Why Introverted Teachers Actually Have an Edge in Education
By Lauren Elrick on 10/05/2016
You’ve always loved kids and nothing makes you happier than seeing their faces light up when they understand something new. This is why you’ve always been curious about a career as a teacher. But your introverted nature makes you hesitant about pursuing this path.
After all, teaching is a high-energy, fast-paced job that required interacting with a variety of people on a daily basis. An upbeat, outgoing personality is a requirement, right? Wrong!
You might be surprised to hear that extroverts aren’t the only ones allowed leading a classroom. In fact, some of your introverted qualities might actually work to your advantage as a teacher.
If you’re wondering if teaching is the right profession for a self-proclaimed introvert like yourself, look no further! We enlisted teachers who identify themselves as introverts to provide some insight on the topic. Keep reading to learn how introverted teachers can leverage their unique personality in the classroom.
6 characteristics that benefit introverted teachers
Your reserved nature shouldn’t be keeping you from pursuing your passion to teach little ones. Embrace these qualities and start seeing them as an advantage to your career in the classroom.
1. They’re cautious when meeting people
While you may picture an overly bubbly or excitable person when you imagine a preschool teacher, it’s important to recognize the benefits of being cautious when meeting new people. Not only does being prudent put teachers on their best behavior when meeting parents, but a careful, gentle disposition will put fearful or shy children at ease.
2. They don’t enjoy being the center of attention
Instead of treating the classroom like a stage, introverted teachers tend to let their students be in the spotlight. After doing their thing in the front quickly, they can focus on getting the children involved and learning. By getting them participating in their studies beyond the lecture, learning becomes more integrated. This type of teaching encourages the students to do the work first-hand, which leads to hands-on learning.
Introverted teachers are able to draw out students and allow them to discover information rather than memorize it, according to Cathy Pickens, an author, creativity consultant and former teacher. On the other hand, teachers who simply blurt out information tend to drown out students’ thoughts, she says.
3. They think carefully before speaking
Introverted individuals are typically very calculated and thoughtful in everything they do. They’re the type of teachers who will always come to class prepared. There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing lesson plans and organizing a classroom schedule.
But your introverted nature won’t let yourself walk into the classroom unprepared. Rather than flying by the seat of your pants, you’ll take the time needed to prep and rehearse before getting up in front of the room.
4. Reflection is important to them
Feedback and reviews are part of most jobs. But as an introvert, you especially value the time to reflect on your actions and how they affect your future. When it comes to working at a school, introverted teachers are well aware of their accomplishments and their shortcomings.
You can capitalize on this by taking time to think through the ways you can grow and develop your craft. After each new lesson, you can evaluate what went well and what you could do differently next time. In the end, this will only serve to further benefit students.
5. They are great listeners
“I have been in hundreds of classrooms,” says Sharon M. Hart, a former high school teacher from California. “I have observed that introverted teachers are quiet, reserved, more apt to listen to students and they ask questions.”
Listening is a skill that many of us would do well to learn but as an introvert, you excel in this area. By taking the time to carefully listen to students, parents and other educators, introverted teachers create space for better communication, better understanding and an overall better learning environment.
“It is not unusual in an introverted teacher’s classroom to have a higher level of student engagement than in those of extroverted teachers who do most of the talking,” Hart explains.
6. They have the time to be deeply involved with teaching
Introverts certainly value their friends, but their social lives look a lot different than those of an extrovert. Creating lesson plans, correcting homework and planning out lectures for the next day admittedly take up a lot of time. But as an introvert, balancing the demanding job requirements with everyday life isn’t as much of an issue.
“I did not have a problem with maintaining a work-life balance, mainly because I did not have an active social life,” Hart says. “My time spent alone at home was sufficient to keep up with the demands of the job. Introverts like me do not feel that they are ‘missing out’ if they don't socialize.”
Leverage your unique skills
As you can see, introverted teachers are actually very well-suited for a teaching career. So rather than viewing your introversion as a hindrance, look at it as an advantage. You’ll not only dazzle your students’ parents, but you’ll have a huge impact on the lives of many kids as well.
Now that you know there’s a place for you in the teaching world, learn more about where that place is in our article: Early Childhood Education vs. Elementary Education: Which Environment is Right For You?