By Huda Ayaz
I finally forced as many teachers as I could to have a taste of their own medicine: I made them take a test. Specifically, the 16Personalities Test.
Granted, it’s much more interesting than the torturous tests we have to take, known for providing a “freakishly accurate” description of the testaker yet summed up into five letters that, when strung together, may seem meaningless but hold a plethora of information.
Based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a questionnaire that categorizes people into sixteen personality types, the test draws upon the ideas from psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, that personalities are largely dependent upon the combination of four factors: whether someone reasons through thought or feeling and perceives through sensation or intuition.
This doesn’t mean it’s widely accepted as “science.” Most brush it away as pseudoscience and, technically, you can’t cram the billions of human personalities into one of 16 boxes. However,it doesn’t mean personality theory is completely meaningless.
The ideas it’s built upon do hold truth and can lend themselves to helping us understand each other not only through what we experience on the surface of a person but also of what thought processes go behind the things they do, whether conscious or not.
One great example of how helpful understanding Jungian personality theory can be is learning the cognitive functions, specifically the order in which sensing/intuitive or feeling/judging functions take precedence in decision making and whether each function is taken on introvertedly or extrovertedly. It helps predict or at least make sense of why people make the decisions they make but also allows you to look to yourself and notice what flaws may be flying under your radar. For every type, their inferior function (at the bottom of the stack) is underdeveloped, the last resort when things aren’t going well. You can end up getting into self-destructive cycles when stressed and coming out of that and wondering how you got there…only to fall right back into it all over again later. Understanding at least your own cognitive functions can help you be more self-aware and improve on the underdeveloped functions.
Cognitive Functions (the images of the stacks come from PersonalityHacker.com): These stacks illustrate the four dominant cognitive functions of each MBTI type, going down by primary, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions. The primary function is how the MBTI type makes decisions or takes in the world, their “autopilot” mode. For example, INTJs lead with Introverted Intuition (Ni) which is highlighted by searching for patterns and making predictions for the future. The auxiliary function is always there but you can “ignore it” in a sense at moments as the primary function often takes precedence. The last two, and especially the inferior function, are often the least developed and what a type draws upon when under pressure or stressed. As an example, an INTJ might draw upon his/her inferior Si (Introverted Sensing) when stressed, which might lead them to disregard their responsibilities and instead cope by watching TV or eating mindlessly.
Beyond the technical side to personality theory, it can just be fun to find out more about yourself or people you know so I asked some Wheatley staff members to take the test.
My original goal was to get one teacher, at least, of every MBTI type, but it seems that some personality types truly are simply predisposed for teaching because I failed (or the online test is rigged…which is true anyway, but that’s a different story).
As a disclaimer, the test is known for mistyping and the best way to know your type is to ask someone who’s familiar with MBTI typology (specifically the Jungian principles it’s built upon) or an actual psychologist. But this article is for recreational purposes so don’t overthink it and enjoy! (If you don’t already know your MBTI type, I’d suggest taking the test before reading the explanations so they don’t affect the answers you give.)
Wheatley Staff as MBTI Types
- ESFJ: Mrs. Roberts, Ms. Jacobson, Ms. Tsabasis, and Mr. Gottleib
By far the most popular personality type amongst the Wheatley staff who took the MBTI test was ESFJ. Known as “Consul” on the 16Personalities website, ESFJs are popular, loyal, and hard-working. These are the teachers who are easy to talk to and depend on to do as they promised. Responsible and organized, they’re great at managing workloads and people, especially important for teachers who have to deal with a variety of students. ESFJs value human interaction so the profession of teaching is definitely a great fit.
- ISFJ: Mr. Paulson, Mrs. Calvagno, and Ms. Schwartz
Observant and hard-working, ISFJs know how to do what they’re good at and lead students accordingly, drawing upon their experience to best create organized lesson plans well in advance, keeping students aware of every next step in the course. Generally, ISFJs fit the framework of a teacher, fulfilling their will to help others through partaking upon students’ own knowledge.
- INFJ: Ms. Fatone; Mrs. Blum; Mrs. Maier
INFJs are known as understanding people, easy to talk to until you challenge a core belief or breach upon injustice. They seem to have an eerie understanding of people and the world at large, with precise predictions they draw from patterns (characteristic of their dominant introverted intuition). As a result, psychology intrigues them by putting their cloudy yet accurate comprehension of people into tangible terms. Writing provides a similar outlet for their ideas, making writing and psychology befitting subjects for INFJ teachers.
- INTJ: Mr. Ardito
Critical thinkers and imaginative, INTJs dream big and get things done. They’re ambitious but realistic and strategic in going about their goals. As teachers, INTJs encourage students to learn and do what they are passionate about though can be strict. INTJs in general tend to learn fun facts for fun so these may be the teachers who seem to know random things about any given subject at hand.
- ENTJ: Dr. Lazarus
Known as “Commanders” on the 16personalities website, ENTJs are most noticeable for their excellent leadership skills. These are the teachers with an infectious enthusiasm for what they teach. For Dr. Lazarus’s students, it’s clear that he tries to make every lesson, no matter how boring the content may be, entertaining through different teaching methods and (sometimes) a few tangents.
- ESFP: Mrs. Seferian
ESFPs are one of the most confident people you’ll meet. Brave and original, they balance out their social nature with a practical and present mindset. These are the teachers you can easily hold conversation with and that try to teach in fun ways, allowing students freedom in their own learning processes.
- INFP: Dr. Feeney
An INFP is often the person you know with a warm and quiet personality, exuding kindness through silent gestures, but passionate and loud when it comes to topics that are important to him or her. Through a daily Word of Wisdom, holding the door open in the morning, and many other small gestures, our principal definitely does embody the INFP personality in these ways.
Take the test and share what your MBTI type is too in this poll.
Maybe you’re a lot more similar to some of the Wheatley staff than you thought.