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.

Temp Work: Pros and Cons

Article originally appeared in: Cassidy Education by Ashley Andrews

This article nails it. I started off as a temp worker for Brent International School in Subic when I was a fresh grad (or shall we say, fresh out of med school), and that’s the time I decided when I can actually work as a teacher. That environment was enabling and nice that I actually fell in love with teaching. However, getting a job in that workplace is tough because it takes care of its employees very well that the teachers don’t want to leave. I knew I wanted to be in, and so I worked as a temp as it provided me one step inside the house! Obviously that door led me to other places but I know for sure that if it had not be for temping, I know I won’t be in this place now!

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So, you have just finished your university degree!  You have celebrated with friends and family, it is only now you are realising you’ve spent the last seventeen years or more in a formal educational setting.  Now, you are given the most daunting task in your young life – getting your first job!

Many feel the pressure within a few hours of graduating. I know I did, so I went ahead and interviewed for a few companies, made use of the career centre on campus, but all my efforts were essentially fruitless in my search for the ‘dream job’ — one that would satisfy my passions and set me on the right path.

After several applications and interviews I finally found a job as a temporary employee. One year later, it turned out to be a great way to gain an insight on work environments and it allowed me the time needed to reevaluate career goals. I look back on those times with fondness and no regrets.

In case you find yourself in a similar situation, we at Cassidy Education have put together a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages in taking temporary work.

Advantages

Gain Experience

Temping is a great opportunity to see experience different company cultures and discover what you prefer as an employee. It may be that you work best in a fast-paced environment, hate sitting at a desk or like working with children.Temping is a fantastic way to discover the things you are good at and what you really enjoy doing. You are often exposed to career fields you might otherwise never have known, allowing you to make more informed career choices going forward.

Exposure

Temping can help you gain visibility in a crowded and uncertain job market. Plus, if you are just entering the job market, a temporary job could be one of the best ways to get your foot in the door to a permanent position.

As a temp worker, you’ll be represented and will benefit from our vast contact list and our inside knowledge on who’s hiring and what they’re really looking for.

Permanent Employment Potential

If a permanent role is what you ultimately want, the best thing you can do is be a pleasure to work with.  Once you’re on the job as a temp, the employer gets a chance to see you shine. Don’t be surprised if what started out as a week’s assignment turns into a permanent job offer. When that time comes, you’ll know if this is a company that you want to stay with long-term. You don’t have to accept the offer but if you do, be sure to let your recruitment consultant/agency know.

Take Advantage of the Flexibility

Many temp jobs will be 40 hours a week until your assignment is over, when the assignment ends you have the flexibility and can take some time-off if you want. You can also use this flexibility to continue searching for jobs that fall more in line with your career desires, while building on your experiences, skill sets and of course your all important CV.

Make sure to maintain some contact with your consultant and take the occasional placement to ensure they will want to continue working with and representing you.

Be Qualified

Make sure your job knowledge and technical skills are current and up to date. Now that you are entering the job market, agencies and employers are looking for people with first-rate skills.  You must stay sharp to find employment, including temping, make your best efforts at all times.

Seek ways to increase your knowledge and become a ‘mini-expert’ in your field you’ll want to present yourself as uniquely well-informed. Obtain certifications when available.

A combination of classwork and on-the-job experience is the ideal way to prepare yourself for a new line of work. If you can prove that you have some basic skills, it may be that we place you in jobs where you can work under supervision and further enhance your skill set.

Disadvantages

There’s always a downside:

  • You may feel isolated
  • There is a lack of certainty about income
  • You may not have health insurance, a pension plan, or paid vacations
  • There aren’t many disadvantages to temping – but if you like the security of a regular job and being around a consistent circle of peers, you may find temping unfulfilling.
  • Although temping can be great for building skills and knowledge, there is a  high turnover rate.
  • Full-time employment is NOT a guarantee.

In the end, being a temp worker has both advantages and disadvantages. Soak it all up and we hope this helps you make a decision when you are faced with the opportunity to apply for, accept, or deny a temporary position. Good luck and make the most out of temping and all the advantages it offers!

Why Choose Progressive Schools?

As mentioned in the previous post I have been back from traveling – and I know it’s not supposed to be an excuse, but I have to admit I neglected this blog for a week! Eeps! Exactly a week  ago I was eating brownies at the airport!

Anyway, the recent Philippine trip was short. Too short that I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do, like hangout with family, do some volunteer work in Raya (previous school I worked at which is just a happy place, full stop), chill at hot springs and do some wakeboarding. Everything was rush rush. Lesson now is, book a longer trip, so that I can do everything!

I mentioned Raya School and it being a happy place. It is.  It is a remarkable school in Naga City, offering a very modern take on educating children. It is a progressive school and as a fan of all things innovative and helpful – I really like it.

Now what is a progressive school? Buzzfeed helps us understand it in a hilarious way, but it’s true. The article implies that progressive education is a movement made by hippie parents teaching their children to rebel and love nature and be weird but it’s not entirely true. It’s a reaction towards the standard, mainstream, traditional education where the teacher is the authority and exams are the end all and be all of the child’s ability.

I love that idea where education is practical and not tests-based. Don’t get me wrong, as a kid I aced exams easily but I knew I wasn’t good enough, that my perfect scores don’t mean I’m perfect (I didn’t have any friends so maybe that’s why I thought I was far from perfect lol). One of the key moments in my early childhood education was when I got a perfect score in my science finals test in grade five (taxonomic classification – ha!) but I knew my teacher didn’t know what a blue green algae is. That’s the time when I started distrusting teachers, and school for that matter. Is it really worth it? What’s the point? I mean, my parents aren’t telling me that corals are animals and they belong in phylum coelenterata, you know?

Add to the fact that I was really poor in rote learning. I was one of those rare children who’d rather have essay tests because I can fully express my thoughts given a free rein of thinking. I was a confident speaker and one of my teachers said I didn’t give a fuck in my essays – and I think that gave me the confidence to speak my thoughts and my ideas as a person. I knew I passed scholarships because I can communicate well, like in instances when I’m a mayor of a city and the problem was overpopulation – this was my make or break question at the entrance interview for the Science High School – I answered arcologies because I played with Sim City 2000 then. Gaming helps, I tell you that. I owe Sim City my life, come to think of it.

Progressive schools are student-centered, creative and open. They teach children critical thinking skills, emphasize self-direction and teamwork but also collaboration and communication – not to mention using digital technology. As a teacher, I consider myself not an authority but a guide. I mean, I know I don’t know everything but I also know I know more than them because I have life experiences. My point is, I want to equip my children with life skills and the love for life-long learning. I know I sound like a brochure for your school but tell you what, if I have a child of my own, I can’t care less if she knows about Schrodinger’s cat at age 11 if all she wants is to make a perfect apple pie!

I can go on and on about how making a perfect apple pie is more advantageous in life skills and is cross-curricular across the board compared to learning about Schrodinger’s cat but I will spare you the torture. In order for you to understand it more, here is a table (Source: Robert G. Peters, with thanks to the books Schools of Quality, by John Jay Bonstigl, and In Search of Understanding, by Martin C. Brooks and Jaqueline Grennon, Independent Schools.)

Traditional Progressive
School is a preparation for life. School is a part of life.
Learners are passive absorbers of information and authority. Learners are active participants, problem solvers, and planners.
Teachers are sources of information and authority. Teachers are facilitators, guides who foster thinking.
Parents are outsiders and uninvolved. Parents are the primary teachers, goal setters, and planners, and serve as resources.
Community is separate from school, except for funding. Community is an extension of the classroom.
Decision-making is centrally based and administratively delivered. Decision-making is shared by all constituent groups.
Program is determined by external criteria, particularly test results. Program is determined by mission, philosophy, and goals for graduates.
Learning is linear, with factual accumulation and skill mastery. Learning is spiral, with depth and breadth as goals.
Knowledge is absorbed through lectures, worksheets, and texts. Knowledge is constructed through play, direct experience, and social interaction.
Instruction is linear and largely based on correct answers. Instruction is related to central questions and inquiry, often generated by the children.
Disciplines, particularly language and math, are separated. Disciplines are integrated as children make connections.
Skills are taught discretely and are viewed as goals. Skills are related to content and are viewed as tools.
Assessment is norm-referenced, external, and graded. Assessment is benchmarked, has many forms, and is progress-oriented.
Success is competitively based, derived from recall and memory, and specific to a time/place. Success is determined through application over time, through collaboration.
Products are the end point. Products are subsumed by process considerations.
Intelligence is a measure of linguistic and logical/mathematical abilities. Intelligence is recognized as varied, includes the arts, and is measured in real-life problem-solving.
School is a task to be endured. School is a challenging and fun part of life.

I suppose you can say it is the Montessori-style but geared for older children. Some people call it Holistic Learning. It is curiosity-driven, but I love to think that this will be the future of education. It does not stop at elementary, nor high school. When you instill the love for learning (or reading) in a person, you improve a society. They will be better, responsible and kind adults that will improve and enhance our world as we know it.