After a great Christmas break, I am back to the world of blogging. Second semester is off and running, and the first two days have gone well. I will have more educational resources posted on Monday, but I wanted to take a moment to recommend a book I read over the break.
The book is called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. You’ve probably already heard about it since it is a bestseller and has been shortlisted for a number of awards. I think all teachers could benefit from this book, whether they themselves are an introvert or because they want to better understand the introverted students in their classes. (Note: Introversion and shyness are often confused. Both introverts and extroverts can be shy, but shyness – unlike introversion or extroversion – can be overcome. As a child and adolescent I was very shy, but for the most part, I’m not anymore.)
I’ve taken many Myers-Briggs-like tests over the years, and I always score at around 90% or above when it comes to my preference for introversion over extroversion. That’s a fairly extreme score on the scale. I knew I was an introvert from a very young age, but when I decided to pursue teaching, I always wondered how it was that I could be fairly comfortable interacting with students all day. Cain explains that research suggests that introverts who are deeply passionate about something can “play” the extrovert…for a time. There is, however, a tradeoff. “Playing” the extrovert expends a ton of energy, which explains why I am drained (albeit in a positive way) by the end of the school day and need to recharge with lots of alone time in the evenings and on weekends.
Studies show that introverts like me need two or even three hours of alone time for every one hour we spend with people. If this is accurate, and from my own experience I believe it is, just take a moment to think about what that means for the introverted student who spends 6 to 8 hours a day around people having to perform and participate in a very extroverted way.