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Old 09-03-2006, 10:56 AM
TeachwLove TeachwLove is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 31
Seattle, Washington area
Can an Introvert Enjoy Teaching?

I am about to embark on a Masters in Teaching K-8, but I sometimes have doubts about how I'll handle being with my students for 30+ hours per day. In the past, I've taught College English (for 10 years) so I know I can teach, but the contact hours were fewer there. I've always loved school and teaching and dreamed for years of teaching K-8. I've saved my money and am now in a place to get my certification.

My concern is that I am an introvert which means I like a slower pace than some people, don't speak well off the cuff, and feel more comfortable one-on-one rather than in groups. And yet I've heard some people say that "most teachers are introverts." I know this is part of my strength--that I naturally reflect on my lessons and make improvements to them. I also know that I can connect one-on-one with students which helps my group dynamic.

On the downside, I don't like off-the-cuff public speaking or talking in front of groups, but for me, teaching my own class is different than that. I'm not lecturing, but rather involving and supporting the students. It's not exactly my comfort zone, but it is certainly do-able and is often fun.

So...any introverted teachers out there? Do you like teaching? What are your challenges? Is it possible for an innie to be happy as a K-8 teacher?

Old 09-03-2006, 11:41 AM
JustMe JustMe is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8,007
"I like a slower pace than some people, don't speak well off the cuff, and feel more comfortable one-on-one rather than in groups."

You just described me!

I feel that I am doing a good job for my first year and have all the confidence in the world that in time I will be an excellent teacher. Again, the description of yourself could have easily been about me and I feel very comfortable in the classroom with my students and enjoy my time with them. Heck, most of the time I would rather be around children than adults.

I think the only area that being an introvert is really noticable is with the other teachers. I am very much a private person and I think it sets me apart from the other teachers - but I don't worry about this because I am happy being the way I am. Now, if I was just dying to hang out with them and just didn't have the nerve, that would be problem. But again, I enjoy my alone time to plan, reflect, and just "be".
Old 09-03-2006, 12:00 PM
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sevenplus sevenplus is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,637
I have always been very introverted. I LOVE teaching. The thing that is interesting is that I have become a bit more extroverted since becoming a teacher. Mostly I just talk to my class, which is fine, but there are times when you have to talk to groups of parents. I am comfortable doing that now, mostly because I feel confident of my knowledge and abilities as a teacher. The thing that was HARDEST for me was making parent phone calls. I used to avoid it if at all possible. It has gotten easier over the years.

It sounds like you truly have a passion for teaching. Any job will have some things that push you out of your comfort zone. You might as well stretch yourself a bit doing something that you love.
Old 09-03-2006, 12:04 PM
grade1teacher grade1teacher is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 249
I always said that I loved kids but couldn't see myself getting up in front of a class to teach. Way too intimidating! So I went through a couple of stages, and started with a one - on - one situation - resource room. Very quickly I found myself moving out of my comfort zone, and absolutely loved taking over for teachers in primary grades in an emergency or as a sub when necessary - doesnt get more "off the cuff" than that! In short, I just got my Masters. I'm starting my first year in my own classroom as a first grade teacher on Tuesday, and I'm very excited! (and plenty nervous!). Basically, what I'm trying to say is that like the other posters mentioned, you'll find that your strengths will come in handy. You'll also find other parts challenging. But I can't think of anyone who doesn't need a little challenge in your job.
Good Luck!!
Old 09-03-2006, 12:38 PM
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Terrence Terrence is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 325
Lancaster, CA
I too am extremely introverted. I am a very shy and quiet person when it comes to adults. For some reason I act completely different when I am teaching. I think you will fit in just fine as a teacher. Good luck!
Old 09-03-2006, 12:59 PM
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NYSTeacher NYSTeacher is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 191
Charlotte, NC but from Long Island, NY
Yes, I think an introvert can till teach. I am an introvert. I do better speaking in front of kids but give me a group of parents or peers and I can't do it. I'm more of a quiet person who just listens & takes it all in and speaks when I need to.
Old 09-03-2006, 01:58 PM
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Ima Teacher Ima Teacher is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,153
Middle School Teacher
I'm also an introvert. I tend to keep to myself in all areas of my life, and I've always been like that. I speak when I have to, and leave it at that.

I'm so much of an introvert that people are very surprised when they hear that I'm a teacher. I've done fine, although I was a bit uncomfortable when I first started . . . just because they were all staring at me.
Old 09-03-2006, 02:09 PM
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czacza czacza is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 22,018
New Jersey
Grade 3
Introverts- this term is often misunderstood- here's a description I found:
Enjoy time alone
Consider only deep relationships as friends
Feel drained after outside activities, even if they were fun
*Good listener
*Appear calm and self-contained
*Think then speak or act

The above starred aspects are great characteristics for teachers to have.

At Work

Since you may not speak in meetings, write a memo to co-workers/boss afterward with your comments and suggestions
Tell your boss you need to think before you can discuss your thoughts
Say thank you if someone gives you a compliment
Include yourself by coming early to meetings to help set up or clean up afterwards
Say hello to people, smile and say thank you to presenters at the end of meetings
Just remember lots of school climates call for collegiality, team teaching, cooperative planning- think of ways you can fit in climates such as these. I'm sure you have a lot to offer and your efforts could greatly benefit a school community

Dealing with Introverted Children

Explain introverted qualities to your child
Never correct your child in front of others
Let them watch before entering an activity
Encourage breaks to recharge
Realize they need time to think before responding to questions
Old 09-03-2006, 05:45 PM
amyt682 amyt682 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 275
groups of kids and groups of adults are completly different things...i am not comfortable yet in our staff meetings, but i am totally comfortable in my class with my second graders...my aunt passed away on Monday and i told my kids on Tuesday...I havent even told the office yet that I will need a sub when her funeral happens because i'm just not comfortable with personal situations and other people...so i think you'll be okay teaching kids...it's completely different than adults...
Old 09-03-2006, 06:14 PM
hojalata hojalata is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 441
1st Grade Teacher
This is such a great topic. I definitely consider myself introverted. Being "on" all day in my 2nd grade classroom completely drains me. It's like I'm going going going and then when it's done, I just crash. At the end of the day, I really feel like I just need time to myself. For this reason, I choose to take a lot of my work home with me to do there by myself. The other teachers stay and chat with eachother, somtimes until 8 or 9 at night! I'm try to be honest with them and just tell them I need some time off before I start thinking about school again, but I always hope they don't think I don't like them or that I'm just trying to skip out on work.

It's also funny.... all the 2nd grade teachers each lunch together, and they all fight to talk over each other.... I rarely say anything unless they acutally ask me a question. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable talking over someone else. I can't ever recall saying something to a group at a meeting. Sometimes people can take this as me being apathetic or snotty, but I am always thinking. If someone asked me what I thought, I could tell them. Sometimes I'll try to shoot an e-mail to the principal or whoever afterwards with a quick comment just to show him I WAS thinking about the topic, even if I didn't say anything publically.

Anyway, I think this is a great topic, and one that doesn't get much attention!

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