It's tough to be an introvert in an extrovert world, especially in an extrovert's profession, like teaching. Through this blog, I'd like to share my own and others' reflections on being an introvert in the classroom. This isn't a place for misanthropes or grumps, though; I hope to thoughtfully discuss the challenges that introverts face in schools and celebrate the gifts that introverted teachers and students bring to the educational environment. If you can relate, please join me!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Don't hover on me."

This was a favorite phrase of my dad's. He would use it if we kids were reading over his shoulder or intruding in his personal space while he was building or fixing something. As I grew up, an introvert much like him, I realized that I, too, dislike it when people "hover" on me.

Perhaps this is why it is so uncomfortable for me, as a teacher, to "hover" on my students. When I first started teaching, I realized, to my chagrin, that many students are conditioned not to do their work unless you hover on them and that I would have to become a hover-er.

A recent example would be Essay Planning Day in my developmental English class. When I was a student, I would've hated and resented such a day. While I am thinking, especially to prepare a writing assignment, I like to be alone. I would not like a professor coming around and literally reading over my shoulder. I would not like to be interrupted with questions and/or suggestions. I would not like someone to conclude that because I didn't immediately write anything down that I was "off-task," a favorite educational phrase for not focusing on the matter at hand.

I instituted days like Essay Planning Day because I saw that they were necessary; my students were not necessarily going to prewrite on their own, and taking class time to do it did produce a better quality of writing. I wasn't shocked that the process was effective; I was, however, shocked that some people actually liked it--the hovering part, that is. I realized that, for some, hovering is simply concerned interest and helpful feedback. What an introvert views as interference, the extrovert may actually view as wanted attention, affirmation even.

Sigh. The culture shock continues!