Introverted teacher?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by AKbio, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. AKbio

    AKbio New Member

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    Aug 22, 2017

    Hello!
    I'm currently in a teacher prep course working on certification as a secondary biology teacher. I've got 15 years in the field as a biologist and now I'm going back to teach. By all rights I have some great experience and contacts to help me become a good teacher. Here's my problem:

    I'm an introvert. I enjoy being on my own. Being the center of attention stresses me out. I also have very little confidence. I'm hoping to get over that, but I was hoping some teachers on this forum might have some experience to share on coping as an introvert.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 22, 2017

    In my experience, most teachers are introverts.
     
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  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm certainly an introvert, although I find that being with kids is very different than being with adults. I do need down time during the day, so I often stay in my classroom during recess and/or lunch hour to decompress a bit.
     
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  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I'm an introvert.

    I enjoy my own company. I do, however, enjoy being around others, but I need to decompress after interacting with people.

    I'm in year 25. People who know me only from childhood or from outside of my work life are really surprised that I'm a teacher.
     
  6. AKbio

    AKbio New Member

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    Aug 22, 2017

    Can I ask what grade you teach? Do you find that you have to create a different persona for work, or have you found a way to just be yourself. Truly, it's the only thing I'm good at :)
     
  7. spacejunk

    spacejunk Rookie

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    I wish I had an answer for you. In fact, I'm looking forward to reading some advice in response to your question. I'm in my second year, and my anxiety is worse than ever. I wake up every morning with a gnawing in my gut because I'm so dreading being the star of the show. My confidence is hovering around zero.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    For those who don't want to be front and center, you may want to see if PBL is something that you can get behind and support as a teaching tool. It won't remove all need to lead, but it does help students learn by doing and working collaboratively.
     
  9. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Aug 23, 2017

    I'm an introvert. I'd much prefer my own company and I dislike parties where I have to socialise a lot or am expected to socialise a lot. But I do find confidence in my abilities to teach the content and knowing the content. That's where my strength lies and that gives me confidence to stand in front of the classroom.
    I find when chatting with students I try to find a common ground and just stay in these "safe" areas of conversation. I teach Year 8 and 9s and with the girls (I know this is stereotype) but I chat with them about makeup or tv shows. With the boys I chat with them mostly about sport. These topics are things I enjoy and keep up to date with. Thats how I interact with them without having anxiety.
    Chatting and socialising with teachers is a different matter. I can talk about curriculum all day long but I'm stumped when the conversation turns to personal things. I become more of a non-judgemental listener, which is what most people like when they have problems.
     
  10. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Aug 23, 2017

    I agree that being with kids is different than interacting with adults. Did you get a chance to do any "practice" teaching? Classroom observations? When you do these things, if appropriate, walk around and talk to the students. I think this will help you feel more comfortable. Some of our students are so starved for attention, they love it when someone shows an interest in them.

    I did have an university student who was to teach one lesson in my room for a day a week for months. He would NOT interact with the students. It was odd because he was much better teaching in front of the class. His supervisor told him that he had to circulate and learn the students' names. He refused to do this. I think if you are willing to go beyond your comfort zone a little, you will be fine.

    The night I despise the most is our parent night. I am a pretty outgoing person, but some of the parents look miserable to be there. Then, I get the ones who want a personal conference about their kid. At lower levels, there seem to have much more parent contact. Just something to keep in mind.
     
  11. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    Aug 23, 2017

    To echo others, I and most other teachers are introverts. When my classes end for the day, I go home, spend time with my wife and son, and that's it. I literally never socialize; weekends are spent either with family or gaming. I would much rather be alone than in a group of people.

    I have not found this to be a hindrance at all in teaching. I interact well with my students, never have problems in class, and feel well-respected. There is the "teacher bioguru" and the "real bioguru." The "teacher bioguru" uses up all of the socializing abilities of the "real bioguru."
     
  12. AKbio

    AKbio New Member

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    Thanks for all of your replies. It's good to know there are others out there that are successful as introverts. My biggest problem is confidence, I suppose. I know I can do it, I just don't believe I can do it. It's a hard thing to get over.
     
  13. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Any decent teacher evaluation rubric doesn't want you to be the center of attention. Give kids the info they NEED, then get out of the way. From there you're pulling small groups or individuals.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Being an introvert is fine. Be careful, however, that your preference for 'being alone' doesn't come off as rudeness or not a team player.
     
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  15. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Many, many of us teachers are introverts! It's the confidence that will be a bigger issue. You have to be able to at least "project" confidence with body language, even if you don't always feel confident. Check out the EnVoy book by Michael Grinder -- it has some great, specific tips on using body language to convey confidence and leadership.
     
  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I teach 8th grade. I started out teaching high school, but I moved to middle school after a few years. I'm just myself. I have to talk more at work, naturally, but I'm not really any different personality wise.
     
  17. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Personally, I would say everyone has a different persona at work and home. Or I'm a sociopath. It's definitely one of the two.
     
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  18. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    Aug 24, 2017

    [QUOTE="AKbio,
    • successful as introverts.
    • My biggest problem is confidence,[/QUOTE]
    Hello Akbio:
    As you can see, LOTS of people are introverts...you are not alone (no pun intended :D).
    I think you're in an EXCELLENT profession to be an introvert, because the atmosphere rolls ON YOUR TERMS. YOU set the pace. YOU decide how much talking goes on and when it stops.
    You're the captain of the ship! (so to speak)

    You are also teaching an EXCELLENT SUBJECT for an introvert. Science is so "thought" provoking; as someone already mentioned, allow students to work on experiments and group projects more often. That will remove you from being center stage all the time.
    You already have the knowledge, so self-confidence will come, in time, with experience.
    Good luck
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2017

    Teacher Caesar and Regular Caesar are very similar. Let's say that they share a lot of overlap on the good ol' Venn diagram. For me the key differences are that Regular Caesar is much more outspoken when it comes to the current zeitgeist and sometimes uses questionable language, while Teacher Caesar is much more neutral about most (but not all) controversial topics and always uses school-appropriate language. Oh, and Regular Caesar watches a lot more Netflix and trashy shows on Bravo than Teacher Caesar, who of course only reads thoughtful and well-researched articles on reputable news sites and in education journals. In general, I'd say that when my students encounter Regular Caesar out and about, like at Costco or the movies, they wouldn't notice any difference. I say hi and am friendly, just as I am in school.

    I am a solid introvert. I feel like I come across as friendly, bubbly, gregarious, and excited while I'm at school. While I truly am those things, I have a limited supply of the energy that fuels them. By the end of the day, it is mostly spent and I need some time to recover. I prefer to spend my personal time with my family, which allows me enough comfort and security to re-energize as if I were alone.
     
  20. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    "I feel like I come across as friendly, bubbly, gregarious, and excited while I'm at school. While I truly am those things, I have a limited supply of the energy that fuels them. By the end of the day, it is mostly spent and I need some time to recover."

    Caesar753, I could have written the exact same thing above. I am very outgoing at school, but come home drained. There are times, I almost feel like a recluse. Thought I do have a lot of friends at school who have become close friends, I am loathe to socialize outside of school. There is just not a lot of me left. If I do attend some school event, I end up thinking, "I wish I was home." I just want to be left alone until I am "on" again at work.

    I think people are surprised by this because they just assume that I am always outgoing, I really need a lot of time to be alone. When I am in a situation when I have someone around me 24/7 like a house guest, a vacation, or an extremely busy week, I start to crack. I will go out of my way to avoid people in public. I dread those small talk convos that seem to never end!
     
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  21. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    Aug 25, 2017

    That was a funny read...:rofl:
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I feel like there are few things worse than when you are forcibly subjected to someone's need for small talk. I want nothing more than to sit there at the salon with my eyes closed while the hairdresser works their magic. That's all I've ever wanted, really. I don't want to talk to people I don't know about anything. Basically ever. I don't need the grocery store clerk to try to chit chat with me about the cabbage I am buying. I certainly don't need some rando in line with me at the DMV to start talking to me about anything political, especially if they're on the wrong side. Please just let me be. I'm absolutely comfortable being quiet and in my own head.
     
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  23. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Aug 29, 2017

    I feel this on a spiritual level. It's not even my kind of music but I'm fine with how my barber just lets his albums of local hip-hop groups play and checks in with questions only when it's needed.


    Interacting with the kids is different though, they don't tend to make weird small talk anyway.
     
  24. Aug 30, 2017

    Many peoples are introverted so don't worry about that. You need to focus on teaching & be confident while explaining concepts to your students.

    prepare your point completely which you are going to teach your students it will help you to get rid of stress & over time you will become extrovert.
     
  25. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I used to get my hair done by a guy who was amazing at hair and also at not talking. I miss him...
     
  26. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    This is me...I have started socializing with some of my colleagues more and I find I always actually end up having fun, when I do, but I just can't do it all the time. I have one colleague who really, really wants to hang out multiple times a week, and I am just not able to hang like that. I am completely amazed that anyone can!

    Don't even get me started on houseguests....!!!
     
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