Perceptions

2 02 2012

As part of my teaching job, I oversee a co-ed group of eight freshman throughout the year.  We talk about anything from academics, to GPAs, to goal setting, to character and integrity.  We meet several times a month to connect and grow.

Last week, my advisory group and I did an interesting activity.  I handed out the following form on Personal Assets and Qualities of Character.  (It was double-sided with the exact same list on both sides.) 

 

Characteristics Form

Characteristics Form

 

The guidelines were simple.

  1. On side 1, circle 5-10 characteristics that you think best describe you.
  2. Underline 5 that you would really like to improve on.
  3. Flip to side 2 and pass your paper to your classmates.  Have them circle/tally the characteristics they think define you.

We took a few minutes to this, and most were a little surprised by the results, including me.  My experience echoes what several of my students found to be true.

 

How I perceive myself

How I perceive myself

 

How my students perceive me

How my students perceive me

 

Many of the attributes my students circled about me I thought were spot on.  Organized, detail-oriented, and prepared were all adjectives I also used to describe myself.

However, my students also described me as:  joyful, loving, friendly, and caring—all areas I perceive myself as weak in.  The one that made me chuckle the most was one student circled “patient.”  For those who really know me, that is probably one of the last characteristics anyone would use to describe me.  But I must admit, it’s encouraging to think someone sees that in me.

So what was the point of this activity?  To drive home the idea that our perceptions of ourselves do not always match how others perceive us, positively or negatively.  (Side note, this was a list of positive character attributes.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this was a list of negative ones.)   Some people tend to be their own worst critic.  Others grossly over-estimate their character and talents.  Whichever way you swing on that pendulum, this quick, easy activity will hopefully help you discover the that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

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2 responses

19 10 2012
findyoursnap

I would add encouraging to your list. You always help me strive to be better

19 10 2012
huddlestonk

Thanks Emily. 🙂

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