I’m a teacher and so I will be speaking from personal experience when I say that teaching is one of the most suitable career choices for introverts – IF said introverts already have a passion for this profession.
Being an introverted teacher has been a blessing as well as a challenge during my early days’ teaching. But let me tell you this:
I have been a teacher for some time now, and there is nothing more heartwarming than watching one of your students run back to the classroom just because he forgot to say goodbye to his favorite teacher. And no, I don’t teach kindergarten. I’m a secondary school science teacher.
Thriving As An Introverted Teacher
As I said above, starting out my career as an introverted teacher was really challenging, I had to cope with the reality of me staying “on” in a crowded classroom for hours with students occasionally making all kinds of noises known to human ears – and some are unknown to this date.
What’s more? Colleagues and parents. Some of those actually think that making meaningless small talks in the holy morning or during lunch break sort of comes with the teacher package. It doesn’t – Not when we don’t feel like it.
So yes, I survived my first year as an introverted teacher. I enjoyed it and I don’t see why you can’t too If you’re an introvert. In fact, that may be the asset needed to thrive as a teacher.
Now here’s how I did it:
Throw away the loud energetic teacher attitude
I came to school to teach not to play host or anything like that. I can’t afford to spend my real energy pretending to be “energetic” and oh so easygoing in front of my students or colleagues. There is nothing wrong with being the calm/often quiet teacher, in fact, the lower and more controlled your voice and posture are, the higher are the chances your students will willingly concentrate on what you say.
Just don’t replace the energetic teacher persona with the exhausted teacher one (haha).
Not all your colleagues have to be your BBFs
seriously you won’t be everybody’s favorite in the teacher’s staff room. So to cut it short for you, don’t try hard to please anyone there.
Take your time observing your colleagues and the right one or two will eventually become your true friends. The ones you enjoy talking to during lunch break. They don’t necessarily have to be introverted like you, extroverts and introverts can get along really well at work. At least that was the case for me because my closest friend at work is an extrovert.
Overall, It’s always nice to get support from frolleagues ( that’s friends at work, bet you didn’t know that word eh?).
Exclude yourself from student group assignments
For your introverted sake, I highly recommend getting your students familiar with group assignments during which they will be required to do everything themselves without you standing at their heads. This has proved to be super helpful to both me and my students who will be actively involved in the learning process. I would split the class to teams. Assign team leaders. Explain what is asked of them, and sit at my desk, get my mind to rest a bit while waiting for reports to be handed.
Prizes are a must or else students won’t get excited and motivated enough to do the work properly.
Store positivity to get you through the day
This is a habit I developed during my first year teaching and I kind of do this almost every day at work. Being an introvert, I’m super observative whether in the classroom or on campus, so what I do is I mindfully pay extra attention to the small positive gestures people send toward me and you won’t believe how uplifting those are when you bring them to mind later, this is me refueling my batteries without the need for alone time during my working hours. A word of gratitude from a parent, a hug from one of my students, or even a smiley good morning from a colleague. You just pay attention and you’ll be storing a bunch of these positive gestures.
If you want me to talk more about how I survived my first year teaching and even enjoyed it as an introverted teacher, just drop me a comment on this blog post and I’ll happily do that!
Until then, here are some tips for introverted teachers starting out their careers.
Can a Shy Person Be a Teacher?
Did I leave out the fact that I’m shy too as well as introverted? I guess I did.
For me, my introversion always walked hand in hand with my shyness. Since I’m an anxious introvert, I sometimes don’t even know if I did something out of introversion or shyness, but I want you to understand that these two are no the same.
Knowing for a fact that shyness is just a feeling and With a little bit of awareness, you could easily cultivate self-confidence at work, and It will show. Teaching has a way of “naturally forcing” shy people to believe and stand up for themselves, don’t let thoughts like “I’m shy, I can’t survive teaching ” ruin your career as a teacher if you really want to become a teacher.
Besides, what’s wrong with being a shy teacher as long as you act up when needed?
To wrap this up, I’d say that if you truly love teaching and you want to pursue it as a profession while being an introvert, just go for it. You already have what it takes to succeed as an educator: the Passion.
The same applies to other career choices. Don’t let people or social labels stop you from pursuing your dream job! a lot of self-proclaimed introverts became advocates, actors, and even CEOs, so why not you?
You’ll just have to dig inside yourself ( it should be easy if you’re the real introvert) and you’ll figure things out as you go with your career. The important thing is to follow your passion and start already!
If you find this blog post helpful please share it with your introverted friends, that would be much appreciated.
Any comments or feedback are always welcome