20 comments
  1. I am curious; as an introverted teacher, how do you cope with the noise and the chaos of a 8 hours +/- of classes plus the after school expectations.

    I love your analysis here and, although this is my first comment, I think, I am often inspired by your reflections. I'd love your insight on how to survive as an introverted teacher. I currently work as a tutor but I taught for three years in the classroom and it about did me in. I'd go back to it if I could figure out how to avoid that situation because I do love the teaching part. When it happens.

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    1. Honestly, I don't handle noise or chaos well. However, when students are really engaged, there is little chaos. It's no more chaotic than a living room or Starbucks. (Perhaps I'm jaded, though, with three kids at home). The noise, however, can be hard. It's why I structure quiet or even silent activities (five minutes of silent problem solving, twenty minutes of quiet blogging, thirty minutes of silent reading) and some whole-class discussion. It allows for an ebb and flow of noise and silence that will allow both quiet and loud kids to feel comfortable.

      The other part of this is that I ask students to stay away from being crazy-loud. If the class gets too loud, I will redirect them by saying, "I know you're on task, but the noise level is getting too high and that makes me really anxious." I hate to make it all about me, but I know that if the class gets crazy noisy, I will snap at a kid and that's not helpful to anyone.

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    2. Perhaps I am just teaching the wrong thing. I never figured out how to get my hands on science classes to keep it down from being crazy-loud. And you're right, after a while the noise does make on snappish and that it's never helpful. I think it is a post waiting to happen: surviving as an introverted teacher in an extroverted classroom.

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  2. I too am an introvert. My strongest memory of elementary school was the stress about the noise and randomness of school life.

    If I think back to my own schooling, I especially appreciated a well-defined role in group work. I also like something like think-pair-share, where there is an individual contribution to a group process rather than a noisy negotiation of initial process.

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    1. I love your points about the noise and the randomness. Those were both pretty tough for me as well. Thanks for adding some practical ideas as well.

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  3. Interesting. I just placed an order for the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." As an adult, I know those vague feelings of shame for introvertedness all too well. I think it's fantastic that you're acknowledging and honoring students' introvert/extrovert personality traits in your class structure. Kids need to know they're a-ok whether they're naturally outgoing or naturally quieter.

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    1. That sounds like a fascinating book. I'll have to check it out.

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    2. You might find the TEDTalk by the author, Susan Cain, interesting, as well. It is more brief and easier to share! You can find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4.

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  4. When classes were split into groups, I remember that teachers "secretly" tried to balance the teams. I think this ended up solidifying my status as an introvert, because it guaranteed that there was always at least one extrovert dominating our group. I could have developed my extrovert skills among a group of my fellow introverts, but I never really got the chance.

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    1. The whole "needs to be balanced" part drives me nuts. Let leaders emerge. Let group dynamics happen. If there is a "low group" why can't that be a chance to provide meaningful intervention?

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  5. I printed off this voice level chart.
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qhfnWItWHS4/TiHQhvJDRuI/AAAAAAAAAFA/Z5VH4FAJfEA/s1600/droppedImage_12.jpg
    It does help the students to have a reference on where the level is and getting it lowered.

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  6. Thanks for this post. It's really excellent. As a fellow introverted teacher I can see where you are coming from. Unfortunately I haven't quite got the hang of really giving my extroverted students enough outlets. I'm working on it though. Your ideas are really helpful, and I start thinking about how I'm going to tackle next year when I'll have a whole new bunch of 4th graders (having taught 3rd grade last year and 4th this I was blessed with not having to learn all about all my students this year), I'm thinking I need to work some ways of catering better for those extroverts! I have a "noise-meter" in the classroom, which is a visual reminder for my students about noise levels, which really helps and I tend to have recess and lunch breaks in my classroom for 15 minutes sanity breaks!

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    1. I think that concept of working on it, of recognizing that your students learn differently than you do is significant. Ultimately, that's where the balance happens.

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  7. Thanks for a thoughtfully written post. I'm not a teacher, well not in a formal sense, but have taught as part of my role as a mentor and careers adviser. I realise that my style of teaching and facilitating groups can be put down to three things - my training and experience, but also my personality. As an introvert I see the value in reflection and individual learning so it's more natural for me to integrate these activities into the learning.

    You seem to have found a good balance in the way you structure your lessons - something to suit all learning preferences, and I think being an introverted teaching can be a positive that gives you a greater appreciation of how to better engage your quieter, more introverted students.

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    1. Thanks! I agree that the sense of individual learning and reflection are things that sort-of come natural to introverts.

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  8. Great piece. I identify with your introverted streak and desire for processing/daydream time. I'm reminded of this piece via ASCD, there are a lot of overlaps: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/jun11/vol68/num09/Let-Me-Learn-My-Own-Way.aspx

    Thanks.

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  9. I am participating in a writing workshop and would like to use quotes from your post in my professional piece which is on introverts in the classroom. Of course I intend to give proper credit for the infomation used.
    Thank you!

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    1. I would be honored. Everything on this site is Creative Commons, so you can use it, quote it, etc. whenever you like without having to ask permission.

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  10. This post is helpful in understanding the behavior of the extrovert and introvert people. This could probably enlighten other people’s mind especially the introverts who wants a degree in college that requires a lot of personal interaction.

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Please leave a comment. I enjoy the conversation.