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In class we were required to take a Strengths Quest Survey that consisted of a variety of questions to adequately display what our five personality strengths were. After taking the survey, we printed off the five ‘signature themes' that related to us and a brief explanation of what each strength meant. The five strengths generated from the survey questions that best described my personality were discipline, “WOO,” consistency, responsibility, and achiever. In this paper I will tell you about each of the five strengths and relate them to my future carrier as an elementary school teacher.
The Five Strengths
The five strengths include: discipline, “WOO,” consistency, responsibility, and achiever. Discipline is when your world needs to be predictable. My weeks and days always need to be ordered and planned. I always set up routines, and I always feel the need to be in control. Second, “WOO,” stands for winning others over. I enjoy meeting new people and getting them to like me. Strangers are rarely intimidating to me, and I enjoy discussing certain topics with them. I am usually never at a loss of words, I enjoy getting to know people and “breaking the ice” to make a connection with them. The third strength, consistency, is balance is important to me. I most often treat people the same, no matter what their situation in life is or what they have been through. I believe that living in an environment where the rules are clear and are applied to everyone in an equal manner is the best solution. Responsibility is the fourth strength. I always take charge of anything I commit to. Whether big or small, it always gets done. Last, an achiever helps explain one's drive. I always have a constant drive for achievement. Learning something new or achieving a goal always brightens my day. I tend to feel that every day starts at zero, and I am never satisfied until I achieve what I wanted for that particular day. If a day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, then I always feel dissatisfied (“Strengths Quest,” 2007).
Teaching kids has always had a positive impact upon my life. From teaching tennis to three-year-olds to babysitting, I have always enjoyed kids. That is why I decided to become an elementary teacher. However, not everyone can be an elementary teacher. It takes certain qualities to make a good teacher. “When we talk about the quality of someone's teaching, we address issues of technique, content, and presentation” (Hassett, p. 2). However, according to Kennedy (2008), “Teacher quality has become a hot topic. Everyone wants to measure it, reward it, or improve it. The problem is that teacher quality has become such a ubiquitous term that it lacks a clear meaning” (Kennedy, 2008, p. 1). If teacher quality lacks meaning, then what makes a good elementary teacher? Ron Clark (2004), wrote a book called The Excellent 11. In this book, Clark gives eleven qualities that he believes make a good teacher from his past experiences as a teacher. These eleven qualities include: enthusiasm, adventure, creativity, reflection, balance, compassion, confidence, humor, common sense, appreciation, and resilience (Clark, 2004). In this paper I will be relating the five strengths generated to me from the strengths quest survey to some of the main qualities of a good elementary teacher, and I will also give some ways they may hurt my ambitions.
Discipline has played a huge role in my life. I often cannot stand it when my plans do not work or my routines are not followed through. Often I need to feel in control and know that my day is going to go the way I planned it. This may seem like a negative strength, but it can also have its benefits. Having a daily routine or plan can make your day run smoothly, especially while in a classroom setting. Lesson plans are a huge propriety in teaching, without them the teacher would not know what to do. “Schools must offer structure and stability, and teachers must make sure that there is a certain amount of organization and discipline in the daily routine. It's important for them to have a consistent schedule, but it shouldn't get to the point where it is mundane and every day is similar to the one before it” (Clark, 2004, p. 115). With discipline and organization in the classroom, I can create a friendlier environment and make learning more enjoyable for my students.
“WOO,” also known as winning others over, means that I truly enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them. This has to be solely one of my most important strengths out of the five. If one is not approachable or willing to meet new people, then facing new students each year and their parents is going to be a hard task. In The Essential 55, Ron Clark (2003) talks about creating a relationship with students and parents to ease the conflict that comes from classroom discipline. He says, “In order for a classroom discipline plan to work, it is imperative that you have the support of the parents. Their backing and belief in your judgment will go a long way in making for an enjoyable and hassle-free year” (Clark, 2003, p. 169). By building a relationship with the parents, one may have the support of the parents that makes discipline or any other conflict easier.
The third strength is consistency. In consistency, balance is very important. I believe that no matter what situation someone is in, or what they have been through, all people should be treated the same. However, consistency plays a different role in elementary education. Ron Clark (2004) says, “There is so much going on in our lives, and many of us aren't taking the time to relax and find a way to create a reasonable balance that will allow us to fit in all the activities we want to be involved with. This is especially bad for teachers and parents, because when we aren't able to find a good balance for all we have on our plates, our children are usually the ones who suffer” (Clark, 2004, p. 108). As a future elementary teacher, it is important that we find balance in our lives. Not only by treating students the same, but by balancing our lives at work and at home. Clark (2004) also says, “More and more it seems that compassion is missing from our society, and many children are growing up with a lack of consideration for others. When we show kindness to a child, we are doing more than passing on a good deed. We are building a vision in the eyes of that child on how others should be treated” (Clark, 2004, p. 122). This relates to consistency. It is part of the need to treat people the same, no matter what the situation is.
Elementary teachers hold huge responsibilities within their jobs. “Public school teachers spend an average of 49.3 hours per week meeting their responsibilities, including 11.2 hours per week on noncompensated duties. Customary responsibilities for teachers include planning and executing instructional lessons, assessing students based on specific objectives derived from a set curriculum, and communicating with parents” (Teacher- Responsibilities of Elementary and Secondary School Teachers). Elementary teachers hold many responsibilities. Anything that one may commit to, whether it be large or small, one must follow it through to completion.
The last strength is achiever. I am a very driven person who always puts my best effort into everything I do. This is one of the most important strengths out of my five strengths given in the Strengths Quest Survey. Without the drive and the need for achievement, the world would be boring. Your drive or ambition is what keeps you moving. Ron Clark (2004) always tells his students, “Preparation is the key to success. No matter what we do in life, the best way to ensure that we will be successful is to make sure we are prepared” (Clark, 2004, p. 152). If we are prepared for what each day may bring, we will achieve our goal of self-satisfaction and be prepared for what the next day may bring.
Not only are there positive attributes relating to my future career in elementary education, but there are also negative attributes for each of the five strengths given. In discipline, the need for routines can lead to a sudden lack of creativity and enthusiasm. It is important to “mix-up” the routine and add little things into the lesson plans to make the curriculum more exciting. There are also negative attributes in “WOO.” While enjoying the challenge of meeting new people, it is important to set a boundary between one's job as an elementary teacher and one's personal life so not to cause a conflict or favoritism. In consistency, it is definitely good to treat people the same, such as in grading the students' papers. However, in trying to balance one's personal life and job, one may become hesitant to go places or be involved in activities that one's students may attend. These are just a few of the negative attributes that elementary teachers, including myself, need to be aware of and learn to overcome while teaching.
In this paper, I explained each of my five strengths and related them to my future career as an elementary school teacher. I also explained how each of the five strengths: discipline, WOO, consistency, responsibility, and achiever are present in the role of an elementary teacher. I also explained some of the negative attributes of the five strengths and how one must learn from them to become a better teacher.
After relating the five strengths conducted by the Strengths Quest Survey to my future career in elementary education, I have gained a better understanding of them. I have also learned how I can relate them to my future career in a positive way. My love and compassion for educating children has grown tremendously, and I can't wait to help them prepare themselves for their future.
Clark, R. (2003). The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child. New York: Hyperion.
Clark, R. (2004). The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children. New York: Hyperion.
Hassett, M. F. (n.d.). What Makes A Good Teacher?. Retrieved April 11, 2010, from http://sabes.org/resources/publications/adventures/vol12/12hassett.htm
Kennedy,M..(2008). Sorting Out Teacher Quality.Phi Delta Kappan,90(1),59-63. Retrieved April 11, 2010, from Research Library Core. (Document ID:1595730571).
Strengths Quest (2007). Retrieved January 20, 2010, from https://www.strengthsquest.com/
Teacher- Responsibilities of Elementary and Secondary School Teachers, Qualifications of Elementary and Secondary Teachers (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2010, from http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2477/Teacher.html