Seeing a list of my strengths is a vastly different experience than seeing a list of my weaknesses. That being said, I am incredibly aware that I have a great many flaws. There are probably areas I overlook, but as a melancholic, I am pretty introspective alongside possessing a generally critical nature.
I had my seniors take a temperament quiz at the beginning of the semester, partly for fun and partly so I can get to know them better. As they read through the descriptions they gave for their temperament, I was surprised to hear many of the lamenting the list of weaknesses for their particular temperament. Some commented that they were pretty harsh in the assessment of weaknesses and others were a bit more defensive as they said they didn’t have a bad temperament or were a bad person. Nobody, however, complained that they had an excessive list of strengths.
It made me wonder why they were so bothered by an impersonal test telling them which weaknesses they might possess. I wasn’t bothered by it. It was easy enough to read through the list and admit that I lacked in that area or recognize that I didn’t struggle with that particular flaw. Had they never considered what weaknesses they had? Were they bothered even considering that they might have weaknesses? What moved them to pull back as though someone had specifically told them where they fell short?
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. I’m not sure if the weaknesses rang a little too true or if they all felt wrong based on the person they knew. It seemed, however, that they needed to be reminded that we all have areas to work on, things that are just a little more difficult for us based on our personality. And so, having never made this connection before, I connected their temperament to the faculties of the human soul, to our intellect and our will.
Continue reading “The Gift of Self-Knowledge: The Good and The Bad”
The first week of a new school year seems to feel the longest. It was Tuesday this week when I realized it was only Tuesday and it felt like it should be Friday. Yet by the time I reached Friday, I was getting into the swing of things.
As a veteran teacher (hello, fourth year!), I am enjoying knowing what I am doing some of the time. When students ask me questions, it is often to rules or practices I have already established, questions that I have already answered in previous years. Perhaps I am most excited about the fact that each year I feel more and more comfortable in my role as teacher. I’m not completely at ease with my students, but I feel the most myself this first week that I ever have. I know difficulties will arise, arguments, tough questions, senioritis, and sass, but I will take it in stride. Thankfully, the Lord has been giving me the grace over the last few years of letting my students’ attitudes dictate less and less how I respond. I don’t take things quite so personally anymore and it is only something that time could help me achieve.
Overall, my classes are pretty good. My sophomore classes appear fun and respectful and my seniors seem to be willing to listen. Yet I am going to refrain from naming too many more wholesome traits because it is only the end of the first week. Time and homework will reveal their true colors. My mind recalls my first year of teaching as being one of the most stressful and the students who made life difficult for me still stand out in my memory. It is hard to tell if the classes are really that different or if the difference lies mainly within myself. I am prone to think it is a bit of both but mostly the latter.
So here is to a good school year, one richly overflowing with blessings and all that the Lord desires to do in His good time. And if all goes awry, I can turn to the intercession of a teacher who didn’t always have the most receptive audience, sometimes aroused anger, and whom we celebrate today–St. John the Baptist.