I am an introvert, and I am a teacher.
As paradoxical as that may sound, introverted teachers enjoy a wealth of benefits that many extroverted teachers may not have, such as the ability to easily connect with quiet, introverted students and the kind of creativity that comes from planning lessons in their “caves of solitude.”
Introverted vs. Shy
Plus, “introverted” is not synonymous with “shy” (although people can be both shy and introverted). I do not consider myself shy–at all! In fact, introverts can be quite outgoing and talkative and even prove to be more socially confident than most extroverts. The only thing that differentiates them from extroverts is their source of energy: “alone time.”
Combine their outgoing nature and their ability to see through all types of students (including introverted ones) with their rare creativity, and you have got yourself a winning teacher.
The Challenges Introverts Face
That being said, being introverted in a mostly extroverted profession does not come without its own set of struggles. Preferring to spend time alone when they are not in the classroom can make introverts come across as aloof and/or awkward. Some people may struggle to process the fact that individuals who prefer being alone during their downtime do indeed exist.
Introverts do not dislike the company of others. In fact, they enjoy being with other people. They just prefer recharging in solitude rather than in the company of a large group of people.
The Superpower of Introverts
With the current pandemic, however, many introverted people are inadvertently being given unprecedented opportunities to cultivate and demonstrate their talents in a variety of interesting and unique ways.
But how exactly? Since introverts require alone time to recharge themselves, maintaining their energy and dynamism in an extrovert-dominated society in which being constantly socially active is considered a virtue is extraordinarily daunting, if not utterly impossible, for them.
Thus–at the risk of sounding cynical, which, of course, is far from being my intention–I would like to assert that introversion in this day and age has become the new extroversion; that is, introverts can now thrive in an environment that readily indulges their natural dispositions, while extroverts have to uncomfortably adapt to the new situation.
The Introvert’s Dominion
It is safe to say that 2020 (and, quite likely, the years that will follow) will be a year during which introverts will truly begin radiating as writers, as teachers, as musicians, as influencers, and even as business and political leaders.
(Here is a video from a Youtube channel I have been following for quite a while now. Although I do not agree with him entirely on every issue, I personally relate to Pierre because of his experiences of growing up as an Asian American and also partly because of his unorthodox views on society. A person with a quirky, introverted personality, he shares his thoughts on the rise of our kind and the extrovert’s fall due to this crisis.)
This is not to downplay the disasters and carnage that the coronavirus pandemic has brought all over the world (and will continue to create). But, as the old adage goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” And, instead of being haughty and disdainful of people who are unlike themselves, introverts must use their newfound energy and sense of self to make the world a better place.
As an introvert myself, I strive to make a positive impact on other people’s lives by making the ESL teaching profession more accessible and more relatable to ordinary people through my work with The English Blog.
How about you? What kind of silver lining are you willing to draw?