen to the tape and evaluate our interactions with students. There was a rubric to complete as we listened. The course instructor introduced this assignment by talking about teacher/student interaction and how much of it tended to be negative. Well, of course I thought, ‘Not me!’ I was young and fresh and energetic, and I loved my students and my students loved me. 

There was no way I was a negative ninny. No way. So, I completed the assignment, sat down with my pencil and rubric, ready to listen to an upbeat, uplifting, and positive teacher. The problem was my tape must have been mixed up with someone else’s tape because that woman I was listening to...who was she? Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. I was shocked. And embarrassed. And horrified. And I felt so bad for some of my students. 

I taught 13 years without Honorable Character before it came into my realm of existence in 2008. And I can, with absolute conviction, say I will never again teach without Honorable Character. Why? Honorable Character is great for students and for parents, but it is just as great, if not greater, for me. It provides me a structure to stay focused on the good choices my students make every day and all day long. Honorable Character holds my feet to the fire because it gives me immediate feedback as to how I am interacting with my students. Am I seeing the good things? Am I acknowledging the good things? I like myself better with Honorable Character, because without it, I am a character! 

Barbara L., M.Ed., Master Teacher 

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