Character Strengths

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A simple search on Google provides many articles about burnout being a key reason why teachers leave the profession.

Burnout doesn’t just come from the negative aspects of teaching, – workload, being seen as a professional, the tiny chairs (my chiropractor is not a fan!!). The emotional turmoil of one minute having pure joy when a child CLICKS! and makes an amazing discovery or demonstrates understanding about a skill that they didn’t before…to being completely heart broken when you hear a disclosure from a child about something horrible that has happened to them. It can definitely be a roller coaster. I haven’t even started with the amount of testing and data analysis we put our children through…

The belief that you aren’t good enough, or not doing enough, or not being appreciated can creep up on even the happiest and most positive teachers (Hello! *waves enthusiastically*) Your self-belief and understanding that you can grow and change when facing obstacles rather than feel like you’re the worst teacher that ever existed is a key part to teacher resiliency. The irony for me is that we teach children this all the time. I have been talking to children about resiliency, bouncing back and self-belief for YEARS but I never realised how much you need to understand it as an adult, BELIEVE it and work on it.

A tool that I have used recently to increase my emotional resiliency and self-worth is to discover what my character strengths and personality traits are and to then use them intentionally in my daily practice. This repeated action builds on top of your traits to become habitual. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes. This is the same for children; their brains are so much more malleable in the early years than adulthood. Make that trait a habit and the world around them will shine a little brighter. The good news is, many aspects of the adult brain are still plastic! They can still be altered if you work on them.

Two great websites for finding your personal traits are 16 Personalities and the Via Institute on Character. Both are free, you have to sign up with an email address but once you have your results you can unsubscribe. It is super interesting to have a test that makes you think, “YES! THIS IS SOOOO ME!” Especially when it’s not a test that tells you what type of pizza you are (I’m a Classic New York Slice, just sayin’).

Over the next few weeks I am going to delve deeper into my traits and explore how I use them in my personal and professional life. I invite you to do the same! Let me know what your top three are and what you do with this information. I look forward to reading your thoughts!

Emma is The Play Coach who loves everything and anything to do with play. Play is children's work and she thinks it should be adult's work too. Connect with Emma for consultations and trainings that promote wonder, joy and well-being through the power of play.