Introverts make great teachers too

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I really dislike the stereotype that a teacher needs to be an extroverted, demonstrative personality. I’m not saying it isn’t stupendous for colourful personalities to be teaching our kids. I simply find it unfortunate that this perception of the profession prevents amazing teachers from entering or staying in it. Introverts are often very reflective and less interested than extroverts at dominating talk. In other words, they don’t need to be the centre of attention. Isn’t that one thing we need more of?

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15 thoughts on “Introverts make great teachers too

  1. I totally agree, Royan. The way I approached my job was to consider it as theatre; improvisational theatre is a mandatory professional skill for all teachers. I think it does take more energy for introverts to teach as we need to recharge with “I time.”

  2. I very much agree as well. In my experience often students find less opportunity to partipate in class and in their learning with an extrovert teacher.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. I think a quality of a good teacher is they aren’t the center of attention. You have a job to do and certain responsibilities but your students should be learning the most from each other and on their own. A good teacher will step aside and let that happen.

  4. I enjoy your blog. I would agree I think we limit ourselves by saying that it takes (…..) in order to be successful. I truly believe that success is built by the passion and intention of the person who is trying. The support of those people plays a significant role and those who are less extroverted tend to be less supported. We all have a song to sing or a lesson to teach. Regardless of what others believe.

  5. Thanks for your post!

    I have often received feedback over the years from District staff that I’m too quiet and don’t say enough. However, that was not always the case in my classroom with students and has not always been the case around schools with colleagues.

    What was/is important to me, though, was that in my classroom and in meetings the focus was/is not about me. It was about the students in my class and is about everyone around the table in meetings.

    I often think about this in meetings and hiring & promotion processes. For so many years I’ve watched the advancement of the extroverted types who put themselves out there in such a way that their presence is always felt and dominant in every situation. Does being introverted prevent a person from leading or contributing? I don’t belive so.

    There’s a lot to be said for soaking it all in, reflecting, and interjecting/responding when appropriate, or at the very least in consideration of everyone else.

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  7. great post. as an introvert myself I couldn’t agree more. my own journey has been an interesting one as I’ve come to realize that whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, what it comes down to is learning how to lead others. learning what they need to succeed, and learning to put yourself to the side so that others can step up. leading is a difficult skill and some areas are easier for the extros, while others for the intros. the real challenge is learning when to talk, and when to listen.

  8. Amen! As an introvert who remembers how it was to be a student and who currently teaches, I couldn’t agree more that education (and American culture, at this point in history) is heavily geared towards extroverted personalities. I remember how stressful it was to spend 7-10 hours every day with my peers, the emphasis on group projects, and constantly being made to feel like something was wrong with me because I was “quiet”. After spending some time outside of the K-12 world (thankfully, university life was much more forgiving), I’m back in it again and getting the same “quiet” complaints.

    Introversion is often mistaken for shyness and/or lack of assertiveness. This is not the case. While some introverts may be shy (especially given that they often enter social situations with the notion that others are already judging them negatively due to their natural characteristics), and some may lack assertiveness, these traits are not interchangeable. An extrovert can suffer from terrible stage fright and be a “people pleaser” while an introvert can be extremely comfortable sharing her ideas with close friends and talking with her feet.

    The fact of the matter is, there are introverted students in the classroom who are undervalued and it is usually the introverted teacher who picks up on this (while the extrovert just complains, “he/she’s too quiet”). Of course introverted teachers can make valuable contributions…as can introverted actors, activists, businesspeople, etc. As a student, I didn’t learn the most from the loud, bubbly teachers…in fact, the ones that left an impression tended towards taking a backseat while challenging us as students to draw our own conclusions.

  9. It bothers me in my degree that as an introvert my teaching style doesn’t ‘fit the mould’ therefore I will be punished for that. My introversion doesn’t prove I’m shy. If anything I’m the one with the most confidence in the class!

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