The games up, my naivety about a particular subject and completely blinkered perspective has been uncovered…that subject is introversion.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines introversion as:
“the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life”
Whilst researching this topic, I encountered a short and entertaining article called ‘Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group. As the writer Jonathon Rauch described the extrovert, I nodded and smiled in agreement and then, as he went on to talk about the ‘the introvert’ and how, “hell is other people at breakfast” the penny dropped with an almighty and disproportionate crash…my wife, my students…I’m a terrible human.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a high level grasp of introversion in as much as I knew I wasn’t one, but certainly I have never really reflected on what it means to be introvert. In my teaching practice (and personal life for that matter) I reflect more than I ever have, as do I listen and try to understand my student; I thought I respected everybody’s individuality, but it would seem I didn’t. The introvert is content in their world and doesn’t require the extrovert ‘poking’ around at it. Susan Cain in her TED talk ‘the power of the introvert’ talks of how the extrovert ‘craves large amounts of social stimulation’ to which I concur. To change, I need to truly understand that the introvert doesn’t. The introvert ‘feels at their most alive, their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low key environments’. My approach needs to change from practically forcing help onto the introvert to instead helping “them find their zone of stimulation”.
I’m sorry Mrs. B…I’m sorry students…