Life as an Introverted Teacher

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

  1. 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!
     
  2. 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!
     
  3. 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! :)
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. 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!
     
  7. 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!
     
  8. 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:)
     
  9. 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.
     
  10. 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.
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 18, 2014

    I had to laugh when reading about your mom, BioAngel. My mom came to visit for a couple of days early this summer; she arrived the day after school finished. I know that she wasn't very happy that I wasn't very talkative. For about a week after school ends I don't want to see or talk to anyone!
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Aug 18, 2014

    Like others have said, it's different with the kids.

    For me the worst moments are things like open house and conferences. I get really nervous with parents. Even if I run into a family at the grocery store, I will play our conversation over and over in my head, hoping that I didn't say anything stupid.

    I also feel like a party pooper sometimes at schools. During assemblies the speakers often ask for teacher volunteers, and I just want to climb inside my shell. Sometimes my principal will ask for volunteers ahead of time for a skit or something, and there is just no way I could do that!
     
  13. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Aug 18, 2014

    My new mother-in-law is VERY extroverted. I am very introverted. She really had a hard time getting used to the idea that just because I wasn't talking to her constantly (we spend a few days there when we visit as we live out of state) did not mean that I was upset or didn't like her. Oh, and the visits were over Christmas break and right at the beginning of summer--prime recharging time that I desperately needed!
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 18, 2014

    I'm exactly the same way.

    I must be getting more comfortable at my school because on the last day (last year) my faculty did a dance thing of "What did the Fox say?" and I decided I'd be one of the animals dancing about on stage. (TOTALLY NOT LIKE ME to do something like that) I picked to be the dog- turns out the dog went first. I was super nervous- practiced my dance steps like crazy- but in the end I had a bunch of fun with it :)
     
  15. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Aug 18, 2014

    Like others, I am glad to see this thread. I am an introvert as well. I "turn it on" when I am in certain situations, but for the most part I am a very quiet individual. I like to sit and observe most of the time, soaking up information to process.
     
  16. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Aug 18, 2014

    When do you do your lesson planning? At school? I was just curious because I would LOVE to have this routine when I am at home. Granted, you are probably way more experienced than I since this is my first year.
     
  17. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Aug 18, 2014

    I agree completely on the music in the car. My boyfriend is a DJ and CONSTANTLY Listens to music... on the inside I'm screaming and prefer to ride in silence. After talking and singing all day long its so nice to just hear nothing. Even at this present moment, the tv is off no music.. just me and the laptop!
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 21, 2014

    I will come in an hour early and sometimes stay an hour later. Those 2 extra hours help me to get more work done (I work better at school) and I'm not easily distracted by people popping in. I also will do lesson planning on Saturday since my husband normally works on that day and save Sunday for doing stuff with him.
     
  19. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Aug 26, 2014

    It's strange, but many teachers on this forum have commented on this very thing. The consensus seems to be that even though one is generally introverted the traits don't inhibit their teaching. In fact, some people become more engaged and show traits of extroversion while in the classroom. I am one of those people. I think it is because I am in my element in the classroom.

    Anyhow, you asked how we handle it without burning out. There is no one right answer. Some teachers naturally have a calm, quiet demeanor. Others work in quiet times when they can decompress. Some people eat lunch in their rooms and say they are working or studying. I often turned on quiet instrumental music while the kids worked because it kept everyone more focused and working quietly. I always make sure when I come home to have some time to myself without being bothered. In time you will find what works for you. Don't change majors/careers simply because you are introverted though. I found retail much more stressful.
     

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