What’s It Like To Be an Introverted Teacher

After our professional development training last Wednesday, one local teacher (Indonesian) asked me why I don’t hang out with my Filipino colleagues. Told her the truth: “I don’t want to, it’s draining sometimes.” It’s not exclusive to Filipinos by the way. I regularly turned down party invites back in Thailand, because, well. I like spending time with my boy and clean the house (I kid you not).

It’s not their fault, nor mine. It’s just I do get drained when I hang out with people, especially those who don’t get it. Sometimes it can even be like “go away”. I’m an introvert and possibly the most boring woman you’ll ever know.

Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I am not shy too. I can razzle dazzle people in presentations. I can host a party. I can party! I hold an interesting, long conversation. My colleagues think I’m funny and bubbly. Hell, I am a teacher, which gives me an opportunity to be in front of the crowd for seven solid hours everyday. However, I have to say, it can tiring. I don’t hang around after school most of the time, by home time, I pack my bag and leave the room to head home because nothing beats the freedom of being able to lounge around in your undies while lying on the couch, eating chocolate coated digestives. Do yoga. Meditate. Work out.

What’s the difference between introversion and shyness? According to Susan Cain, “Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it’s just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best. Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that’s really a misperception. Because actually it’s just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers. Now, shyness, on the other hand, is about a fear of negative social judgment. So you can be introverted without having that particular fear at all, and you can be shy but also be an extrovert”

My brother and I talked recently and he was moaning about how people get to waste his time by “doing them a favor by saying yes when they ask you to hang out with them and end up sacrificing some beliefs or protocol when it comes to social situations” or basically saying “I don’t like what you’re doing, I’ll just go home now to surf the net”. He claims people think that going out with friends and family is a great fun thing but no, not for him (for us). We’d rather be at home with our books, internet and laptop.

I am grateful that my boyfriend is the same. We get each other (I think we are meant to be together because of this!) and we have the same needs. I don’t mind when the house gets quiet too as we need the peace, some alone time, but because a strange twist of fate called love, my alone time has to be punctuated with his presence, or at least, his voice filling up the room when we call each other. He is the extension of myself, my thoughts – he is the icing on the cake of my alone time.

BONUS!

Quiet Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
Excerpted from: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

To find out where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, answer each question True or False, choosing the one that applies to you more often than not.

1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.

2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing.

3. ______ I enjoy solitude.

4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.

5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.

6. ______ People tell me that I’m a good listener.

7. ______ I’m not a big risk-taker.

8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to “dive in” with few interruptions.

9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.

10. ______ People describe me as “soft-spoken” or “mellow.”

11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s finished.

12. ______ I dislike conflict.

13. ______ I do my best work on my own.

14. ______I tend to think before I speak.

15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.

16. ______I often let calls go through to voice mail.

17. ______If you had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.

18. ______ I don’t enjoy multitasking.

19. ______ I can concentrate easily

20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.

The more often you answered True, the more introverted you are. This is an informal quiz, not a scientifically validated personality test. The questions were formulated based on characteristics of introversion often accepted by contemporary researchers.

From Quiet by Susan Cain. Copyright 2012 by Susan Cain.

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