Today I started reading Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Teachers, and I started avoiding the inevitable introspective work absolutely foundational to building resilience. In fact, I started writing this blog entry two hours ago, and I am now just finishing the third sentence. In between the sentences, I’ve washed dishes, made the bed, and put away clothes. And now I feel ready to write about what I’ve learned about myself.
While none of the knowledge I’ve gained this morning is new, coming to understand how I need to use it is unfamiliar. And I am committing myself to working through Elena’s Aguilar’s program so that I can the resilience I need to be confident in my teaching.
In Aguilar’ first chapter focuses on learning about our selves so that we can play to our strengths and wisely direct our energies. Clear self-knowledge gives us confidence in our actions and decisions. For Aguilar, self-knowledge is true power, and the key to gaining self-knowledge is a deep understanding of how these five elements make up our selves:
- Strengths and Aptitudes
- Socio-political identity
Gaining my own self-knowledge this morning I worked through exercises for values and personality. While it was easy for me to identify 10 values, I had more difficulty narrowing these down to three essential ones.
Upon reflection of my three fundamental values, I can see how the remaining seven values stem from these three. For without kindness and gratitude, could we hope for equity and peace? Doesn’t it seem that embedded in ideas of equity and peace are the values of kindness and gratitude? If we cannot be thankful for the diversity of people and thought that surrounds us, then we cannot expect equity. Being fair and impartial comes from a sense of kindness, of affection, for all in order to see all impartially. Without hope, how could anyone forgive? For me, it is a faith in the underlying goodness of most that creates the hope I center my life around. Without this hope could we expect there to be peace anyone’s life? in the world?
Then I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test on 16personalities and not surprisingly found that I am in an introverted phase. At the end of this school year, I found myself more exhausted by the people-intensive experience that is school. Luckily, I have time this summer to spend in my head — resting, processing, and planning.
Today, (according to this test) I am perceiving information through sensing — an unexpected result. While I do notice details, I like to make sense of the details to connect them to bigger ideas. I feel more comfortable backward-planning as those who perceive the world through intuition.
I process information through feeling, and I make decisions first looking at people and circumstances and seek a harmonious resolution to any conflict. My heart and body hurt when I cannot make everything right for everyone.
And finally, it is through perceiving that I live my outer life, understanding and adapting to those around me, preferring to take in information and trying to keep myself from being overwhelmed by new ideas. I feel I can best be flexible within a structure, especially in my own teaching.
What I like best about the 16 Personalities test (and perhaps the result) is the noun given to describe all these attributes. I am an ADVENTURER. For these past few hours, I’ve been walking around my house, inside my head, thinking about the idea of being an adventurer. And I wonder how much of this aspect of my personality is programmed by my DNA and how much is from my experience as a military brat. Is there a gene for adventure, for using aesthetics and design to push social conventions and enjoying upsetting traditional expectations? Or do I find satisfaction in the uncomfortable, in the need for change because each time my family moved, I found myself looking for a place within the conventional and ultimately knowing that I belonged outside of it?