xNTP Professors vs xNTJ Students

Gineasll asked: You once said that you hate your xNTP professors because they have all the opposite functions of an INTJ? Could you go into more detail on how that plays out? Are there any other types you hate as professors?

I love you! ….distantly, and without emotional investment…Hold on, let me revise that: I love you theoretically!

I have nothing against xNTPs as people. In fact, I love my xNTP friends, but yes, I hate them as teachers. I hate xSFJ teachers equally well (same functions as the xNTP).

Here’s why.

Ne vs Ni

My interior Ni wants to focus deeply, intimately and intensely on a single area of study at a time, but Ne dom/aux teachers want to jump all over the place.

Hey here’s an idea! Just kidding, let’s talk about this one! Somehow, they’re connected, I swear!

Ni wants ideas to be fully fleshed out, fully understood and brought to the level of God’s understanding before moving on. But Ne doesn’t necessarily care about resolving the ideas it brings up. Ne just wants the thrill of the idea passing through their mind long enough for another one to come along.

Furthermore, Ni wants to filter out the unnecessary –cut out all those random, unnecessary and unrelated tangents about this one time that the teacher was playing with his kids and they said something funny.

Ne teachers however, want to talk about everything without discriminating the importance of one idea over another (even if they claim to stress importance on one thing, they really don’t).

Unconsciously, they place equal importance on every idea, while Ni wants to cast aside anything irrelevant and focus on a specific few ideas. In Ni terms, it’s always better to understand one thing thoroughly and completely than to have a vague knowledge of everything.

Te vs Ti

The Ti teacher cares way more about how things work than a Te student does. Ti gets into the details of how such and such works, meanwhile my Te really only cares what it does.

I don’t care how the market economy works, just so long as it works and I can understand the significance of its usefulness in our society (NiTe).

I don’t are how the cogs of the machine fits together. I care what results the machine will bring. In the cases that I do want to know how something works, it’s usually because I want to try to implement it into my life (and thus have to know how it works in order to duplicate it).

Furthermore, my Te can often be more than a bit blunt, and that doesn’t usually come across well to Fe using teachers (even if they’re T types).

Also…Ti isn’t very organised. Courses run by upper Ti/Ne users tend to jump all over the place with seemingly no direction and as an NiTe user, I hate that.

Te doesn’t ever want to be surprised mid-semester by a huge project that wasn’t on the syllabus, or told that they didn’t follow the instructions (when the problem was that the instructions were either too detailed or too vague to be followed by a Te user).

My Te also likes to have the freedom of bringing up and discussing bluntly controversial topics that most Fe users are adverse to talking about in class. I’m usually the kid who sits in the back of class, either silent throughout the entire semester, or the one who always asks the uncomfortable questions.

Fe vs Fi

Often, I find myself trying desperately not to roll my eyes in the back of class when an Fe using teacher makes a sweeping generalization about people. They make wide claims that they think are universal, but usually aren’t, and as an Fi using INTJ, I am perfectly aware that few of those generalizations apply to everyone in the room (or even the majority for that matter).

Furthermore, a lot of Fe teachers assume that everyone in the class lives by the exact same moral code when they talk about ethics in lecture.

FeSi/SiFe teachers also seem to hate my poker face. In fact, they make comments about my death glare on a regular basis.

The poker face can make Fe users secretly and subconsciously hate me –often skewing grades unnecessarily unless I make direct efforts to manipulate the teachers into liking me (never something I enjoy).

Se vs Si

This one I legitimately HATE. Primarily because the S function is how we intake information.

I’ve said before that I, as an NiSe user, am a visual/kinesthetic learner. I don’t like to read the instructions before I start learning. I need to figure out how to perform tasks as I’m doing them.

If I’m learning how to do a specific type of math, reading the text book doesn’t help me. I need to try the math problem itself in order to learn how to do it.

Si runs by the books. It wants you to follow a specific set of instructions before you try anything out.

Si is also good at memorization. Se isn’t typically as good as Si at remembering information off the cuff, especially if it’s coupled with upper Ni that immediately deletes any information thats not specific to it’s worldview.

So there are times when, if none of the information I’m learning in a class is not applicable to my worldview — I will literally come out of lecture hall having subconsciously erased everything that was said during lecture. Upper NiTe basically only remembers what’s really important to it, but unfortunately, I can’t trick myself into believing that boring classes are important to me.

Sherlock can’t remember that the earth revolves around the sun! I’m the same way (except with different topics).

It’s for this reason that I use the method of Loci as a memorization tool. First of all, it feeds my visual mind, and it forces me to feel like I’m doing something (albeit virtually).

Also, specific to xSFJ teachers –they always want to teach details first, then big picture. My Ni wants big picture first, then details.

Either way…it’s a lose/lose arrangement for both xNTJ students and the xNTP/xSFJ teacher.

18 thoughts on “xNTP Professors vs xNTJ Students

  1. HA! You would’ve LOATHED my Perception/History of Psychology prof. Courses were one semester-long discussion each, very little pre-structuring of the lectures. He had tenure, so the official syllabus was a hilariously (in my opinion…) sarcastic document which, while technically in compliance with syllabus requirements, made VERY clear his opinion on the state of modern post-secondary education (‘cattle management’ was mentioned). Marks were based on one project, whose only requirement was to somehow prove that we’d understood and thought about the concepts we’d talked about over the term. As long as we could do just that, we were free to turn in absolutely anything we pleased. Powerpoint, essay, poem, painting/drawing (you’d include an explanation of the symbolism/meaning/your thought processes and reasoning, written or verbal). Apparently one kid did symbolic figure skating. Not even making that up.

    Favourite prof ever, no sarcasm. Loved the courses, genuinely disappointed that he retired before I’d had the chance to ask him to supervise my Master’s thesis.

    I mean, he was fully aware that people either loved him or hated him. And to be fair, you knew right away what the course was going to be like, so you had plenty of time to switch courses if it really wasn’t what you were wanting.

    Most INTP INTP there ever was. Even had the hair. I mean, still does, as far as I know.

    In all fairness, there are times where that kind of approach isn’t ideal, even for kids who usually love learning about anything and everything. My dad the computer science prof tried to help me memorize the times tables when I was about seven. Two hours later, he’s brought up things called ‘variables’ and ‘algorithms’, ‘X’ itself is now apparently a number, I have zero recollection of the teacher bringing up ‘Y’ or any other letter, I’m crying in frustration, and my mom’s telling him to shut up so she can take over.

    Best friend also went through that (math prof dad). Asked for help with something like addition with numbers that carry over, ended up sitting through marathon lecture discussing, amongst many things, something about Ancient Egypt and the number ‘3’ (possibly related to architecture).


  2. Have you ever had an ESFP teacher? If so, what were they like for you?

    Come to think of it, someone elsewhere had pointed out that much of the educational system is centered around high Si.

    “Si runs by the books. It wants you to follow a specific set of instructions before you try anything out.”
    Honestly, I’ve found this to be a weakness of mine sometimes. I have a tendency to want to understand something fully, know *all* the instructions, before I step out and just try. So sometimes I end up not trying, and miss out on what I could’ve learned.

    I’ve heard the expression, “You don’t make the right choice. You make a choice and you make it right.” And knowing myself, I think that is a challenge for strong Si.


    • I’ve had several ESFP professors. Most of them have been wholly unmemorable, however I did have one I loved (for a painting class). She completely ditched the Si methods of the education system (and yes, depending on what country you’re in, the education system is very much based on Si) and individualised the course to fit the needs of each of her individual students. It was probably my favourite ever university level art class.


  3. Well this definitely explains why I dislike my current humanities class. I suppose it’s partially the subject material (I can’t bring myself to care about Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War) and partially my professor. She seems to go on tangents about where certain words come from (which would be interesting in a different context) and then after about 15 minutes, asks us a relevant question. Our latest paper topic went something like “Pick a passage towards the end of a Greek tragedy of your choice and describe how it furthers the philosophy of the play or allows us to deepen the understanding of a character. Please be sure to be analytically rigorous in your paper.”

    Whatever she meant by “analytically rigorous,” she clearly meant something different than what I was thinking. Maybe it means something different in the humanities than in the sciences. I personally have no clue.

    My math professor is the same way. We’ll be trying to work through a specific problem in class and then she’ll go off on a tangent about how when we’re using trigonometric substitution to remember the domain of u and……I’ve already tuned out by that point. But I’m definitely like you in that I need to try the problem first. I use the textbook as a last resort.

    Anyway, thanks for another great article.


    • I currently have an upper Ti using cello teacher who doesn’t see a need for explaining his thought process out loud. I have to ask him ten questions before I can figure out what he wants me to do.


  4. First of all, I agree with you about xNTPs making bad teachers. However, as an INTP, I object to your reasoning for it. Of course, since I’m not an ENTP I can’t speak for them, so this will mostly be specifically relating to INTPs. You seem to use a lot of stereotypes about xNTPs, such as focusing too much on how something works rather than the practical applications. In general, hese are true. However, we don’t see a problem with that; in fact, we often see it the opposite way: only caring about the applications of an idea seems superficial and narrow-minded to us. Your section about Ne versus Ni is not a very accurate explanation for the incoherence of an xNTP’s explanation. We’re bad at explaining things because not because of our Ne, but (in the case of an INTP, anyway) because of our inferior Fe. We’re very conscious of how our statements sound to others and whether they’re good enough, and, with Ti as our dominant function, we analyze our own statements to pick out flaws. Whenever an INTP makes something to show or present to other people, he or she spends a long time carefully going through it, re-wording sentences, and trying to make it ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. However, in class, a teacher often won’t have scripted or rehearsed a lecture. What you hear is this process happening in real time, resulting in long-winded rambling that takes at least three times as long as it needs to to get to the point. Your point about Ne teachers unfairly expecting Ni students to be able to learn things through memory is entirely true. About the poker face: I can’t imagine why this would be a problem(To an INTP anyway). We generally find it much easier to communicate with people who do not act very emotional. While we do have Fe, we tend to not have a good grip on it, and so we deliberately repress it because we don’t want to run the risk of embarrassment. The less someone displays emotion, the less we feel pressured to give an emotional response. Many INTPs try to rationalize their insecurity about expressing their emotions by saying that emotions are illogical, which just makes the whole thing worse. I could go into a much longer rant about how INTPs try to be INTJs, but I’m going to cut myself off here.


    • I definitely see your point. However, since my goal in writing this particular article was merely to answer a question of why INTJs have difficulty understanding xNTP teachers (not to explain the xNTP teacher’s thought process), I’m not going to change anything about the post.


  5. I’m so glad to see this article finally written as it vindicates all of my seemingly petty frustrations with my professors’ teaching styles! Furthermore, it reminds me of just how wonderful the diversity of similar types is! Let me explain.

    I found it very interesting that A said he doesn’t learn math better by reading the book before attempting the problems, whereas I am the complete opposite despite having the same functions! I learn best by first motivating the topic (what is X at its core essence, where does it fit in the big picture, and how/why is it useful), then learning the theory and fitting all the key ideas together, and then finally attempting the problems. This is almost done by reading the textbook first (if you buy supplemental texts that aren’t Ti-Si torture machines)! Plus, I find that I learn much more from the problems when I recognize pathological cases or changes to the original assumptions/hypotheses, which requires an in depth knowledge of the problems you’re doing.

    As for the function by function analysis I would say we agree on everything except your Te focus on utility and application. I’m thinking that because Te is inferior in me I don’t feel so compelled to always ask, “how and why is this useful” so long as it interests my Ni. So all the Ti rigor and lengthy explanation is much easier for me to stomach assuming I know the broader significance of the topic at hand. If I don’t know the broader implications and I’m being assaulted with theorem after theorem, definition, lemma, proof, corollary, and so on and so forth ad nauseous I quickly become disengaged and very insistent on, “But what does this all mean? How does this relate to X, Y, Z?”

    I’m curious A, do you ever feel like lectures are mostly a waste of time and skip them because you can learn most of the material yourself much more efficiently? Given that you’re an English major the pedagogy might be different for you, but in my experience I find lectures are impossible to follow if I took the time to read the book because I’m miles ahead and I feel like most lectures aren’t engaging/passionate enough to make up for their inefficiency; I read at 300 wpm vs the what < 100 wpm pace professors speak at – unless they are ENPs where it's more like 600 wpm. And don't get me started on all the inefficiencies I notice courtesy of quaternary Te when I have lots of things I need to do… it's agonizing! My favorite example is when professors say something to the class and then waste a minute writing what they just said on THTR board despite the fact that it's not even necessary for me to it write down or take note of anyways AHHH! :)

    By the way, to give an example of Ti-Si weapons of mass cognitive destruction check out Section 2.1-2.3 from this Algebra textbook… It's mind numbing!! Now of course not all of algebra is this dry, but this heavy Ti or Si use shows up occasionally in mathematics… a necessary evil for such a fascinating field.



    • Yes, I do quite frequently feel that lectures are a waste of time, but it depends on the class/professor in question. Oft times, I’ll attend class just to get the participation points, but instead of listening or taking notes, I actually just work on editing my novel. In fact, I think I’ve even done paid work while sitting in class and walked out feeling fantastic for having just earned €20 while sitting in class.

      I’ve been doing this for years and professors just think I’m taking notes.

      And yes, there are plenty of classes for which I do not complete any of the readings for the same reasons you specified. Unlike you, I don’t read very fast (I was reading at age 3, but because I have to stop and analyse everything while I’m reading it, I don’t read very quickly).

      Is that your textbook? It hurts my brain to read (and I am sorry for you).


      • I find it both sad and funny that while that textbook excerpt really messed you up, I was just reading through it like, ‘wow, that’s cool!’ Dom Ti user, everybody!


      • **I just want to say real quick that I meant no offense to INTPs when I said Ti-Si weapons of mass cognitive destruction, it’s just that for a person whose introverted functions are Fi-Ni (in this order) it’s very difficult to read information that’s both highly structured AND very detailed as INTP writing/thinking can be at times. Im sure for INTPs or even NTP/SFJs in general reading information/arguments that is(are) flexibly structured (if structured at all), and very flighty on the details (almost all my mathematical proofs skip a LOT of steps, deduction, and justification that many Ti types deem necessary and my Te considers obvious and omit) must be equally frustrating.**

        Thanks for the response A I’m always interested in hearing differences between similar types. I would like to mention that naturally I am also a slower reader than average (avg is 250 wpm) and that only recently in my life (during college) I learned that I don’t need to read so carefully to get the big ideas. High school really exaggerated my sensing predisposition to read VERY carefully and slowly, but to my chagrin at the time I could never remember all those accursed little details (History class with dates was the WORST for this) because Ni only internalizes big ideas, concepts, or principles.

        So I only read quickly because I need to be efficient and I focus on big ideas (thankfully mathematics is a major where focus on concepts and ideas is greatly rewarded, this is why I’m a math major because 1. It was harder than my original major finance 2. Less memorization). When I’m reading for pleasure I’m often very embarrassed by how slow I read compared to others because I’m an auditory thinker meaning I read everything in voices and I often stop to reflect on parts I find interesting that relate to my life. If it’s pleasure reading on technical subjects I do the same as you and analyze everything at the cost of reading speed (depth of understanding > breadth of knowledge in the form of undigested facts aka Se). Though usually I retain just as much information if I force myself to pleasure read faster anyways! I guess Fi-Se just likes to take its time because it’s so enjoyable to read with a coffee in hand in a stimulating atmosphere (Barnes & Noble or any cafe).


  6. I’ve been wondering about something…you’ve referred to “upper” or “lower” functions a few times before. I don’t think I quite understand what those are — is there a post that explains this? (If not, should I submit this to “Ask an INTJ anything”?)


    • I have several posts explaining the basics of function hierarchy, but I’ll give you a quick example to explain what I mean by those terms.

      An ISFP has four main cognitive functions: consecutively Fi, Se, Ni and Te. They work in this hierarchal order, each Fi and Se being the strongest and most relevant, and Ni and Te being weaker. When I refer to “upper” functions, I am talking about the first 2 functions in your function hierarchy (in an ISFP, these would be Fi and Se). “Lower” functions would be the bottom 2 functions in the same hierarchy (in an ISFP, Ni and Te).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Once again, fascinating and thoughtful. (INTJ here.)

    There were so many times I would take a class, read a book or otherwise intake information without a specific application in mind and it was like it was coming in one ear and going out the other.

    The school system – Catholic, public and even (a top 10 US) college – especially had me consuming tons of information that I neither had application for nor particularly was passionate about.

    Then, there were other times, when learning to teach English as a Foreign Language, when starting a business that required me to learn Unix systems administration on the fly and when working on novels, that I picked up educational materials related to the immediate and vital task and the intellectual excitement of receiving these immediately useful ideas was like a rocketing into the stratosphere – exhilarating.

    Now I know why I can’t absorb information unless it relates to something I am working on. It’s a waste of time otherwise. This is one reason why Prussian-style schooling wasted my youth and may be a waste for younger INJs, to say the least.

    Related: https://www.personalitypage.com/html/kids/INJ.html

    btw “…Fe users are adverse to talking…” should be ‘averse’ I suspect.

    Thanks, great article.


  8. You say that you dislike some teachers because their functions are all different from yours. How about those who only share half your functions? Would you rather learn from a teacher who uses NiSe (in either order) with FeTi or a teacher who uses TeFi with SiNe? Just wondering.


    • Hmm… definitely TeFi with SiNe. Why?

      1. I would rather have a teacher who’s organised, communicates directly and can appeal to students on an individual level than one who doesn’t
      2. I grew up in a household where 3 out of 6 members used TeFi and SiNe, so I have a better chance of adapting to it than an FeTi using teacher.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s