If We Can’t Play to Ours, How Can We Play to Our Students Strengths?

Recently, for a methods of teaching science class we were required to participate in the Gallup Strengths Finder Assessment. I had heard about this assessment before but had never taken it, so I was excited to get some more information about myself. This assessment was far different from these types of things that I have done before. This assessment really caused me to think about myself and also what kind of teacher I will be.

My top 5 Strengths were as follows:

  1. Restorative
  2. Individualization
  3. Includer
  4. Adaptability
  5. Empathy

What this means to me as a teacher

These strengths and their corresponding descriptions mean a lot to me as a teacher. Now there is a reason I did not include these descriptors in this blog. This is because these strengths are my own and I need to assess how I take this information and translate it into the classroom. So with you the reader, I want you to formulate your own opinions on what these 5 strengths mean to you. I think this is important because even the descriptions provided can be interpreted differently. Regardless of the interpretation the implementation of these strengths in my classroom.

THE GOOD

This assessment has done exactly what it is intended for. It has told me what my top 5 strengths are as a person, based on this specific test. Knowing this information has allowed me to know where I will succeed in the classroom. From what I can gather from the assessment I will be effective in determining what is wrong in situations and solving those problems, and also generally being effective at engaging all of my students and building relationships with them. These traits are not surprising to me, I have always been a good interpersonal communicator and I have always loved people. However, knowing these strengths of mine in the context of teaching brings something I have known about myself into new light. This experience has caused me to look at myself and my intrinsic values and how it will translate into the classroom. Even though I am confident that my personality and love of people will translate into the classroom this experience has also exposed some shortcomings in my preparedness for the classroom.

THE “BAD”

Through this experience I have also been made aware of some possible pitfalls in my strengths that will negatively impact the classroom. With heavy interpersonal strengths I have a feeling that this could mean that I may have some trouble giving certain students the attention they needs. This strength implies that I am a good communicator and good at talking through problems and solving them. But it also means that I may have a tendency to gloss over things even though this situations may be more important than whatever I was moving on to next. The benefit however is that by going through this process I have been able to identify issues I may have with my teaching, be conscious of them, and most importantly try and combat these issue before I actually get into the classroom.

THE “UGLY”?……..

I just did this section because I think I’m funny and think people care but it also highlights a very important process that I will need to go through to truly implement my strengths into the classroom. When I found out these strengths I knew they would translate into the classroom, but how? I put a bit of thought into this but not much past that. What I need to do to truly gain a lot from this experience is take these strengths think about them and try and visualize what they will look like in a classroom. This process falls under “the ugly” because this can be a tough process. In teacher preparation programs we learn a lot of theory, practices, and strategies but how all of that information looks in the classroom is very important, yet difficult to put into the classroom. This is why this process is ugly, it takes time, it takes work and it will not be easy, but it is important for all of us future teachers to know our strengths and implement them into the classroom. This is really the only way that we will be able to get the success we want from absolutely all of our students. If we can’t play to our own strengths how to we expect to teach to our students strengths (as any teacher should).

I am deciding to end this blog with a very important quote to me. This quote is so valuable to me because I feel that it so concisely and effectively tells you the job of a teacher and based on my Strengths Finder Assessment and this quote I think that I will be a successful teacher which is something that is always reassuring as the pre-service teacher that I am.

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1 Response to If We Can’t Play to Ours, How Can We Play to Our Students Strengths?

  1. mulligmg says:

    Tom-
    I haven’t seen that quote before, but I really like it!
    I also like how you mentioned the difficulty of implementing all of this into your classroom. Having an idea and acting on it are two very difficult things, and it’s something you have to practice and work towards.

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