My favorite teachers growing up could always captivate a classroom. They were great orators of curriculum, but also providers of valuable life lessons. One thing I admired about my teachers was the ease with which they made the job seem. This year, and every year on the first day of school, I am nervous as can be, worried I will mispronounce a student's name. That feeling subsides pretty quickly and I slip into "Mr. Walls mode", a version of myself with the dial turned way up. I am not acting. I am genuine, but I would be lying if I said I am as outgoing in life as I am in front of a class of students. I do what I do because my kids deserve an engaging environment. However, I know early on that my personality was not going to produce that level of charisma on its own. I was going to have to carve out an extension of myself. And, I have.
I have been reflecting alot lately and decided it would be a good time to review my Myer-Briggs personality type and see if I have evolved at all. There is a deeper, personal reason for this reflection taking place. I find that the assessment offered on 16personalities.com is rather accurate and easy for anyone to complete, so I headed over there to update my assessment. Sure enough, I have changed some, from an INTJ to an ISTJ. This was a nominal change, but I believe I more closely reflect an ISTJ personality type because I tend to think alongside the concrete side. Structure and direction is something I need and value.
As the RTI Coordinator in my school, I had all of our students complete this assessment at the beginning of the year. It was a big surprise to them to find out that I was as introverted as I said, because they see a Mr. Walls that is full of energy and bounces off the walls in an effort to engage them in any way. It always makes for a fun conversation and I tell them that I am not acting; that personality is an authentic version of myself. I simply have different goals in front of a group of students than I do in public or at home.
That got me thinking, however. My responses to this 16 personalities assessment probably would not be the same if "Mr. Walls" were completing the survey. He's a different guy, so I completed the assessment one more time, but now I was using the lens of my upbeat, 7:30 Monday morning self. What a difference, and what fun! Mr. Walls is not the same person that I am. In fact, he's pretty much a polar opposite.
I imagine that naturally extroverted teachers might not see this much of a difference, but for the rest of us, you can relate. This is the person my students see and interact with. As an introvert, let me tell you, being Mr. Walls is exhausting. I still consider this to be an extension of my real personality, though, even though it may be very different from my typical demeanor. Teachers, if you have 20 minutes to spare (and who doesn't), give this exercise a try and blog or Tweet about it to your PLN. See what they say about your personality type. And as always, feel free to keep the conversation going in the comments section below.