I teach in a classroom with three other women. Three out of the four of us would probably call ourselves introverts. Me especially. My newest co-teacher is a self-proclaimed extrovert. Like, big time extrovert; I absolutely love her for it. It is a good balance for our classroom. The four of us have often chatted about our personality differences and our introvert or extrovert tendencies. Us introverts like to go home in the evening and spend time alone to recharge, my extrovert co-teacher gains her energy from people. But all of us agree how exhausting it can be tending to fifteen toddlers every day. One of these particular days that we were actually able to find the time to discuss life and our teaching, my extroverted co-teacher exclaimed “It must be exhausting for you, you’re just pretending to be an extrovert all day!”
Well, true. I mean, I have always been very quiet; during my performance reviews my boss has indeed complimented me on my “calm and quiet manner.” (Ok, she calls me the baby whisperer.) However, I never really thought I was pretending to be an extrovert by constantly being expressive, talking to and engaging with children and keeping up my energy level to be on par with a group of 15 to 30 month old children. That’s just doing my job. Yes, it can be exhausting keeping up with it, and I do feel the need to recharge my batteries with some alone time. I’m ok if my co-teacher calls it pretending to be an extrovert, I’m ok even thinking that myself sometimes. In the end, it caused me to think about how my strengths as an educator and my tendencies as an introvert come together in my work as a preschool teacher.
Hence, here we are. Why I’m writing. To discover why everything I do, think and feel on a daily basis culminates into who I am, both in my personal and working lives.
How about you? Are you an introvert in an extroverted environment? What does that mean for you?