The Enneagram for Teachers
The Enneagram is a powerful tool to learn more about yourself and those around you. Growing up, my mom gave Enneagram Retreats and I always tagged along to help her. I ended up learning a lot from that and it's shaped the way that . From the time I was nine, I constantly made all my friends take Enneagram quizzes as a way to understand them more. The Enneagram can also be an excellent, but often overlooked, tool for teachers to learn more about their themselves, their teaching styles, and their classrooms.
If you aren't familiar with the Enneagram, I encourage you to take a free (or paid) quiz online. After you've done that, read through descriptions and decide which type you identify most with. The information below will be most helpful if you already know what your type is, however, it might also be helpful in developing your understanding of what type you may be.
Type 1- The Reformer
Strength: You are idealistic and have big dreams for teaching! You are detail-oriented and precise which makes you excellent at maintaining an organized classroom, keeping records, and following your established procedures. You love routine and that helps you create strong routines for your students. Your inner desire to "do things right" means that you'll follow the expectations that your administrator's give you perfectly.
Weakness: With such high expectations to do things right, you can sometimes lose your cool when there are changes in your routines or in school procedures. Unfortunately, teaching is full of last minute things that can go wrong so your school day can be frustrating and often overwhelming.
Something to Work On: Work on your flexibility. You can start by creating spaces in your daily schedule for spontaneity or by designing assignments that give students more choice.
Type 2- The Helper
Strength: You are effortlessly caring and this makes a huge difference in the classroom! Your students likely feel so so nurtured and cared-about. You aren't afraid to drop everything for a student in need or to spend hours working on a great lesson because know it will make your class smile. You will help your colleagues, administrators, or friends with anything at the drop of the hat.
Weakness: 2s hyper-fixation on relationships can mean that they focus on building and supporting these relationship above anything else, including caring about themselves. This can cause burn-out and emotional exhaustion. Because your care for relationships comes for a deep fear of being unloved, the rejection from a student or a disrespectful remark can be detrimental to your mental wellbeing.
Something to Work On: Self-care is so needed for 2s. Spend time treating yourself to your favorite things, reading your favorite books, or working on a creative hobby. It's important to remember that your relationship with yourself is just as important as those with others.
Type 3- The Achiever
Strength: You are full of charisma and drive to become the best teacher you can be! As a success-oriented person, you are a highly-effective teacher who works to get great test-scores. You plans fun, ambitious lessons and create a high-energy learning environment in your classroom.
Weakness: As someone dedicated to success, failure can be debilitating for you. If you feel success slipping away, you might find yourself becoming arrogant or even jealous of others. In classrooms, often success can be out of your own control, but letting go of the pursuit of success can feel impossible for you.
Something to Work On: Teaching is going to be full of moments of failure, so work to embrace these moments instead of fighting against them. Accepting them with humility and honesty can be really hard, but it can also be an opportunity for your understand success in a new way.
Type 4- The Individualist
Strength: You are creative and artistic! You pride your classroom on being one-of-a-kind place at your school. You work hard to make it a beautiful place where anyone can feel inspired. You are intuitive and self-aware, which helps you constantly grow as a teacher and in your own craft.
Weakness: As a person given to strong emotions, these can get in the way of your teaching practice. You constantly feel as if you aren't understood, which can cause you to withdraw from other at your school community. You also have the tendency to interiorize things, which an be difficult as a teacher, especially when dealing with students who like to say anything to get a rise from you.
Something to Work On: Focus on being present. Fours can often get bogged down with the trauma of the past and forget to focus on the here-and-now. Embracing each moment can help you see the wonder of your gift right now.
Type 5- The Investigator
Strength: You are an expert at your content area! 5's will stop at nothing to find out everything they can about their favorite subject and they truly become the master of it. As an interior person, you love to collect new ideas like best teaching practices and management skills. This helps you to not just be an expert in your subject, but also teaching itself.
Weakness: A common problem for 5s is to get too engrossed in their knowledge and forget about the world right in front of them. 5s love to observe and take mental notes, but sometimes that comes at the cost of taking a step back.
Something to Work On: Challenge yourself to leave the world of your thoughts and knowledge. Creating hands-on, active lessons will get yourself out of your comfort spot and let you use your expertise in a new way.
Type 6- The Loyalist
Strength: You are hard-working and reliable! Your administration knows that you are someone they can turn to to get the job done. You love community and work constantly to contribute to your classroom and school community. You are awesome at solving problems, even on the spot, which makes your classroom dynamic.
Weakness: You live in a world of fears and anxieties. While you might be good at masking it while teaching a lesson, you are always anticipating the worst case scenarios. Your fears control your life, so this can sometimes result in procrastination, indecisiveness, and pessimism.
Something to Work On: Work on managing your own thoughts. 6s are full of worst-case scenarios that rarely come true. Focusing on perspective can help you navigate scary thoughts. Instead of thinking "What if the worst possible thing happens?" challenge yourself with "What if it doesn't?"
Type 7- The Enthusiast
Strength: You are joyful, spontaneous, and flexible! You go with the flow, which makes you a good fit for a chaotic classroom. You bring a lot of playful energy into your classroom, which can endear your students to you. You have many talents and interests that you bring to the classroom.
Weakness: Having so many ambitions and fun ideas can make you scattered or overstretched. This can cause problems with record-keeping and classroom organization. 7s can also struggle with materialism, often over-shopping for classroom supplies.
Something to Work On: Learning to listen to others, your students, your administrators, and your colleagues, can help ground you in reality. It's important to strive toward balance of your spontaneous side and the work at hand.
Type 8- The Challenger
Strength: You have a strong presence in the classroom! Students respect you and know that you aren't someone who messes around. A natural leader with strong values, you always stand up for what you believe in. You always challenging yourself as a teacher, as well as giving your students challenges that will help them grow.
Weakness: You have a tendency to want to always be in charge of your environment. Your classroom, ruled with strong rules and vision, can potentially be a place that feels intimidating and overwhelming to some students.
Something to Work On: Allow yourself to let go of control and rules to instead work on fostering relationships. Think about who is feeling left out or left behind if your classroom and become their biggest advocate.
Type 9- The Peacemaker
Strength: You are a beacon of harmony and peace! Your classroom is likely one of the calmest places in the school. It's a place where students feel like they can come to and feel accepted. You are adaptive and dynamic, so you are able to for students what they need at the time.
Weakness: 9's can be people of low energy and little action. Often afraid of disturbing the peace, they won't step up to handle conflicts or become disengaged in them. As a teacher this can look like ignoring problems in the classroom to instead keep the harmony.
Something to Work On: You frequently will adapt yourself to expectations of others to keep the peace, so spend some time working on discerning what kind of teacher you want to be. Create an activity or event for your classroom that is 100% you and not influenced by others.
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I'm Megan and I teach high school ELA. I'm all about literature, creativity, and aesthetics!