Strengths Of An Educator And Parent Education Essay

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Introduction

What personality traits did your favorite high school teacher have? Depending on who you are, what your upbringing was like, and most importantly why those traits stuck out to you would determine your answer. According to StrengthsQuest.com my top five "themes" or strength are positivity, includer, significance, restorative, and adaptability. People change over time; their personality and needs change as well. I'm not entirely sure what career to go into, but I do know I want to help students through teaching, counseling, or coaching. This paper will focus on the strengths an educator or education administrator needs to be successful and how my personality traits will help me be successful in the field of education and as a parent.

Some debate a "good teacher" stems from their grades in college or amount of degrees they hold. The students would know better than anyone. Student bodies evaluate if the teacher is significant as an educator. These students were unable to come up with a specific list of traits that make the "prime" teacher (Witty, 1947).

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Rushton, Murray, & Paunonen, (1983) researched the personality traits of psychology professors teaching in the Canadian universities. Their researched listed many traits. Among them were: sociable, extraverted, supporting, non-authoritarian, s, and shows leadership. Although these traits can be applied to any successful career, no personality trait can be solely attested too being a successful teacher.

Positivity

As far as any job or career goes there is always job stress. If you are working in the education field, as a construction work, waiter, NASA astronaut, or the president of the United States, each has its different responsibilities and pressures. Having a positive attitude helps. Your attitude can affect your personal health when it comes to job stress by comforting it or aggravating it. (Roskies, Louis-Guerin, & Fournier, 1993) According to Strengths Quest, the definition of positivity is "happy go lucky, smiling, generous with praise, celebrate every achievement, and people want to be around you for your positive radiance". In a different Strengths Quest exercise they attribute the negative title of the positive person as being a pushover. As a positive person I don't correlate the words positive and pushover as the same, in fact I perceive them as the opposite.

I see the trait of being positive as a key factor, in any career or life it's self. Being able to see the good in life will get you through almost any situation, be it work or family related. As I'm already working with children, I know firsthand focusing on their positive habits does a lot more then picking out what they did wrong or what wasn't perfect. Even during communicating to children, adults, or senior citizens the tone of your voice is important, along with how you say something. People are more receptive to listening if it is positive instead of ridiculing or a "downer".

What is the source of being positive? There are too many answers for only one to be correct. No substantial research backed up how personality traits are founded. They could come from one's upbringing, genetics, or adopted from friends or family. I suspect that a lot of our personality comes from our culture, and outlook on life, which in turn comes from our upbringing. Parents that smoke around their children increase the risk of substance use, delinquency, bad peer affiliations, aggressive attitudes, and preference for risk taking. (Keyes, Legrand, Iacono, & McGue, 2008) If a simple action can have such a dramatic affect, why can't the way a parent speaks, and presents themselves in any way, positive or negative, have an effect on them? Seeing the glass half full versus being half empty can make the difference between seeing things as a challenge or a daunting fear.

My positive attitude helped me push through high school and working two jobs to help my single mother afford our small fifteen-acre farm. Although my jobs didn't keep our head above water for very long, it did provide me with an excellent work ethic that allows me do to anything I put my head and heart to. It has continued to push me through college and land me several successful jobs and will keep on doing so.

Includer

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Most, if not all, of us have the last kid to be picked for a kickball game. We know how bad it feels and how it affected our self-esteem for years to come. In my experience the "team captains" didn't have the trait of being an includer. Strengths Quest defines an includer as someone that includes everyone into being part of the group, not excluding others, and their life philosophy is "stretch the circle wider" to include as many as people as possible, unconditionally. This trait is a basic necessity for all mankind.

Ledyard (1994) attributed the following characteristics that make up the base of an effective counselor and educator: confident, friendly, accepting, outgoing, productive, and assertive. He also did the same for highly rated educators and counselors and their list included: nurturing, affiliation, and conformity. The common theme to either an effective/highly rated educator is being able to relate and include the participant or student in the activity. By including the student in my life, in a professional fashion, they will be able to relate easier and make my job of helping them that much easier. The key source of my strength of being an includer comes from my upbringing. My mother was a foster parent during my teenage years. I had many teenagers come in and out of my home, most of them being African-American male sex offenders. By including them in the day-to-day activities of the farm they were able to work through their emotional handicaps. The event of helping children that fell through the state system started me on the path of wanting to help children as a career.

Significance

Who in the world doesn't want to be recognized for their efforts? That is the major part of someone that has significance as one of his or her top personality traits. Strengths Quest states that a person wants to be significant and viewed as credible, professional, and successful person, therefore associating with the same kind of people. Also, a life full of goals and achievements will keep pulling you forward and above and beyond the average crowd. Foulkrod, Field, & Brown (2010) conducted research that found all service industry jobs included the same basic principle; personality is correlated with job satisfaction, whereas job satisfaction is connected to performance. In this sense, if you are looking for significance and are satisfied with your job, most commonly you are significant to someone or something.

In my case my significance is the students that come to school every day wanting to learn. If the students didn't come to class or just didn't care then my job has no significance no purpose. Even after those long summer breaks and the first day of school rolls around my need to be significant in the eyes of the students will drive me out of bed to start my day on a good note. The source of me being needed to be significant comes from growing up in shadow of a very successful highly academic older sister. It is in my nature to help others, but this can back fire on me from time to time. There was a case of a highly certified lifeguard that was my boss during the time of an incident. I was showing a new lifeguard the "ropes' of our facility because I felt the need to help them and appear significant to the company. My plan backfired on me due to my superior feeling causing me to trip up on my words resulting in giving the wrong emergency action plan. The emergency action plan I gave was for a different facility.

Restorative

Life presents problems every day. Some are good and others not so good. Luckily for me I have the restorative trait, which essentially is the one that loves to solve problems. Strengths Quest states that people with this trait make excellent math professors/teachers and counselors. We can all see why restorative people like math, for the analytical aspect. The interesting part is that counselors like to solve problems. They don't simply listen to your problems, but assist in fixing them as well. I think the restorative trait will mostly help me through working with a "troubled" student. Their troubles may come from the actual subject, social issues, family conflict, or emotional baggage. Being the problem solver type I can adapt to their needs and work through it.

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I think we all have a little problem solver in us all but for some it may be stronger compared to others. My problem solver attitude came from growing up on a farm. Without having a lot of money for the fancy farm equipment I was forced to come up with resourceful and creative ways of getting a job done. When money was tight and it came down to the family eating or the animals, I would swap my youth and manual labor for animal feed from the surrounding farmers. We both had problems, but by using our restorative qualities we were able to help each other.

Adaptability

Life brings change and being adaptable with the times is always helpful, if not necessary. I would consider being adaptable to be an overall key quality not just necessary for educators. Strengths Quest claims that adaptable people live in the moment, see life as a journey over predetermined, very flexible, and stay productive even in strenuous situations. Strengths Quest also claims the adaptable person makes for a good and productive manager. A manager is associated as someone who controls or directs. A teacher would be the manager of his/her classroom by controlling and directing the students to learn.

Rice (2003) stated that these are the measurable ways for good quality teacher characteristic including; experience, type of teacher certification, specific coursework taken in college, and teachers' own test scores. If a want-to-be teacher really wants to be a good one, adaption is needed. If I end up teaching in an inner city district or in a foreign country, my adaptability will help my very much. I can attribute my ability to being flexible from many years of always changing situations. Within a two-year span I went from a hard working teenager taking care of his family to a homeless high school student living out of his car, now a college student searching for his true purpose. Being adaptable and living day-by-day helped me get through the down slump in my life and helped me embrace the few positives I had, such as amazing high school teachers.

Conclusion

Who can really tell what personality traits make a good educator? We as human beings are all different and therefore all teach and learn differently. Being a problem solver, adaptable, and positive person will lead me down a road to helping people. As I help people I will strive to be significant in their eyes and in life itself that in turn makes me successful. I will then include people in my success, which adds to my significance. I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life but I do know that I will be able to use my strengths for success in whatever I end up doing.