Personality Type and Interest in Teaching

What kind of person is most attracted to the teaching profession? Research with the Myers-Briggs has consistently shown that, in general, extraversion (E), sensing (S), feeling (F), and judging (J) are the personality dimensions most common among education students and teachers. The SJ combination is particularly common among K-12 educators. Sensing types are practical, orderly, and concrete; and judging types are planful, organized, and more likely to be guided by target dates and routine.

Delight Willing, Kristin Guest, and Joint Morford (2001) conducted a study that examined tlnee questions concerning personality type and teaching: (1) Are teachers different from the population at large? (2) Are preservice students different from inservice teachers? and (3) Are teachers who go straight into training following the undergraduate degree different from those who delay training by a year or more?

Participants were preservice "master-in-training" (MIT) students who had completed an undergraduate degree and who had received training to become a teacher. First, the researchers used the Myers-Briggs to compare educators with the general population. Results showed that the master-in-training students (compared with the population norms published in the MBTI manual) were much more likely to be high in intuition and feeling. Also, the preservice master-in-training participants, compared with inservice teachers, were more likely to be extraverted and intuitive. Finally, students who delayed teacher training were more likely to be intuitive than those who went straight into teacher training.

Results of the studies of engineers and teachers may be a valuable source of information for college students interested in choosing a course of study that will lead to career satisfaction.

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