The Introvert Teacher

How I manage being an introvert teacher...

It’s my first day of Christmas break and I’ve spent much of it all  by myself.  I could not be happier. I look forward to school breaks for many reasons, but a big one is being able to honor my introverted nature and spend some quality time alone. My day started with drinking a cup of coffee while watching the news –  in solitude. I then went out to do some last minute holiday shopping, meandering through the shops, and enjoying a brief lunch by myself. Bliss.

I have only recently come to identify myself as being somewhat introverted. Many aspects of my personality would suggest otherwise. My mother tells me that I rarely took naps as a child because I was “afraid of missing something”.  I was also involved in theater from childhood through college (I have always found it exhilarating to speak in front of a group). I’m a Leo and Leo’s love to be the center of attention. Furthermore, I’m  a teacher, which means I spend most of my waking hours talking to and interacting with (little) people. These characteristics do not necessarily spell out introvert.

Yet, I am an introvert…

One thing I now know about myself is that being alone is how I recharge. Social interaction, even casual interaction, can be draining for me. I know that is not the case for everyone. Some people might interpret that as offensive, that I should want to spend as much time as possible with the people I love. But it truly has nothing to do with my friends and family and whether or not I like being around them. Of course, I do! But for me, the socializing has to be balanced with alone time in order for me to feel well, whole, and like my authentic self.  It’s just something I accept now. Luckily, I have a partner who has some of the same tendencies. So he and I know to give each other space from time to time.

Not to mention, I also know I’m part introvert because of some of my other quirks. I very much dislike talking to people on the phone. And services like DoorDash and self-check out lines are heaven to me because I barely have to speak to a soul to get what I need!

Unapologetic Alone Time

It is possible that my need for alone time is even greater because of my work as a teacher. All day long, I am responding to (little) people calling my name. I’m answering questions, giving direction, explaining, monitoring, and responding. My energy is turned very much outward. And if it’s one of those days where breaks are sparse or non-existent, I am left absolutely spent and exhausted. Alone time gives me a chance to turn my energy inward and rest.

So now I unapologetically honor my alone time. I browse the bookstore, read in bed, and sit alone at tables. Sometimes honoring my alone time means excusing myself from a social setting and spending just one or two extra minutes in the bathroom. I don’t feel bad because I know that this alone time is a part of my particular version of self-care. Spending some time alone does not mean I’m selfish, sad, or lonely. It’s just me recharging my batteries.

This is me today, partaking in some much-needed introvert time:

Here’s to the introvert teachers, the introverts who are also extroverts, and anyone who just enjoys some good ole peace and quiet sometimes.

Be well and be alone (if needed),

10 thoughts on “The Introvert Teacher

  1. Amber|Pen and Parent says:

    It’s interesting how you became a teacher and an introvert. I’m a teacher too (at the college level) and an extrovert. But my husband and writing partner are introverts. For Christmas, I ordered the book Quiet for my hubby. He definitely needs lots of time to recharge like you. My writing partner wrote a great post on the best books for introverted parents and kids. This is how I discovered this book and learned more about introverts. Thanks for the great post.

  2. Dan says:

    Wear your Introvert badge with pride!

    I’ve heard that we introverts get so drained from interaction, because we’re so GIVING with our energy. I’m not sure if I feel that way, but I dunno! Do you?

    • Joelle says:

      I think that applies to me sometimes. But not all the time. The situation for me is such that sometimes I feel more extroverted and sometimes I feel more introverted. I think I’m a bit of both and I waver. So when I’m in introvert mode, it does feel like I have to give a lot of energy for social interaction. Why must we humans be so complex!? <3

  3. Sarah says:

    I’m not an introvert, but more of an ambivert. Still so important for me to recharge after spending the day with students. Thanks for sharing!

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