Life as an Introverted Teacher

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Crono91, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2014

    So much of what others have written is true for me. I get to school [excessively] early to work out and then prep alone in my classroom, occasionally eat lunch alone, and sometimes hit the bathroom just to have a few moments to myself (especially when I'm feeling "off"). Teaching is acting for me. I play a role that I don't exhibit anywhere else in my life. And that's ok because it helps me BE a teacher.

    One area of my school and personal life that has suffered due to my introversion is my [lack of a] social life. I have no energy to do anything other than sit at my computer after school. I don't go to extracurricular events (which I know is helpful for building relationships) and I don't have any friends. It's something to work on. But first things first: get through the school day! I hope you find some strategies that work for you. :)
     
  2. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2014

    It's interesting how most of you have co-workers that don't entirely understand what being an introvert is like. I know it's hard for extroverts to understand, but I find my friends understand a little...

    It's also funny how good introverts are at "acting." That seems to be what all of you have posted. I remember in my public speaking course, my friends were shocked when I'd do my speech, because one moment I'm quiet and just listening, and the next I'm telling a store, having inflection and mannerisms, and using props as I act wholeheartedly interested in the topics I'm presenting.

    ---

    I like the idea of eating lunch alone. I don't know school politics, so I'm not sure why other teachers would look down on that; since I'm friendly with everyone, I'd hope they wouldn't think I was just avoiding all life (... well, I guess that IS what I'll be doing. Haha.)

    Also, getting there early sounds like great advice on many levels.

    ---

    Have any of you had trouble "acting" when you notice a kid or two that are disengaged or having a sour face? I notice emotions like they're bright colors, and sometimes they could throw my game off a little!
     
  3. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Aug 13, 2014

    I agree with most of what all the previous posters have mentioned. I have found ways over the years to get through the day and be "on" when I need to and "recharge" when I need to. I am one of those teachers who eat lunch by myself (((often))). I don't see anything wrong with that actually. There is no where in the "Rule Book of Teachers" that says you must eat lunch with your colleagues. It is your time and you should use it as you wish. I close my door on my lunch and on my prep most days and eat in quiet. My coworkers understood it was my personality and had nothing to do with them. Now when it is common planning time or time to work in groups etc. I am all in! I also gave my students Lunch With The Teacher days on Fridays which allowed them to come up and eat lunch in the room with me. I knew when Friday came, I would have to just tough it out, but I did it because I loved my students and I enjoyed being with them. Besides, they earned it! :) You just learn how to recharge during other times and in other ways. It's funny that sometimes, as I'm walking through the hallways, I'm finding a couple minutes to recharge then. Colleagues used to ask, "Hey, are you ok?" It used to drive me nuts because I was perfectly fine. But I must look as though I was in deep thought as I'm picking up my class etc. After explaining to them that I'm usually just in deep thought, they stopped asking. lol. In the classroom, while I'm interacting with my students, I am absolutely on! My class is known for being highly engaging. But when I get home, I take a quick nap every single day. Seriously. I take a daily nap after work but I need it in order to be "on" for my kids when they get home. That's my down time then I'm up cooking dinner, and it works! Don't worry, you will be fine. You will find ways to be the best you, you can be. All teacher do! Good luck.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 14, 2014

    I would play computer games at lunchtime. It helped me kind of zone out and provided great relaxation.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2014

    I also try to get out for a quick walk at lunch a few times a week.
     
  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Aug 14, 2014

    I also have a long commute - the hour each way is a great way for me to recharge. I've turned down requests to carpool because I NEED that time alone!
     
  7. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Aug 14, 2014

    I taught next door to an introvert-and my daughter has her this year-her classroom is a completely different world than others. I have never-NEVER-heard her students be loud, no matter their behavior outside her room. She just has this effect on kids, that makes them quiet. Her room is very peaceful and kind of...floaty...I don't know how to describe it. Just something comes over you when you walk in. She had it painted soft yellow and green tones, and it fits.

    I didn't realize I had introversion tendencies until I started teaching. I was really good at being "on" all day, but when I got home, I NEEDED quiet. No talking to others. Just time. With my own children being young, I had to wait until bedtime to get that, but I would always stay up later than everyone else just so I could have MY time.

    So I think you can train yourself to look forward to the time you'll get to yourself, eventually. If you need that to be lunch, then do it-don't worry about what others think. You can offer an explanation if you feel that is necessary, but you don't have to. It is what it is!
     
  8. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2014

    This is such a great thread!

    I'm introverted, and I knew it long before teaching, but this job has really helped me to be "on" for longer periods of time. :) It's not being in front of the classroom that's tiring, but the conversations that happen constantly all day long. I NEED that prep time and lunch to be alone and recharge.

    Last year was a huge struggle because I only had a prep maaaybe twice a week, and every other part of the day was with people. I sat with the other teachers at lunch because I wanted to build relationships, but found myself zoning out. Then I would feel tired while teaching the rest of the day. This year... no apologies for taking some much-needed ME time! :)
     
  9. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2014

    I'm an introvert. First year teaching. I remember being exhausted as a student teacher. I would come home and take a nap before dinner, drag myself to the dinner table, and then go to bed. I didn't get to enjoy any of my diorite television shows or spend quality time with my family. Hopefully I'll learn a trick or two this year.
     
  10. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2014

    I am very introverted and it is difficult sometimes as a teacher. I agree with the others about teaching in front of the children. I will sometimes think "Showtime!" as they walk through the door. I am talkative, funny, always thinking of activities for them. However, I do eat lunch alone in my room, plus I almost have panic attacks before Open House, parent conferences, and staff meetings.
     
  11. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Aug 15, 2014

    Yes, I agree brigidy. I used to find myself very, very uncomfortable contemplating parent conference night, award assemblies (talking on stage), participating in group activities during PD sessions etc. I just learned things to do like putting a time limit on the amount of time I would meet with each parent. Some parents want to talk to you for 30 minutes! Then you have a line of parents outside of your door waiting and that just made me have even more anxiety. So I set a time limit of 7-10 minutes per parent and if we needed to have an additional conversation, then I was willing to meet with them before or after school the next day. That way I got parents in and out quickly and the conversations seemed more effective. I agree that, for me, carpooling is not an option. If I'm traveling with people somewhere, I would much rather drive my car alone and meet them there or follow behind. I find myself "recharging" quite often in my vehicle just listening to music and cruising along. My bedroom and my car are my two favorite places to be alone and gather my thoughts. I usually look forward to the moment after school when I unlock my car door and just get in!
     
  12. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2014

    Hi there! Kudos to you for posting this. Perhaps my case is different or similar to yours. I find that at work I tend to be more social, bubbly, excited, outgoing etc. But once I'm home I enjoy the quiet a lot more, alone time and only interact with friends on a small scale. When I initially started teaching 5 years ago I was a lot more shut off than I am now. While I'm shy with public speaking, this school year I spoke to 80 parents about kindergarten during screening. It's weird, I think of myself as an actress during these moments and I rise to the occasion.

    I tend to find moments to recharge throughout the school day. During lunch at least 3 days a week I go back to the room and eat. I also try to take a least one or two 5min bathroom breaks.

    In the kindergarten world I am very alive with my students. I have observed a teacher whose possibly an introvert an he reads a lot during breaks, works on his ipad, take notes etc. It hasn't been a problem for him or myself thus far. I guess as the saying goes get in where you fit in. If you feel comfortable go, if you feel uncomfortable don't go. Engage in interact with your peers where you see fit. Just try not to avoid to much!
     
  13. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2014

    I am also a closet introvert and CRAVE alone time...except I am extremely outgoing in the classroom.

    I work out HARD most days after school--this helps me quiet my mind except the music at my Crossfit place is super loud. But somehow it doesn't bother me when I am in the "zone" working my body.

    I also do not play any music or listen to music in my 20 minute car ride home. My 12 year old usually is doing homework as we drive so it is very silent.

    Also, walking my dogs nightly seems to appease my introversion.

    So that said, it is possible to be an introvert as a teacher--just got to figure out the moments that you need to recharge yourself:)
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 18, 2014

    Teaching can/does burn me out- but at the same time, I can't imagine myself doing something different with my life.

    For my older students (5th and 6th graders), my lessons will include more independent work time where I don't necessarily have to be roaming around/working one-on-one with them. That helps me a lot to have just a minute or two to sit and not have to make any decisions/interact (give my brain a break).

    For my younger students (3rd and 4th graders), I'm constantly working with them, talking to them, interacting, questioning, guiding, and it is so very draining for me- but they are young and sweet and so that helps.

    Most of my free periods I stay in my classroom and on "bad" days I will turn off the lights and put my head down on my desk- it's in a corner where nobody can see me looking through the door. When I get home, I tend to stay in a lot and only really care to talk to my husband a bit when he gets home from work. I do mindless stuff on the computer and will check work email a few times in the evening until 8 pm- then it's close the computer, shower, prep for the next day, and be in bed reading by 9pm. The routine helps.

    My Mom took it really hard when I would screen her calls during the week. I had to explain to her that mentally I just couldn't deal with talking to another person after work- I love her dearly, but my brain just did not want to do anything thinking after work- I didn't want to make decisions, I didn't want to interact with one more person, and it wasn't because I was mad at anybody- it's just me. I think that helped her to get it but I know it still bothers her- which upsets me. :( But I know that I have to take care of myself too- we eventually found out that emailing each other about once every 2 days was better and she joined Facebook to keep up with what is going on with me.

    Sometimes you just have to fake the smile and be a professional- then let yourself unwind and shut off when you get home.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 18, 2014

    I do this too! My husband- who is not an introvert- can't understand how I can drive without the radio on. I *LOVE* the silence!

    My in-laws live in Michigan and it's a 13+ hour drive to get there from Jersey- I can honestly drive the whole way in silence and not be bothered. Last April, my Mom made the drive with us (over night- my preference compared to driving during the day with a ton of trucks on the road)- I had already worked an 8-hour day and was going to do the bulk of the driving. My Mom thought she had to stay awake and talk to me the whole drive (she was worried I would fall asleep), but I told her I was fine (and I was!) and that she should try to sleep. Idk why people don't get "that" about me.
     

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