Hi, I’m Jane Still and I trained as a secondary school science teacher. During the thirty years since I have notched up a huge variety of teaching experiences, both formal and informal. I have taught in a variety of schools as well as a field study centre. I have worked with children and young people as a youth leader, children’s worker, and toddler group organiser. I have managed adults in a charity.
Almost twenty years ago I began studying the use of the enneagram personality typology. To begin with I was interested in my own personal development, but I soon realised it was invaluable for understanding both adults and children around me….especially when they seemed to me to be behaving in a confusing way. The enneagram is a way of understanding personalities which begins with a person’s drivers – what their unspoken and often unconscious concerns are – and the fundamental strategies they have gradually developed in order to cope with these concerns.
In his book How Children Fail, John Holt observed ‘Strategy is the outgrowth of character. Children use the strategies they do because of the way they feel, the expectations they have of the universe, the way they evaluate themselves, the classroom, and the demands made on them.’
I have been a supply teacher for some years now, and I have found that the enneagram is a valuable toolkit for understanding students in the classroom. Many students find school a stressful place, especially when a supply or substitute teacher is in charge. In this crucible their strategies become very apparent. The enneagram personality typology provides a toolkit to enable one to spot those strategies, but also to better understand the underlying drivers which have moulded those strategies.