Teacher Tuesday: Conflicting personalities in the classroom

Everyone has to work with people who have conflicting personalities at some time in their life, and teachers are no different. When you are confronted with challenging personalities in the classroom, take it as an opportunity to observe behavior and turn those resistors into the stars of the class. Ask yourself why you struggle with these personalities. Maybe you are a thinker and you’re confronted with a class full of adventurers. Rather than discriminating against a personality, how can you take this opportunity to learn something about yourself?

As an at home activity:

-  Write down the students you struggle with and categorize them by the personalities: THINKER, ORGANIZER, GIVER, and ADVENTURER.  What characterizes these students?  Is it the same qualities?  What do they do that annoys you the most?  How can you directly, and in supportive way, acknowledge their strengths while confronting their behavior to ask for what you need?  How can you give them more of what they might need?

- What are the strengths of someone with their personality? Do you know someone as an adult with a similar personality?

- What do you see this student doing when they are 25 years old? Does your attitude toward them encourage their success or encourage their failure?

- What are your personality strengths that can help this student succeed? What’s something you admire about their personality? Maybe you have a similar personality. Can you pinpoint the cause of your feelings toward this student?

Every day, about 7,000 students dropout of high school. There are varying reasons why students struggle in school from a poor transition from middle school to high school to insufficient academic and social skills but a unsupportive teacher should not be one of reasons for failure.

Often unknowingly, as teachers or as managers in companies, we can discriminate against people because they have gifts, talents and personality traits that are different from our own. If we can observe this, and realize that often what annoys us the most in others is what we need the most to grow, then we can be patient with ourselves as we build these areas and see others more fully so that they can grow and flourish.

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2 Responses to “Teacher Tuesday: Conflicting personalities in the classroom”

  1. Lmaylee says:

    This article makes me think about the documentary, The Race to Nowhere. Using what we know from Howard Gardner and others is best practice for recognizing children’s strengths and helping them grow. I like your four categories which educators can use for themselves as well as to help children learn more about themselves.
    Lisa, Co-Founder of Let’s Choose

    • Carol J. Carter says:

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I followed the link you provided and see exciting similarities between your work and part of our mission at LifeBound. If you haven’t been to http://www.lifebound.com yet, you should check it out. PEOPLE SMARTS, GIFTS AND TALENTS FOR TEENAGERS, and many of our other books emphasize the important role social and emotional intelligence plays in making successful students become successful adults.

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