While reading the book, Quiet by Susan Cain, the idea of the power of introverts rustled through my mind. What about quiet teachers? Surely this is a paradox, or an oxymoron. How can you have quiet teachers? Teachers are loud, outgoing brash, expressive, in-your face bossy, demanding, talkative people, right? But, I am also an introvert, and a teacher. I suspect that both extravert and introvert teachers are good teachers provided that each understands and uses their strengths and weaknesses strategically.
It gives me considerable satisfaction to think about introverts as teachers. From what I have picked up from this book, introverts, need time away from classes, people, noise, and too much going on around them so that they can be calm inside. This time out is so important. I relate to this: I need time out at the end of the teaching day, or after a conference, session, week of sessions, or an inspiring sermon, worship session. This is imperative for me, as an intro, to collect my thoughts, put mind in neutral, then when ready, to think, consolidate, reflect, re-discuss, plan, write, (like I am doing now), read about something related, or completely different. And I need to do this with my hearing aids off. This silence is essential for me, can you relate? How do you unwind?
I am now more sensitive to other introvert teachers. And I appreciate the courage and tenacity that they have in making the effort to put themselves out there in the classroom amongst the world of extraverts, I am not attacking extraverts, but this is the dominant view of teachers, teachers are loud and vibrant and all the things and more that I have said already. Introverts can do this, but it has a cost, it goes against their natural thinking style and nature, so we need to do two things. We need time off after to recoop, and more of this is needed than the extraverts need, which is why extraverts are impatient with introverts for still resting (reflective resting is not complete, please let us finish, our thinking time will be worth it, this is where new ideas are often generated, from the softly spoken but deep thinkers. And we need the action-oriented extraverts to help us action it in timeframe.
Secondly, we need to find and claim our own space. This is introvert territory, and this is what I am looking forward to finding more about in the rest of the book (Quiet). And so far, taking the step out and acknowledging that I am an introvert has been helpful for me. By realizing this, I am now equipped to get over the social misconception that ‘introverts are inferior’. Whatever! But this insight has been really liberating for me. Let it sink into you, think about it. It is good, it is an essential part of you, do not hide it, blame, bury it, cry over it. I am an introvert, and I am not alone.
I thought that all deaf are introverts till I met deaf extraverts, and mainstreamed extraverts, and I met introvert hearing people. The diversity of possibilities is amazing, and there are some features that we choose for ourselves as core drivers of who we are, such as introvert/extravert. And a lot is hung onto this framework. So know which one you are and befriend it. I suspect that you will now see more introverts around than you have previously noticed, or wanted to admit that you saw. Taking it a step further than you have done before, reach out and you will see that other introverts are there and either have identified and overcome their introvert oppression, or have let it overcome them. It’s your choice. I still have much to learn about being an introvert, come with me, let’s find out together what this means. Let’s make a stand for introverts.