Sunday, October 7, 2012

How To Be An Introvert with an Extrovert's Job

In my last post, I mentioned that I have a job typically taken on by extroverts, even though I'm an introvert. I am a K-12 art teacher, and I never go back to the same school twice. So every day is full of literally hundreds of new people. As a person who hates attention and needs a fair share of alone time, it can be challenging to be "on" every day. But since I love art and I love kids, I had to adjust my teaching style to enjoy every day more.

I have figured out a few ways to stay true to my introverted self and also really enjoy being a teacher:

1. I see my days in schools as a game. I use the time to practice being an extrovert. There are many perks of being an extrovert, so I play the part to get the best of both worlds! If you think you'll have a great time talking to people all day, you usually end up having a ball!

2. Time spent not teaching is spent recharging silently. Sometimes I bring a book to read during 5-minute breaks between classes. Sometimes I tell my co-worker I need to eat lunch alone in my room. Yes. I'm that person. Not all the time, but sometimes.

3. I used to be ashamed of my need to be alone because it can be seen as anti-social. Once I figured out that it was necessary to have a good day, I stopped being ashamed and started making it happen. Own that introversion! Be selfish with that precious free time during the day! When I get home, I also make sure to get my alone time in before moving on to other activities. Knowing I can have it when work is over is very helpful.

4. Knowing how introverts and extroverts work, I tailor lessons to both personality types. School can often be very conducive to extroverts, but terrifying to introverts! I make sure to have activities that cater to both parties. Letting kids talk in small groups or work on their own makes the introverts more comfortable and the extroverts happy, and gives me a break from being "on stage" for a few minutes. Win/win.

5. Get enough sleep. When I'm rested and energized, life is rainbows and happiness. When I'm tired, it's really easy to tack on being overwhelmed by billions of small children. Enough sleep = easier day.

6. Most days are fine, but when I find myself wondering why I chose an extrovert's job, I remind myself why I chose to teach art: I LOVE IT! I love art so much that I want everyone to love it, too! Teaching is a great way to spread my love of art to other people. Being passionate really helps.

Introverts, do you have an extrovert's job? How do you tailor your day to be less overwhelming?
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Job and Rachael said...

I think being a nurse is typically thought of as an extroverts job, but since there are SO many areas of nursing to go into it is easy to find a job that works (not at all easy to actually get a job in that area, but that's a whole other topic ;) I.e. during nursing school I wasn't the girl who swooned over the Mom/Baby unit with a lot of patient interaction. I wanted OR, where my patients were out. I do love people and interacting with them, but as for long term job prospects I wanted something I wouldn't get burnt out with. I am lucky enough now to enjoy a nursing job where while my patient is in different therapies I get to sit to the sidelines and READ. Heavenly.

Kellies said...

Thanks for the comment, Rachael! I accidentally deleted your other comment on my phone (dumb small keyboard). I loved that one, too!

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