My last class was chock full of choleric students. My natural phlegmatic tendencies were hard-pressed to meet them in a strong way and I feel like I learned a lot about choleric children.
This time around I’ve got a much more easy-going group. Phlegmatic is the most dominant temperament, which is something I know quite well how to work with. It’s interesting, though, that I can observe within myself how effective it is to meet like with like regarding the temperaments. Though I love the coziness of my phlegmatic bunch, there are times their slow-moving, “it’s all good” attitude drives me crazy. They’re bringing out my inner choleric!
This has been so good for me, both for my own inner development but also for me to gain a better understanding of my choleric students. I’ve got two quite strong cholerics in the class and I can now sympathize with their occasional frustration with their classmates. It’s sharpened my eye towards gaining an understanding of how to meet these students.
One thing that I realized early on about these strong, fiery individuals is that it is extremely important for me to get them on my side. When I took this class and began to contemplate teaching them I put great attention to putting together a plan for getting these children in my pocket. There are a number of ways to get choleric children on your side.
- Put them in positions of leadership. (have them lead the line, take notes to the office, take notes in class meetings)
- Acknowledge special skills they have and let them demonstrate them in class. One of my cholerics is quite talented on the piano. Every chance I get I ask her to go to the piano and give us the beginning notes for singing or to play along with the harmony. She’ll even play a piece in our class play.
- Take them into your confidence. Maybe you can let them in on something you want to do with the class and get their help in making it happen. Be careful with this, though. They need to know that you are still the authority.
- Give them a special role in the class. One of my cholerics has a very good social sense. I’ll often go to her if I’m worried about a particular student and I’ll ask her to watch out for him or her. She loves this and responds admirably.
One other thing to really consider in working with choleric children is how important it is that you maintain authority. They hold high standards for themselves and expect the same of others. They are also quite eager to assert their own authority. If you don’t show them that you’re the one with the authority they’ll be happy to take that job away from you. Once that authority is lost it is very difficult to gain it back. Cholerics are not quick to forgive and forget.
Though these fiery temperaments can be challenging to work with, more and more I am finding myself appreciating them. I admire their can-do attitude, strong will and determination. Truly, where would the world be without cholerics?