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Teachers on a Bad Day
Inside the Personality Fractal - part 1

On Education and Learning



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Over the past few weeks, in our ongoing weekly series on education and learning, we've taken our first looks at Emergence Personality Theory's, Social Priority tests. Including how we might use these tests to match students to their teachers. This week, we're going to take a deeper look at the test results; the Personality Fractals. Including how they show both the "light" and "dark" sides of teachers.

social priorities of 2 teachers

Chapter Twenty Four

Going Over to the Dark Side

No one is without their dark side. Including me. Most teachers openly admit, though, that they fear being seen in this light. By principals, parents, peers and so on. Why? I'd guess this has a lot to do with how they are always under the microscope, and to some degree, this is warranted. After all, we are trusting them with our children. Even so, no teacher is without his or her bad days. This would simply be impossible. And an inhuman expectation to be sure. And realistically, who could please everyone; principals, parents, department chairs, and so on? Anyone you know?

Okay, So we all have bad days. Including teachers. Is there anything we might do, though, to make this easier on those involved?

Actually, there is a lot we could do. For one thing, we could make the Personality Fractals of ALL the educators available to any interested party, staff, parents, kids, and so on. How would this help? We would all know pretty much what to expect from teachers on their bad days. For instance, our imaginary science teacher, Ralph, the Two, is ordinarily a very giving man. Nice. Polite. Genuinely caring. On a bad day, though, he's liable to be obnoxiously giving, a pushy, "I insist," "you must do this," kind of fellow. He might even tell you, it's "for your own good." Yuck.

And our history teacher, Ruth, the Three? Ordinarily, Ruth has a whole different style from Ralph. Not better nor worse, just different. On her bad days, however, Ruth has a lot in common with Ralph. Not everything. But a lot. How can this be? Let's look.

Ralph's Personality Fractal - the "Light" Side

Let's start by remembering Ralph's Personality Fractal. We do this simply by stating the five pieces of Emergence Personality Theory's, Layer 7 information which are listed in Ralph's Personality Fractal; the one on the left; the normal one. Simply stated, his Personality Fractal is, "2,UFNC."

Now translating this into it's formally stated form, we see that Ralph is a Character Type "Two" (also known as a, "you") whose normal Social Priorities are Understanding, Freedom, Neatness, and Comfort. Thus, the informally stated, "2,UFNC."

Confused as where I came up with this information? Begin by noticing what is contained in the left hand column of Ralph's Personality Fractal; his Character Type information. Here, it says, "I want to GIVE." Notice too, that the baby's pajama top has a number on it. The number "2."

What this boils down to is, we can refer to peoples' Character Types in several ways. We can refer to someone's Character Type by the "year of life in which his or her Character Type formed." In Ralph's case, his Character Type formed between age one and two. Thus, we would say, Ralph is a "second year of life person."

We could also state this informally, by simply referring to Ralph as a "Two."

In addition, we could refer to his Character Type by how he handles situations wherein both he, and others, simultaneously have needs. In other words, to whom does Ralph feel urges to give to; others, himself, or some combination of both?

In Ralph's case, we could say, his "river of needs" flows outward and away from himself. In other words, his river flows in the direction of giving to others.This means, to Ralph, other people should be the ones to get their needs met first. This is simply his way. Not that he never gives himself anything. It's just that, if both he and someone else simultaneously have needs, Ralph will want the other person to get his or her needs met first. Moreover, if there's no time left in which Ralph can get his needs met, so be it. Ralph will be fine with that.

Please know, only about twenty five percent of people will hear what I've just said as normal. The other seventy five percent of folks will hear this and say, there's something wrong with Ralph. The truth? There's nothing wrong with Ralph. This, in fact, is one of the main advantages to describing people by their Character Type. We stop judging them for wanting to give or get. No one is selfish, and no one is selfless. At least, not by design. We are all simply programmed to respond to people in need in one of four preprogrammed ways.

How would people describe Ralph then? One's might call him codependent or a loser. At the very least, they would blow it off. Unless Ralph was giving to them.

Two's would say he's a very giving man. The kind of a fellow who is "willing to give you the shirt off his back." A real spiritual guy.

Three's on the other hand, might just call him a "brown noser"; a butt kisser; a person out to get in his bosses good graces.

And Four's might see Ralph as giving, but perhaps, add to this that he just gives "far too much." Over board. "He means well, but" kind of a thing.

So which description is the real Ralph? All of them, in fact. How can this be? Simple. Depending on your Character Type, this is the filter through which you'll evaluate Ralph. And yourself and everyone else.

The thing to be especially aware of here is that each Character Type has its up its down as well.

Ralph's up side? He's the kind of man who is probably very loved by both students and teachers alike. And his down side? We're going to take a look at that in a moment.

For now, the thing to know is, Character Types refer only to peoples' first urges. Moreover, they only come into play in "mutual need" situations. Meaning, in times wherein both the person and at least one other simultaneously have needs. Like arriving at a door at the same time. Or entering a toll both line. Or at a supermarket checkout.

Moreover, the thing to keep in mind is, while we don't always act on these first urges, we always feel influenced by them.

Now let's look at Ralph on a bad day. What is he like?

Ralph's Personality Fractal - the "Dark" Side

So what is Ralph like on a bad day? And how exactly does his Personality Fractal change.

Emergence Personality Theory calls what happens, his Inverted Personality Fractal. Here, the first thing to know is that both his Character Type and his Social Priorities invert. In the case of Character Type, this basically means, whatever the person normally feels urges to do, they now feel pressured to do. Urges. Pressured. See the difference? And with Social Priorities, whatever order the stack is normally in literally inverts. This means, the person's lowest Social Priority becomes their first Social Priority, and visa versa. Thus, whatever is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th becomes 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st.

Now let's look at this in a bit more detail. Starting with inverted Character Types. How does a Character Type invert?

As I said, the main thing is, you feel pressured; under the gun. Compelled to either give, or get, or both, depending on your type. And to get as sense of what this feels like, I need to ask you to imagine something quite unpleasant; Imagine you are kayaking and that your boat has turned over. Upside down, you included. Have you ever seen this happen? It's unnerving, to say the least. In fact, the first time I witnessed this happening, I thought the kayaker might die.

He didn't, but it sure looked iffy for awhile.

Now for those who have not seen this, try imagining it was you that I saw paddling down that stream in a one man kayak. Unlike a canoe, which is mostly open on top, your boat is mostly covered on top. Completely closed in, in fact, except for the small sitting hole you've shoved your body into.

You're also wearing a kid of waterproof canvas upper body suit which is attached to this sitting hole. Which means, in essence, you're attached to the boat. This body suit is holding you in.

Now imagine that you hit some rough water and the kayak turns over. Completely inverts itself. Upside down. As I've said, this does happen to kayakers at times. And because you're suited in, you can't simply leave the boat and swim to the surface. Which means, to keep from drowning, you have to rock the boat, back and forth, until you get your boat right side up again.

Imagine if this was you what this would feel like? Talk about pressure. This is what it feels like when your Character Type inverts. Except rather than feeling compelled to right an overturned kayak, you feel compelled to either give, or get, or both, depending on your Character Type.

In a way, what this feels like is, your initial urges to either give or get become larger than life. Then too, if you have a two part type Character Type (Three's and Four's), as opposed to a one part Character Type ( One's and Two's), an additional thing happens. The order in which you feel urges to give and get reverses. Three's look like Four's and Four's, like Three's. Well, not exactly. But close.

As for our teacher, Ralph, he has a one part Character Type. Thus for Ralph, the Two, what being inverted means is, he will feel very strong urges to give to others. Even if what he's offering is not something the other people want. Or need.

The kids in his classroom? What will they feel? Pressured. Pressured to receive from him whatever he is offering. Like it or not.

For example, if Ralph were to offer certain of his kids extra help that day, and if one of these students were to decline Ralph's offer, Ralph would feel urges to guilt the kid into staying for the help. Not too much fun for whomever this kid is. And in truth, not too much fun for Ralph either. In reality, they'd both feel pretty bad.

This, then, is what it would look like if Ralph's Character Type was inverted; he'd feel compelled to give, like it or not.

Now let's look at Ralph's Social Priorities and what they'd look like inverted. Here, the essence of what happens is that his priority stack would invert. Thus, his lowest priority would become his highest priority. And so on.

Thus, while Ralph normally loves "giving understanding" (because "giving" is his Character Type and "Understanding" is his normal first priority), on this day, he'd be more concerned with making sure everyone is comfortable. Even if they repeatedly tell him they're fine. Thus, he might ask, more times than necessary, about the room (are you sure no one is cold), and lunch (we're almost there. I promise). He might even say something to the effect that if your assignments are late, that's okay. Just get them to me by tomorrow.

Of course, through all this, Ralph means well. He is, after all, a very giving man. The thing is, whatever he tries to give on this day will tend to make the other person feel guilty. And compelled to accept his offer. Even if they neither want nor need whatever Ralph is offering.

Moreover, while Ralph's student normally know him to be a man who loves teaching, on this day, they'll find him a confusing mess. Literally, he'll become a man who is trying to force things on people. Especially Comfort. And Comforting. Not the best of stances to take if you are trying to be a teacher.

Ruth's Personality Fractal - the "Light" and "Dark" Sides

Now let's take the same kind of look at Ruth's Personality Fractal. Let's start again by naming it. Who is she normally? She's a 3,CFUN; a Character Type "Three" (meaning, a "Me then You") whose Social Priorities are Comfort, Freedom, Understanding, and Neatness.

This means, on her normal days, Social Priority wise, she'll behave somewhat similarly to how Ralph does on a bad day; she'll focus primarily on Comfort.

Then on her bad days, Character Type wise, she'll behave somewhat similarly to Ralph on his good days; she'll want to first give to others.

What this looks like is, being as she's a Comfort First Three, she'll normally be looking more to get Comforted by her kids, in ways such as having them do their homework on time and being understanding as far as her needs for the classroom to be comfortable and bright.

On her bad days, however, both her Character Type and her Social Priorities will invert. Thus, while she's normally a 3,CFUN, on her bad days, she'll behave as if she's a 4,NUFC. All the while, feeling forced to act like this. Which looks like what exactly?

On bad days, Ruth will suddenly be a raving lunatic regarding neatness and organization, in everything from notebooks to personal appearance. She'll also feel pressured to offer help when normally she's much more focused on getting what she feels the kids need. Especially with regard to being on time with assignments and such. Perhaps she'll even pick this day to give a spot quiz. Just to see where everyone is at, mind you.

What is most important to see here is, that none of her students will see these changes coming. Why not? Because Ruth is normally the last person to give a damn about neatness. Not to a fault, mind you. But certainly, she's normally very, very tolerant when it comes to neat notes and classroom behavior.

Now, consider for a moment what this feels like to the person whose Personality Fractal is inverted. Essentially, Ruth will feel forced to pretend to be someone the exact opposite of who she normally is. Does this give you a clearer sense of what makes people feel so bad on bad days? And why the cliche, "you don't seem yourself today," is so exactly on target?

Finally, notice that on bad days, both Ralph, a "Two," and Ruth, a "Three," will feel the same Character Type pressure; the pressure to give to others. Only in Ruth's case, she'll feel pressure to give Neatness to everyone, whereas with Ralph, he'll feel pressure to give Comfort everyone.

Closing Comments

Okay, So there you have it. An introductory look at how the Personality Fractal reveals teachers will act on a bad day. What a topic. And what a concept. Starting with, can you imagine if everyone could see these changes coming? Students and teachers alike? More so, imagine what it would be like if Ralph and Ruth could walk in that morning and tell their kids, they were feeling upside down. And have those kids know exactly what to expect. Can you imagine?

In addition, consider what we have the potential to normalize here; teachers having a bad day. Wow! And how sad is it that teachers currently have little choice but to feel pressured to hide this side of themselves. What human being has no bad days? Anyone you know? It's simply not possible. At least, not if you're being real, which is, after all, one of the more necessary parts of being a good teacher. Teaching by personal example, remember. Modeling for their students sane and honest behaviors even on a bad day. How healthy would that be?

So yes, we all know, teachers have their bad days. And I've been saying all column that knowing what to expect would make things noticeably better. The question I've been leading up to though is, could we be doing anything to make bad days better for our kids? And for their teachers? Is there, in fact, anything which might help a person out of a bad day?

The answer is, yes. Starting with that for the person having the bad day, knowing what to expect would mean seeing normally unseen choices. Even if these choices were mostly just damage control. Even more important, when you fully understand how Personality Fractals work, you can consciously choose to do certain things to get yourself out of a bad day. Get right side up again. By choice. Not chance. And not just damage control.

Can people actually do this? Can they deliberately choose certain actions and by doing them, get themselves right side up? Absolutely. And next week, we'll be looking once more at our two teachers, Ralph and Ruth. And at what they each might do to right themselves. Even on the worst of days.

Imagine. All this from just five seemingly ordinary pieces of information. All of which come from a simple test which usually takes no more than ten minutes.

Are you beginning to see the potential here?

Until next week then. I hope you're all well,

Steven


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