When you imagine the typical, light-hearted, happy-go-lucky vision of childhood bliss, you are picturing the sanguine child.
Children who skip and run more than they walk, who are never down for more than a moment, and who positively bounce along through life are sanguine children. In fact, the temperament that typifies childhood as a whole is sanguine.
The element that corresponds to the sanguine is air. Sanguines are light, happy and fleeting. They flit from one activity to the next and though they enjoy a wide variety of activities, most often their energy and focus is on social matters. Sanguines have lots of friends and like to be surrounded by many different types of people. They can be the life of the party, though they may only stay for a short time before it’s time to move on to something new, because for the sanguine, variety is the spice of life.
Who is the sanguine in the classroom? The sanguine is the blond, curly-headed girl in the middle of the room who is surrounded by her friends — a group that includes everyone in the class. She is bubbly and almost always smiling. She flits from one friend to another in a happy light-hearted way. Her flitting nature may sometimes cause her to hurt the feelings of another (probably a melancholic) but she doesn’t really mean it and as far as she’s concerned unless it happened 3 minutes ago, it’s ancient history.
She is physically active and happiest when the lesson includes movement. When she moves, the observant eye will notice a bounce in her step and a tendency to walk on her toes. She loves to dance, jump and play.
The sanguine appreciates lessons that move along quickly. She processes things quickly and though she usually understands it all before she moves on, if something takes too much focus and energy, she’ll happily move on before she has fully penetrated a topic.
How can the teacher best meet the sanguine? First of all, recognize the sanguine’s gifts. Her happy nature can be a blessing in the classroom and can often bring a melancholic friend out of his or her despair. The sanguine can make things a lot of fun! In those heavy adolescent years, this is a blessing indeed! When doing skits in the class, I always make sure there is a sanguine in each group. Sanguines love drama and can often lead the charge in helping a group of students pull something together.
Seat the sanguine right in the middle of the room. She’ll be happiest there, surrounded by friends, but she’ll also benefit from her classmates’ presence holding her in. If you put her next to the window she’ll be off in the clouds with the birds and the butterflies for the whole lesson.
At the same time that we recognize the sanguine’s gifts, we must also acknowledge her challenges. What the sanguine needs most of all is grounding. Without it she’ll never be able to take that wide range of interests and activities and put them to purposeful use. She’s got plenty of air, it’s up to us to help her find some earth, too.