Teaching is a highly social profession, so it would follow that all teachers are extroverts, right? Wrong.
It can be tough sometimes, but despite the misleading stock image I chose of a teacher cowering from behind a desk (and despite the fact that I have spent more than one conference period under my own desk to be out of the range of view from a hallway window), being a teacher and an introvert isn’t all that bad. It does present some challenges, but there are also ways that introverted teachers have a one-up on the rest of the pack. Here are some things you may have noticed if you, too, are TWI (Teaching While Introverted):
1. Often by four o’clock, you’ve reached your capacity for social interaction.
Occasionally on weeknights you can stomach a small social gathering or dinner with close friends, but if you’re honest, most days you’re in pajamas by 6:30.
2. If you have to eat lunch alone one day, you definitely don’t hate it.
It’s not that you would necessarily prefer eating alone. But on the occasion where you don’t have 18 kids in tutorials or aren’t eating with your fellow teaching buddies, eating alone in perfect silence is a beautiful thing.
3. You’re really good with the kids who are introverts.
You know to give them wait time, have one-on-one conversations, let them use noise-cancelling headphones when appropriate, and other strategies to make them feel comfortable and relaxed.
4. You’re good with all kids, actually.
Your perceptiveness means you can tell when someone’s not understanding, about to cry, going lose it, dying of boredom, etc. And so much of the teaching game is being able to anticipate the next move.
5. You wish library duty was a thing.
For obvious reasons.
6. Talking to parents is the worst (even though it’s not).
You love your students, but no matter how interested you are in learning about and meeting their families, Parent Night is a big source of stress. Tons of strangers + knowing they all want to talk to you RIGHT NOW = one giant, raging sweat fest. (One-on-one parent conference? Lovely. Much less sweaty.)
7. Your creativity is?.
Introverts have some rich inner worlds, man. Your creativity might manifest itself in a wildly elaborate writing project, or you might be really good at discovering new, more effective ways to teach concepts in calculus. One thing’s for sure: mediocrity just isn’t your thing.
8. Other people don’t get it.
People who don’t have an understanding of introverts might think choosing teaching as an introvert is like choosing to be a submarine captain* if you’re afraid of water. But being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like being around your students or that you’re too shy to teach them. All it means is that while some teachers might go home and recharge by going to a gym class with 35 people or happy hour at a crowded bar, you recharge either alone or with a few people. And Netflix. Always Netflix.
9. Sometimes to recharge you have to spend an entire day inside your house.
What’s that? You set a PR? Oh, me too. I didn’t even get to double digits on my Fitbit.
10. You find that you are a go-to when other coworkers have problems.
This can be a great thing (helping colleagues work through issues) or a terrible thing (finding yourself trapped as a Receiver of Rants four out of five afternoons). But either way, your ability to work through problems creatively keeps you on the sidelines of the drama instead of in the middle of it.
11. You can think of plenty of things that are worse than grading.
Going through a stack of paper in an empty, quiet room by yourself? Sign me up! (But only if library duty is already taken.)
*My first thought as an example was a mermaid. #maybrain
Love, Teach teaches English and blogs about it at www.loveteachblog.com. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter. She was going to tell you the rest of this bio blurb but has reached her social capacity for today.