Social Sundays: The Introverted Teacher

I am what friends call a socially skilled introvert. When people meet me, they often think I'm an extrovert because I seem to have no trouble speaking with them. Years of being in small school environments where there was no place to hide as a student forced these extrovert skills to develop. 

But the reality is that I am an introvert - I am naturally very shy, prefer not to be at the center of attention, and I definitely need my quiet time. So for introverts like me, teaching can sometimes be challenging.

I love my students. I dread parent nights. I love the buzz of engaged learning. I get anxious when I stand in front of the class. Over years of being a socially skilled but definite introvert, I have developed 2 key strategies for when a little "extroversion" is required:




  1. 10 minutes max!  Ten minutes is the maximum I spend in front of the class talking. That's good for me, but also good for my students. They really aren't going to get much more out of listening to me drone on.  This time in front of the class is used primarily for procedural information. Whenever possible I try to have this information written down - less talking by me and better for students to read and refer to.
  2. Individual and small group work. The vast majority of class work involves students working in small groups or individually. This allows me to work with students one-on-one or in small groups, which is when I'm at my best.  I love being the listener and observer of my students.  I can guide, question, challenge, and support students in this way.  

These two strategies keep teaching a joy, because when I am at my best then I can support my students the best.  


Are you an introvert?  How do you manage the "extrovert" requirements of the classroom?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Social Sundays is a weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message on Facebook or at the store in the question and answer section. 



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2 comments

  1. I could have written this. Excellent tips and thoughts (as always)!

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  2. I'm a non-shy introvert. I'm fine talking in front of groups (students or adults), but I start to get frustrated with too much commotion and not enough alone time in a day. But a middle school classroom is pretty action-packed, so I don't take out my craziness on my students by forcing them to be quiet and work alone at all times! Instead I make sure to take full advantage of my prep and lunch by spending most of it alone in my room. That extra quiet and alone time each day helps me handle the commotion of a typical class period. I also make sure to balance each class period with some quiet time and at least one VERY quiet day each week. Keeps me sane! And I'm assuming my fellow introverted students also appreciate this :)

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