Recently, we received an e-mail of introduction from the newly hired college president. He described his family, his hobbies, his career, and his goals for the college, as one might expect. After he mentioned that upon his arrival he would meet with employees, students, and community partners, he added, "All of these social commitments tax my introverted personality, but I believe they are necessary to doing my job well." My first reaction was, "Woohoo! Go, introverts!" After all, it's reassuring to have someone with your personality type in a position of influence, in a someone's-looking-out-for-us kind of way. And I like to feel that I can in some way relate to an important new stranger I'll be meeting soon.
Then, I worried. Hm, now do we have to mention introversion in a sort of disclaimer? Like, "Hey, I might not be as charismatic as you might expect, but I'll get the job done!" Must we introverts forever be assuring people that we'll be OK in spite of our personalities, rather than because of them?
But then I looked at the positive. He mentioned introversion! In a memo that was sent to every employee at the college. Which means he wasn't afraid that he'd be looked down upon after coming "out" as an "in-." Maybe the fact that the new college president felt free to mention his introversion is a sign that our society is moving toward more acceptance of introverts. The fact that the new president admitted to being an introvert shows that he doesn't feel pressure to hide his true self and pretend to be an extrovert, which is what lots of introverts habitually do to survive, especially in people-person fields like education. I know I do!
So, overall, I think the declaration of introversion in my new president's e-mail was an indication that things are moving in the right direction for introverts. Even though people need a warning that we're coming, at least we won't have to hide once we get there!
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!