| Characters |
|Mrs. Long:|| ||the teacher|
|Tony:|| ||an outgoing boy in Mrs. Long's class|
|Freda:|| ||a nice girl in Mrs. Long's class|
|Peter:|| ||a bashful boy in Mrs. Long's class|
"Phew!" said Tony as he walked into class from the hall. "Mrs. Long, someone must have left their gym socks in their locker too long. It stinks in here!"
"Mrs. Long, I had my spelling homework in my binder. My sister must have taken the wrong paper this morning. I'll bring it tomorrow," explained Freda.
"Mrs. Long, my mother forgot to give me my lunch money. May I call her, please?" asked Peter.
Mrs. Long looked at the students in her classroom. Everyone was getting ready for school to start. Several children had placed their markers in the name chart. Most had hung up their backpacks and were sharpening pencils. Mrs. Long thought about the comments Tony, Freda, and Peter made when they arrived in class. She wondered if each of them understood what honesty and responsibility meant. Mrs. Long decided she would try to find out.
Mrs. Long called Tony to a table at the back of the room. "Tony, what exactly did you think was... Tony! What is that smell? Tony?" Mrs. Long could see part of a lunch sack sticking out of Tony's backpack. "Let's check your backpack, Tony." She pulled out the crumpled sack.
"Phew," said Mrs. Long. "Looks like someone forgot to empty out last week's lunch. I think we found the source of the sour smell."
"Oops," said Tony sheepishly, as he quickly grabbed the sack and threw the sour milk from his sack into the trash.
Freda was next. Mrs. Long asked Freda to bring her binder to the table. Then she asked, "Freda, have you looked through everything in your binder?"
"Oh, yes," answered Freda. "I looked through everything. I know my spelling isn't there."
Mrs. Long said, "Tell you what, Freda, let's look for it together." Mrs. Long and Freda looked in her binder. Mrs. Long went through the pages one by one. Near the back, Mrs. Long found Freda's spelling paper. It was not completed.
"Oops," said Freda as she turned and went to her seat.
Finally, Peter hung up the phone after speaking with his mother. He walked back to his jacket and reached inside the pocket. "Mrs. Long, I found my lunch money. It was in my pocket all along," said Peter.
Mrs. Long asked Peter, "Why did you think it was your mother who forgot?" "Oops," answered Peter, looking down.
Mrs. Long decided to talk with the class about honesty and responsibility. She asked if anyone could explain how honesty and responsibility go hand in hand.
Peter spoke up first. "I know what you mean, Mrs. Long. I said my mom had forgotten to give me my lunch money when I'm the one who forgot to check my pocket. I wasn't being honest with myself, and I blamed it on my mother."
"Me, too," joined in Freda, " I didn't do my spelling homework, and I told Mrs. Long my sister took it. I was not honest, and I did not take responsibility for getting my work done."
Tony raised his hand. "I forgot to take out my lunch from last week and blamed the awful sour milk smell on someone else when it was really my responsibility."
"Phew!" said the class.
Freda raised her hand slowly. "Thank you, Mrs. Long, for teaching us about honesty. I feel better because I took responsibility for what I've done, or didn't do, and told the truth."
"Me, too," said the others.
Mrs. Long smiled for the first time that day. "Thank you, class. You have shown me that you know that honesty and responsibility are important skills. Now I think we are really ready to begin our day."