Hi, my name is Megan, and I am an introvert. I am also a teacher. A world language teacher, in fact, whose job it is to be social and encourage conversational/social skills in others.
If you yourself are an introvert, you probably know exactly where I’m going with this.
Introverts are people who, typically, are exhausted when put into excessively social situations and need time alone to “recharge.” This is me to a T – I can turn on the big personality, the theatrics, all of it when I need to but when it’s all over, I desperately need quiet time to recharge and gear up for the next round. In my classroom, I am the image of an extrovert, but in any social situation I’m the one that people always wind up asking, “What’s the matter? Why are you so quiet?”
As an aside, I think being an introvert actually works to my advantage in social situations that require me to use French. A friend once commented that I am much more outgoing in French than I am when I’m at home speaking English – I think it’s because nobody hassles me to chime in until I feel comfortable and it’s less conspicuous to just sit and listen and absorb.
In any case, the level of introvert energy that is required of a TPRS/TCI-trained world language teacher is enormous and when “down time” rolls around – whether it be during my prep hour or those precious moments after school – I have a hard time pushing through the need to recharge and forcing myself to be productive. At work, that recharge time often manifests itself in me just sitting quietly and staring into the distance, or perusing blogs and social media for ideas. After school and at home, it’s reading or watching TV and playing with my dog. It’s hard to force myself to get up and get moving and get stuff done. As a result I feel always slightly behind the eight ball – a good basis for a lesson but not enough thoughtful planning and preparation to do it well, a mountain of grading, neglected exercise and nearly forgotten out-of-work relationships. Just knowing how much energy a day of teaching requires and that I have to gear up to do it again the next day is a hard obstacle for me to overcome and no matter how I try, I just can’t seem to suck it up and get that ‘extra’ work done.
So, my fellow introverts and teachers – does anyone else struggle with this? How do you manage to recharge your batteries and still fill that need for solitude and stillness?