If Your Personality Test Comes Back Negative…

Today my church’s former youth pastor, a pretty hoopy frood, went on Facebook and posted two images. One depicted his personality traits, and the other his stressors, based on his Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I thought they were pretty interesting, so I went and found my own.

I’m an INFP. Every time I take the MBTI, whether it’s the full version or a quick online profile [you can take a pretty good version here], I come up pretty solidly INFP. I think I came up INFJ once, but I guess I was just in a particularly judgmental mood that day or something. Anyway, as an INFP, I am introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. I agree with my little character trait graphic, although I’m not sure I’m really all that great with the “long-range vision” thing, and I’m not sure what it means by “selective.”

traits of an INFP

I really liked the “things that stress you out” graphic. The “time management required of me” one made me laugh out loud, at myself. And I love how “decisions” is in big bold print; it’s probably just a coincidence of design, but goodness knows making decisions seems to give me ulcers. If I were customizing this graphic just for me, I’d have to add confrontation, other peoples’ problems, and frustrated dreams (although probably that last one is true for everyone).

things that stress an INFP out

You can find and download your own character trait graphic and stressor graphic. It occurs to me that this could make a great literature lesson; print out all of the heads and have students determine the MBTI types for various characters and defend their findings with evidence from the book.

People are often surprised to learn that I am introverted (strongly so, actually). I think this is because most people misunderstand the concepts of introversion and extroversion. The best way to describe them — and I wish I knew where I first encountered this metaphor, because it’s perfect — is to think of people as being battery-operated, and then consider what charges and drains their batteries. An introvert is not necessarily shy, reserved, scared of crowds, etc.; it’s just that interacting with people drains her batteries, and she needs quiet alone time in order to charge them. An extrovert, on the other hand, gets “charged up” by socializing. Put an introvert and an extrovert in a bustling cocktail party, and at the end of the evening, the extrovert will feel energized and the introvert will be exhausted.

I love teaching. I like public speaking and am good at it. I grew up performing as a musician and have very little discomfort getting on a stage under the spotlight, as long as no one expects me to sing. I seem outgoing, friendly, etc. — but I am a hardcore introvert. Some days, after several hours of interacting with colleagues and students and parents, I’ll get home so badly drained that I’m unable to talk to my dog.

Via my book club buddy Molly, I’ve recently become acquainted with the term “ambivert,” which describes someone who falls in the middle of the introversion/extroversion spectrum. I suppose there’s some decent argument that I’d be an ambivert, since I can live the life of an extrovert despite my introverted tendencies, but that just doesn’t ring true to me. I really feel that I’m an introvert who, like so many others, has learned how to thrive in an extrovert’s world — and who has the personality quirk of being comfortable on stage. After all, no one fits 100% into a mold, right?

And for those who feel like the performance thing automatically discounts my identification as an introvert, I’d argue that while I’m perfectly content to speak to an enormous gymnasium full of people, or teach a full-to-bursting class of teenagers, I’m insanely uncomfortable working with a half dozen students or having coffee with only 1-2 other people. The difference is that when addressing a large group, they become an it rather than people. Does that make sense? Eh. Whatever. I know what I mean.

The thing that likely confuses most people is that I’ve learned how to put on the appearance of being very comfortable even in situations that make me uncomfortable. I can slip into an extrovert’s shoes (an introvert in extrovert’s clothing?) for a job interview or an intimate social gathering and fool anyone, myself included, for a while. I’m a sprinter, not a marathoner, both in terms of running and socializing. I can run really fast as long as you only need me to get a short distance, and I can be awesomely extroverted as long as it’s only going to last a little while. After that burst of outgoing energy is depleted, though, I need myself some crocheted blankets and a book and for the world to leave me alone for a while before I start to feel human again.

Okay, I think it’s entirely possible that I’m boring myself. This was supposed to be a post about MBTI and the nifty graphics and somehow turned into a somewhat defensive diatribe about “waaaah I am too an introvert, waaaaah,” etc. I’ve always been irrationally fascinated with this stuff (see my massive middle school research project on right brain/left brain) and periodically feel the need to navel-gaze about it. Thanks for humoring me, Blog! I’m so glad you let me write whatever boring nonsense I want. 🙂

Seriously, though, if you’re still reading: What’s your MBTI type? Do you agree with the stressors/traits in your graphic? Is anyone reading this my polar opposite (an ESTJ)?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Reading Update

Today is September 23, 2013. This year so far, I have read 53 books toward my initial goal of 52 for 2013 — hooray! Guess I get to bump that goal now, although to what, I’m not sure. There are three months left in the year, and I’m reading a lot of middle-level lit. Also, I’m not counting books read to my kiddo at this point, as I kind of figure anything made out of heavy-duty cardboard probably shouldn’t count for adult reading… 😉

Currently Reading

The Elite by Kiera Cass The 5th Wave alcatraz Guns, Germs and Steel

So, remember what I had posted last time (two weeks ago)? Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones and The 5th Wave?

Yeah, about that.

I’m at about the same place in those two books as I was when I posted two weeks ago. I guess they just haven’t really caught my attention. But I wouldn’t yet categorize them as abandoned, so there’s hope yet!

Currently, I’m reading The Elite by Kiera Cass. It’s the sequel to The Selection and is a yummy, lightweight little fairy tale. Nothing to keep you up at night, nothing to argue about at book club — just a good, entertaining, fun read. It’s probably best categorized as (buckle your seatbelts) YA dystopian chick lit.

I recently finished reading Fortunately, the Milk, which was wonderful, and I really want to read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but it’s awfully expensive and I haven’t gotten around to hunting down a used copy yet. Maybe after payday.

I’m also listening to Guns, Germs, and Steel on the parts of my commute during which I’m actually awake enough to listen to an audio book.

Seven Things About My New Job

This is my first Monday in the library, and the beginning of my third week as a middle school librarian. I’ve had several questions — from my new coworkers as well as from commenters on the DYHJ Facebook page — about how it’s going, so I thought I’d share a little bit about my new job.

1. No one would ever believe how bustling and busy this library is. I’ve never seen anything like it. When they release the barbarian hoards from the cafeteria before school, probably a hundred kids rush into the library, and we’re still checking out books for the “it’s worth it to be tardy if I can get this book” crowd after the first bell rings. That’s small potatoes compared to break, when the library fills wall-to-wall with children. Even with two people manning the circulation desk, we can’t get through the line before break ends. It’s standing room only with kids reading, visiting, playing chess and checkers, or watching other kids playing. Sixth grade lunch passes are the most coveted property on campus. In a normal week there are 40 class periods; we have 39 different classes who come in each week or every other week to check out books, not including classes who will eventually schedule library time for special projects. The library has only been open for book check-out for a week, and we currently have almost 1,700 books in circulation (and a great many items on hold). This library is alive and it’s awesome.

2. Did I mention that the vast majority of our library patrons are boys? Because they are. Our library is stuffed from bell to bell with 11 to 14-year-old boys. How cool is that? And we don’t even let them play computer games!

3. I’m working with special education students for the first time. I know that sounds odd, considering I taught for five years, but as a secondary English teacher I rarely worked with students whose special needs were severe enough to require out-of-mainstream classes. I worked with many students on the autism spectrum — but only very highly functioning kids — and only ever had two with significant cognitive or physical impairment. The students in our special education classes here spend a lot of time in the library, and I’m finding myself very lucky to be getting to know them. We have an entire wall of picture books, and many of these kiddos zero in on them, but others are really fond of the illustrated nonfiction books and will check out volume after volume on their favorite subject (usually animals). I watch their teachers and aides working with them and I still feel astonished at their ability to help, guide, and instruct these students — but as I get to know them, I can understand why a person would love that career!

4. I get to go shopping. For books. With someone else’s money. What a great gig, right? In fact, we had a bit of a windfall this year, which means that I get to really go to town updating our nonfiction section to include CCSS-connected informational texts, and adding the latest and greatest to our fiction and graphic novel sections. I’m about to place a sizeable order, as a matter of fact. The flip side of this coin is that I get to/have to read a lot of middle-level books now, as I need to adjust to and keep up with the current middle level literature. I had some vague idea that I’d be reading as a part of my job, but I’ve yet to see an opportunity to just sit down with a novel while I’m on the clock. So, I’ve always got reading “homework” even when I don’t necessarily want to read something at the PG level… Talk about your problems 😉

5. I’m not 100% certain where I fit in the school. I am paid as a teacher, am certified as a teacher, and even get observed and evaluated like a teacher (although I’ll be darned if I can figure out what criteria will be used for that, given the fact that I have relatively little organized student contact). On the emergency phone tree, though, I’m one of the people responsible for calling a list of teachers — keeping company with the administrators and counselors. The library is connected to the main office suite, set apart from the classrooms. I interact more often with administration than with teachers, and my duties are far more administrative than educational, most days. So what am I? A teacher librarian? A library adminstrator? This school’s social structure doesn’t lend itself toward ambiguity in this area….

6. I like my new job, but I miss my old life. In fact, I really like my new job. I love my coworkers, and I love getting to do nothing but think about books all day long (haha, that’s a joke, because we’re so busy I don’t have time to think about anything, much less books!). But I have to be fair to myself and acknowledge that in leaving, I left behind all of my friends and a career that never felt like “a job.” I have over a thousand students now instead of the 170-180 about which I used to complain, and I’m getting to where I recognize a handful of them and know a few names, but I’m not going to feel close to these kiddos in the same way that I did my most sympatico high school students. I miss bantering with my nerdy almost-adults in the ITE program, or waxing eloquent about archetypes in science fiction films from the past fifty years, or scandalizing seniors by introducing them to phallic and yonic symbols and pointing them out in classical literature. I don’t miss grading essays, feeling afraid of surly male students three times my size, wondering how to teach a lesson without printer ink/photocopies, or dealing with the latest student suicide attempt, juvenile detention, pregnancy, or conveniently-timed “miscarriage.” But I sorely miss hanging out in the teacher breakroom in the English wing, chatting with my friends about everything from Chaucer to church gossip, comparing pregnancies and babies, throwing our collective hands up in the air over the latest catastrophe to befall the district. CHS was one of my homes, and it’s hard (and surreal) to not be there any more, and to know how very different it is than it used to be — because even if I were still at CHS, it wouldn’t be the same CHS, because so many people have gone their separate ways.

7. Sometimes it is really hard to keep a straight face around twelve-year-olds. Without going into too many details, I had to confront a boy who was downloading inappropriate photos on a library computer, and the excuse he gave me — well, let’s just say that it’s been entertaining the staff here for the past couple of days!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

I found this meme on The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh! and thought I’d give it a go.

Reading Update

Today is September 9, 2013. This year so far, I have read 50 books toward my initial goal of 52 for 2013; I thought sure I wouldn’t have any time for reading what with having a baby, but it looks like I’m going to be able to bump that goal back up closer to my usual 100-ish books.

Currently Reading

alcatraz The 5th Wave hotel

Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones is the book I’ve been carrying around in my purse up until today. I enjoyed the first book in the series (in an “I would have really liked this when I was eleven” sort of way) but haven’t really gotten into the second book. I can’t resist the concept of evil librarians secretly running the world, though!

I’ve got The 5th Wave next to my bed and, by the time I actually reach my bed of an evening, occasionally have the energy to read a page or two. It’s a new book for our library collection and I thought I’d give it a whirl before releasing it into circulation, but I’m not very far into it yet. So far, it is reminding me of other post-apocalyptic stories like The Road and I Am Legend.

The September book for my book club is The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I was feeling underwhelmed about spending money on books for myself this week, and I’ve got new Phenomenal Cosmic Library Powers, so I put in an inter-library loan request to my old high school (yes, I now work for the same district from which I graduated) for their copy. I’ve just barely started it, but it has already replaced Alcatraz as my carry-around book. I think I may just be hungry for an adult literary voice after chowing down on so much middle level lit!

I’m also reading a lot of book catalogs, etc., and ought to be reading more of my homework textbooks… bleh…