Want to teach but you’re an introvert? Like what celebrity audition tagline says, “do you have what it takes?”
Teaching while introverted requires social stamina to keep up with all the noise and everyday activities. I truly understand how it feels to want to teach, yet the social environment exhausts you and you’re doubting your potential for this career.
Now, you’re left thinking, can an introvert make a good teacher? How much toll would it cost for an introverted teacher?
Fortunately, many introverts triumphed in the education field. They make good teachers which even exceed the standard expectations. They can be more creative, thoughtful, and considerate teachers.
I, myself, am an introverted teacher who makes my own personal rules and boundaries. We have to find a way to keep rolling during our everyday social battles.
To be honest, it was difficult in the first few years.
Becoming a teacher means you will have students who constantly knock on your door, asking a question, trying to get your attention, or purposely annoy you. I’ve experienced teaching high school students who have this sky-high, limitless energy. When that happens, I always love the idea of setting up my wall in an instant.
Whenever I entered the school in the morning, many students greet me along the way. Some are overly excited. Others are so energetic like toddlers. They run, scream, and laugh all over the place. I’m like, “Come on, the day’s just starting.” Yet, exhaustion already starts to meter up.
At first, all these boisterous crowds are difficult to take in. This transition could take months.
Fortunately, in the long run, you would eventually love this joyful and reckless behavior from students, even as an introvert. It’s only a matter of getting used to it and realizing, it’s actually fun to have a parent-like connection with your students.
Introvert Teachers in Online Classes
Pandemic changed a lot of our ways. Technology allowed us to implement education, even in the comfort of our homes. Yes, I know this is a worldwide problem. But at the same time, I was the teacher who’s secretly screaming for, “YES!!!” to online classes.
I’ve idealized how my online classes should take place. As an introvert, I have a lot of high expectations of my strategies and how I would interact. In the first semester, there were trials and errors here and there. I know many have it hard but as an introverted teacher, I truly enjoyed the mute and unmute features of Google Classroom.
A perfectly quiet class for the quiet teacher who wants to say a lot. It was mesmerizing, indeed. Silence, finally!
However, I was also concerned about the effectiveness of online classes
Whenever I see my students struggling with their internet connection, it pains me as their teacher. I know cheating was prevalent. Some students were demotivated on studying. Although the platform is ideal for us, introvert teachers, online classes can’t substitute the real classroom experience.
I really am enjoying the muted microphones, but as an introvert teacher who wants to deliver learning, I would still opt to have face-to-face classes (but can we please still integrate online classes from time to time? Pleaseee.)
Why introverts can be good teachers
I have doubts about calling myself a good teacher. But we can’t deny it any longer when students give honest feedback in form of gratitude.
During the first semester, one of my students messaged me, saying,
I’m just doing what I know – teaching, yet it was fulfilling to have my teaching principles go through my students.
So can introverts make good teachers? Absolutely, yes.
Introverts teachers can be more thoughtful to their students.
Because I am an introvert, too, I understand students who can’t express themselves properly. It’s a “been there, done that” scenario whenever I see quiet students. Unlike other teachers who embarrass their students, introverted teachers take their time to react. They contemplate and correct themselves if they did unnecessary behaviors towards their students.
Since they spend time within themselves contemplating, they spend more time to actually think creative, engaging, and original activities for their students.
8 Tips for Introvert Teachers to Overcome Classroom Stress
However considerate, creative, and deep thinkers introverts are, our main issue is draining our social batteries too fast. We have low endurance for social interaction which makes it harder for introvert teachers. Nonetheless, here are a few tips to avoid introvert teacher burnout and survive classroom stress.
1. Don’t try to imitate extroverted co-teachers
Introverts as teachers, here’s how to survive. Tip #1 don’t try to imitate what the extroverts are doing.
I once tried to be the fun teacher in the classroom and joke around my students. I engage with them through conversations. This was fun on the first few days, but not until you drop dead and get too exhausted to keep the fun teacher facade.
It was a failed attempt. When my students react too much for me to handle, I back out. The hermit in me shuts the door and limits response. Sometimes, I just act like I don’t hear them because, to be honest, my batteries are out early on.
Therefore, these pretentious acts could only shatter the real creativity in you. As introverts, we must focus on delivering a class using our own strengths rather than amplifying our own social weaknesses.
2. You don’t have to engage after school hours
Since the online classes started, some students thought they can reach you 24/7. To be fair, many teachers do it too with their students.
However, connecting 24/7 isn’t a hard rule. Here’s a common tip. During the class orientation, I gave them a definitive schedule of my consultation hours. I don’t answer during weekends and it’s become a piece of knowledge for them.
Shut off all these communications in their rightful time. While it’s our duty to teach our students as much as we can, it’s also our duty to give ourselves rest.
You may also like: 7 Tips on How to Be Happy as an Introvert (for highly sensitive introverts)
3. Find friends at school to talk to when you’re stressed
On tedious and busy days, find someone at your school to talk to once in a while. While introverts love alone time, we still need a consumable amount of socialization. Friends help us get through difficulties. Whenever we’re on the verge of a breakdown, friends are there to validate our issues.
Sometimes, if an introvert gets too tired, they see everything in gray. So to decompress such feelings, recharge with people you are close to.
4. Engage students in the learning process
If you’re an introverted teacher, trying to entertain your students might be a struggle. Again, I was never the funny one. So as an introvert, the best way to be an effective teacher is to engage and draw students’ interest. Engage them with new knowledge, meaningful learning, and true-to-life experiences related to the topic.
I found my students interested in relevant real-life experiences. Here are some ways I do it:
- I open controversial topics for us to discuss.
- I’m open if the discussion turns into a debate.
- Provide new information about technology and progress of society
- Introduce news, studies, or discoveries they still don’t know.
- Ask what-if scenarios.
- Cultivate their personal opinions and insights.
Touching their curiosity is also a good way to go. Believe me, students love learning new relevant information they could apply in real life.
5. Only take responsibilities you can handle
Oftentimes, becoming a teacher requires more than just presenting your lesson plan. In an educational institution, teachers should be versatile to perform different responsibilities.
Teachers arrange events and ceremonies. They accommodate enrollees, design classrooms, organize study materials, and host school events. However, as an introvert, however great you are at communication skills, your social batteries are your enemy. To avoid social burnout, don’t overcommit. Only take responsibilities that you can handle.
6. Don’t suppress your creativity
Many introvert teachers have these crazy, yet creative ideas. If you find an activity interesting and it supplies the needed lesson for your students, don’t hesitate to implement it. Whether it’s a contest you’re thinking about, a play, or a mini-science fair — don’t suppress the idea. Be upfront about how you want things to go. You will never know how much your students will enjoy the process.
7. Manage to recharge in quiet places
Introverts like me get very unresponsive when drained. My student could throw jokes at it each other and I’m not even mentally present to share a good laugh. Nevertheless, I keep a smile. Usually, when I’m totally drained, I couldn’t give anything more.
If your batteries get drained out, find solace and recharge yourself. Use your vacant hours to find your peace. As for me, grouping myself with my closest friends can be recharging, too. It gives me the impression that we all go through the same every day. It’s a reminder that if they can, you can, too.
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8. Act as a facilitator
Education today has improved from teacher-focused to learner-focused. This way, instead of endlessly engaging the students in your lecture, you can redirect your instruction to a more cooperative strategy. Allow them to interact with each other, share opinions, or do grouped activities.
This way, they are more engaged in independent learning, rather than completely being dependent on you.
While it is difficult for an introvert to swim along with the big crowd of students, we can’t discount that introverts can be good — or even great — teachers. Their social batteries should not hinder their skills and desire for teaching.
Overall, the experience of having these young minds learn from you is fulfilling. Having students grateful for your work is an absolute feat.
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