As I look at my original MBTI preferences, I came back as an ESFJ. I looked at the descriptors and really didn’t feel like that fit me very well, especially the part about “making daily routines into gracious living” (Lawrence, 5). My day to day life is anything but gracious or routine! I decided that I felt more at home as an ESFP, at my “best when free to act on impulses, responding the needs of the here and now” (Lawrence 6).
I have been reflecting on these categories for the last few months and really looking at not only how I behave in my day to day life, but how my personality affects both the way I teach and interact with my peers. Prior to taking this course, I may not have even placed myself as an extrovert. I was always shy as a child and often would not have been caught dead volunteering to do anything in front of a larger group of people. I was very self-conscious. I am learning, however, that this is different from being an extrovert or introvert. In looking at where I get my energy from, it is definitely from being around others, good conversation and thoughts to stimulate my mind. Attending our class from 4-7 is a perfect example. I will come in to class feeling exhausted from the day, but once our discussions begin to flow, I feel much more energized. I get excited during conversations and sometimes almost can’t even contain myself to wait until it is my turn to speak. I have recently noticed that I actually have a terrible habit of interrupting people! So, extrovert it is (or, I am)!
The Sensing piece was a no-brainer for me. Just the facts ma’am. I have a background in environmental studies and biology. I am a very hands on learner and need to have a multi-sensory learning experience in order to fully process what I am studying. I am impulsive in my day to day life and like to try to be practical, logical and resourceful (all descriptors Lawrence uses for an ESFP).
Feeling was also a no brainer. I am a very sensitive person, generally not only for my own needs and feelings but to those around me as well. I always want to help and make things better- in fact, I think this is why I often have a million unfinished projects (along with my impulsivity and “being caught up in enthusiasms” (Lawrence 6).
Really, the trouble spot for me has been this Perceving or Judging piece. It wasn’t until I re-read the Gordon Lawrence article and noticed that he discusses that our type should show us “at our best” and “valuing” certain traits or scenarios. I think that my first screen came back as an ESFJ, because organization is a skill that I am currently focusing a lot of time and effort on and am very focused on. I was also coming to my screening right from work and in a very work-based frame of mind. At work, I probably am more of an ESFJ. When I am in my element and comfortable and just being myself, I fit more into the ESFP category. This reminded me of a couple of different things.
First; the importance of remembering that Type is an indicator of our personal preferences. It is not something that is set in stone or a definitely formula that determines how we react and relate to everything. As Gordon Lawrence demonstrates in his article, Type is more of a guideline to show us what or how we prefer things to be. It is a guideline to help us see where our strengths and weaknesses lie as professionals, friends, parents, everything. It is a guideline to help us become more well-rounded teachers and provide better lessons for the students we struggle to reach. But it is not the end all, be all and if you don’t fit like a cookie into its cutter with your type, that’s ok, because your type may be a little different in every part of your life.
Second; as someone who is currently going through a lot of change and coping with (or at least attempting to) a lot of stress, my type may not fit my life right now. I remember Marilyn saying that when we are under extreme stress, we revert to our opposite dominant function. My dominant function is typically Extroverted Sensing. When I am stressed, all I want to do is find peace, quiet, organization and clarity. I become more of an Introverted Thinking person in an attempt to regain clarity. I have found myself question what the indicator told me several times over the last few months, but I think it is truly a result of what I am going through in my life right now. I have enjoyed this learning process about both myself and my students and look forward to taking this knowledge and applying it to my life in and out of school.