I, myself, am an introvert. I’m not loud, large social events make me anxious (even supervising at assemblies can cause my anxiety levels to rise), I definitely need some quiet time to recharge after socializing with others (don’t get me wrong, I love being around people and talking/learning/laughing with others- I just need the “me” time after), and I spend a lot of time in my head thinking and reflecting. The popularity and focus on introverts in the media (like Susan Cain and her research) have really helped me understand myself which in turn has helped me understand and empathize with the introverted students in my classes.
The other day I read a Huffington Post Education article by Katie Hurley called “Understanding Introverts in the Classroom” and it really resonated with me. She gives advice as to how make your classroom introvert friendly to best accommodate those learners in the class, but the largest connection I drew from the article was how she described her son as introverted but not shy like everyone seems to think. This is true of me as once you get to know me, I actually talk quite a bit, but it’s especially true of my daughters. Both girls are introverts, however, they aren’t shy. They need to feel comfortable in a situation before they are willing to share. Also, if you catch either of them when they are over-stimulated, you aren’t going to get anything out of them because they are mentally exhausted. Once they are comfortable with those around them, they are very willing to share their thoughts, feels, ideas and numerous questions, but for some reason, not being outgoing is seen as shy.
It’s bothering me as Lexie has now started to use it to define herself. I worry that she’s too young to be internalizing such an idea. I don’t want that to restrict her as I want her to be comfortable in her own skin. It’s hard enough to be a girl and I don’t want her to be defining herself based on what others say. In a way it saddens me that at four years old, she has already learned this aspect about our culture.