Prior to entering the teaching profession, I was an Account Representative for a health insurance company and felt sure that I was meant to be in a sales and marketing role. I am creative, energetic, outgoing and most of all, I like to be happy and make people happy. Little did I know that I would find my calling-or my calling would find me-in rural Alleghany County, North Carolina. The strengths that I felt were ideal in the sales and marketing field are actually what makes me an effective teacher. As an educator, I have many strengths, and quite a few weaknesses, but today I will write about the top three strengths I have as an educator, particularly in reaching English Language Learners.
1. Personality & Temperament
Back when I was in college, I took a temperament test and the results were not surprising at all. The results indicated that I am strongly sanguine (social and pleasure seeking), with choleric (ambitious and leader-like) coming in at a close second. I think I am a sanguine through and through and that can be both a benefit as well as a detriment as a teacher. However, that choleric part(even though I personally don't think it's very strong) helps keep me in check and helps me stay focused on my goals and objectives. While I don't seek to be liked by my students, it does help to be likeable. I have the ability to capture their hearts and minds. And being a people person definitely helps in relating to parents as well as fellow educators.
What You See Is What You Get. There is no pretense here. I am positive, but I tell it like it is and don't beat around the bush. Most importantly, kids know that I care about their best interest, not just how well they do in my class. I don't teach curriculum, I teach students and I teach the "whole student". Even though it's been years since I was a teenager, I haven't forgotten the struggles and challenges that come during those years and especially if they are immigrants and don't communicate well in English. Bottom line, students, parents and administrators know that I'm not perfect, but I am real and it helps me connect with the students.
3. Flexible and Adaptable.
I will do whatever it takes to get the job done. I love the organization that comes with teaching because as a sanguine I need those boundaries, however, I easily adapt to change. Curve balls don't usually freak me out too much and there are lots of those in education. I'm really good about finding a plan B, even in the worst of times.
I really could go on and on. Education is a good fit for me, especially the ESL field. I love the multiculturalism that it brings to my classes. Lastly, I love teens. Can you believe this? Sometimes I can't either, but I do. I love advocating for them, especially for the least of these. Like any occupation, there are aspects of my job that I dislike and find overwhelming, but overall I feel that I have lots to offer my ESL students and the school district as a whole.
I think this post will be good to read on days when I'm feeling discouraged and second guessing myself. I have lots of growing to do, but overall I think I'm exactly where I need to be.