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  1. #1
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    Default INTJs as teachers

    I've spent most of my university years adamantly believing I shouldn't and wouldn't go into research, partly because I didn't want to teach. However, recently a Ph.D. position has started to seem very attractive indeed. (You get to manage your own time! And work on fun stuff! And then you have to write clear, concise, catchy papers about it! And you get to do it all alone! ) I find myself reconsidering just how bad the teaching that is required by my university would be.

    Here's the thing: I thoroughly suck at explaining things on the spot. I can give a good verbal presentation of something when I've had time to prepare beforehand (so if I could only skip ahead to giving lectures, I'd be fine ) but the preparation is crucial. Ask me a question I'm unprepared for, and I first hesitate and then flounder, not knowing where to start. Once I begin to feel that my pedagogical efforts are proving inadequate, I might as well give up; my mind goes blank and you wouldn't think I knew anything about the topic, let alone the answer to the question. I've had several teachers like this - most recently my professor and advisor, who gives inspiring lectures but fails to correctly understand most of the questions he gets let alone answer them satisfactorily - so I know how frustrating it is to be on the receiving end of such inept pedagogy. Aaand three of these teachers are likely INTJs, whereas I don't recall any good teachers who are likely INTJs.

    So I guess my question is... Can INTJs be decent teachers (not lecturers, but teachers)? Please share your positive experiences. (The idea is, of course, for me to delude myself into thinking I can do this. )

    (Okay, okay, you can rant about your negative experiences too. It's not like I can become more anxious about this.)

  2. #2
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    You'll get the low-level undergrad courses where the students don't have the background to challenge you (all that much). Once you've worked your way up the totem-pole, you'll have it figured out.

    INTJ female Biochem prof = excellent. (Even the one of the other (ENTP) biochem profs recommended to my friend that if she could get into this INTJ's course over his own it would be in her best interests because she's that good of a prof. (He wasn't trying to have a small class size--he loves more students to play off of and make fun of, he was genuine.) She mastered Te/Fi for teaching, and her Ni was only for herself, or when students like me asked her questions in her office and she saw it would help in specific situations.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  3. #3
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    This is off to a good start.

    Although...

    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    You'll get the low-level undergrad courses where the students don't have the background to challenge you (all that much).
    ... At my university undergraduate students not only major in economics, they don't study anything else. So they're motivated. They're also smart, and the fact that they don't know much economics yet just compounds the risk of unexpected questions.

    INTJ female Biochem prof = excellent. (Even the one of the other (ENTP) biochem profs recommended to my friend that if she could get into this INTJ's course over his own it would be in her best interests because she's that good of a prof. (He wasn't trying to have a small class size--he loves more students to play off of and make fun of, he was genuine.) She mastered Te/Fi for teaching, and her Ni was only for herself, or when students like me asked her questions in her office and she saw it would help in specific situations.
    Hmm... Maybe I just need to sit down and learn the course material more rigorously instead of the visceral way through which I passed most of my exams?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kora's Avatar
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    My Maths teacher is an INTJ, and he is an excellent one.
    Do not fear my dear, there are people who are naturally good at teaching others, but since it's a skill, you can master it. Besides, newbie teachers will always be newbie teachers. There's nothing to feel bad about.
    5w4 - Idiosyncratic/Leisurely/Dramatic
    It's the devil's way now.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Simplexity's Avatar
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    My dad is an INTJ and by most accounts an excellent teacher( refferals/responses from students and my mom who learned programming largely due to his help). I think hes easy to understand but the Ni/Te really bugs me. It seems like he can really explain it in a coherent logical way but is so one tracked and ingrained that he has to painfully list it out his own reasoning flow and can't really assimalate in any input from any one else. I think it could just be a clash of the Ti/Ne and Ni/Te though.
    My cold, snide, intellectual life is just a veneer, behind which lies the plywood of loneliness.

  6. #6
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Eco, how is the job situation in Academe where you are? Is it as ridiculous as it is on this side of the pond? (Someone asked my prof why he chose our Uni, and he said it's because there were 300ish people competing for 5 jobs in Canada, and our Uni offered him a job.)
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  7. #7
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    Eco, how is the job situation in Academe where you are? Is it as ridiculous as it is on this side of the pond? (Someone asked my prof why he chose our Uni, and he said it's because there were 300ish people competing for 5 jobs in Canada, and our Uni offered him a job.)
    I don't know, actually. All I know is I might be able to get a Ph.D. position if I don't mind teaching, which pushes the job prospects issue safely three years into the future.

  8. #8
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    I know I'm not an INTJ or anything, but I'm in the same boat as you more or less. I'm going for my Masters, and am teaching an undergraduate lower-level Spanish course. Honestly, it's been lots of work but tons of fun...although, I'm pretty decent at coming up with on-the-spot answers (I picked this skill up from waiting tables). At the point where you have your degree (or in your case, already a Masters?) the vast majority of undergrads don't even have a hope of outsmarting you with something. Just come off as confident and competant and with strict/high expectations on the first day, and you'll be fine.

    I can not tell you how important planning is. When I plan well, class goes well. When I'm pressed for time and just slap something together, the class is exhausting, confusing, and chaotic. The students are awesome though...most want to learn, and most ask questions when they're interested in knowing more, not when they feel like trying to undermine you.

    Why not go for it? Think about all the crappy professors that you had and the things they did...and don't follow in their footsteps. Focus on your awesome professors and model your classroom after them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Uytuun's Avatar
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    Teachers don't have to know everything. Perhaps it would be useful to look at it differently and see teaching as an opportunity for learning where you don't have to be able to know everything and explain stuff 100% correctly, it's liberating to leave behind the perfectionism IMO. When you get a question you need to get it through Ni and Te, it takes time for us to form a coherent and logical answer. Perhaps your students would benefit from learning to accept the meaning that lies in the fragmentary, or from seeing how an answer is a construction. One that can be doubted.

    You could address your teaching style at the beginning of the semester and mention that if they want a really thought-out and coherent answer, they should e-mail you the questions beforehand. Get rid of this universal teacher ideal and create a situation that's catered to and maximises your own abilities I'd say. The way you present your prospective students, they sound like they'd be open to seeing things like this.

    I had a lovely INTJ linguistics teacher who would go off on tangents and all of a sudden got stuck and didn't even remember what had sparked the idea. But he wasn't afraid to acknowledge that and would often come up with new stuff depending on what we mentioned. It was particularly fun for me, but the others were also quite forgiving of the chaos because he was clearly competent and we had interesting discussions. This approach was very motivating to us (we could help to create, doubt and discard) and he seemed to be very motivated as well. Please don't just use your Te in the classroom.

    How many students will you have to teach?

  10. #10
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uytuun View Post
    it's liberating to leave behind the perfectionism IMO.
    ... You have a point.

    How many students will you have to teach?
    Probably 15-30. And it would likely be microeconomics 101 or similar, teaching students how to do the exercises that supplement the lectures that a professor will be giving.

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