July 21, 2010

Balancing My Introvert, Extrovert, Judger and Perceiver

This week I am teaching four classes at the Art Institute of California, three in San Francisco and one in Sunnyvale. The fourth class is just for a week, as I substituted for my colleague's Consumer Behavior course. Being "on" for each of these four, four-hour teaching blocks, takes great amounts of preparation, energy and focus. Students need precise information and very clear directives in every way that I communicate - by voice, with movement, in handouts and on their written assignments. Each class session takes hours of preparation.

Getting into the teaching "zone" and then re-charging my batteries in preparation for the next class is changing my weekly schedule. Previously, I had many meetings scheduled and countless mini-projects. Now, I have streamlined my calendar and even my social life. It is quite a change for me, the person who usually generates projects, leads community discussions and loves to meet.

In three of the four classes I am teaching this week we are discussing Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Each time I present the content I gain a clearer understanding of the personality types and reflect on my ENFJ. Slowly, but progressively, I am balancing out my first and last letters with their "opposites". My extrovert is allowing my introvert to emerge and similarly, my judger is giving way to my perceiver.

With all this change, I actually feel more inner peace, or perhaps it is better balance. Yes, I am always running the show in my Professor role, but I am also allowing room, space and acceptance for others to find their voices. Students need to step in and step up if I want to help them learn and grow. In that space emerges all their personality types and also their daily dramas. I am like the captain of a pirate ship who pulls and pushes forward towards our hidden treasure while the crew attempts mutinees. They need the captain's leadership but also battle it all the way.

After teaching each class I meander back to my house, feeling no need to rush. I feel relaxed, if tired, having taught another day and managing to keep the ship afloat, avoiding capsizing, and being challenged along the journey by my curious students.

I am at a new point in my career and the change is welcome. Perhaps I am fearless in my willingness to continuously evolve my path - no two days alike, except for as much of my class plans as I can overlap into Human Resources Management, Executive Leadership and Career Development. Also, my new growing ability to ride the wave and not battle it for control.