Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Strengths

In today's episode of My Fun Future Careers Limbo, I took a personality assessment, called StrengthsQuest, designed to pinpoint my strengths and talents.

(It would be prudent to note that joining Teach For America opens up a wide array of career resources like these to help those of us almost finished with the two-year teaching commitment and who may be looking toward new career ventures (not saying I am, I'm just sayin'). From career mentors to free career guides from Vault.com to free personality tests such as the one I started writing about, Teach For America has got you covered. End praise.)

All of the 100-something questions I answered in StrengthsQuest were analyzed and my 5 strengths were pinpointed out of a list of 34. I definitely agree with these 5:

LEARNER: You love to learn. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you.

Graduate school is perhaps on the horizon?

INTELLECTION: You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective.

I'm trying to get my kids to be like this. Thinking is quite helpful, students.

ANALYTICAL: Your Analytical theme challenges other people: “Prove it. Show me why what you are claiming is true.” In the face of this kind of questioning some will find that their brilliant theories wither and die. For you, this is precisely the point. You do not necessarily want to destroy other people’s ideas, but you do insist that their theories be sound. You see yourself as objective and dispassionate. You like data because they are value free. They have no agenda. Armed with these data, you search for patterns and connections. You want to understand how certain patterns affect one another. How do they combine? What is their outcome? Does this outcome fit with the theory being offered or the situation being confronted? These are your questions. You peel the layers back until, gradually, the root cause or causes are revealed.

I experienced an inordinate amount of enjoyment when I took my education research class this past summer. Using an analytical eye to determine causal relationships between various factors in the classroom, or simply to find correlations at the very least, was great fun. Logic puzzles for the win!

INPUT: You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information—words, facts, books, and quotations—or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives.

I am a collector (of intangibles), and I do find many things interesting. Maybe too interesting.

ACHIEVER: Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day—workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you.

This was what kept me teaching last year. Little achievements are what keep me going. Achievements like actually posting in this blog.

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