I am an introvert and working in this world of social media, and constant connections can be difficult. It is hard to sustain a social network presence when doing so goes against your natural instinct and you need to force yourself to do so constantly. It is the way things are done today. It can be draining and exhausting and I have not been doing a good job of it lately.
I am not a self-promoter and talking about my family and friends is much easier than talking about myself. I cannot list my skills and accomplishments without feeling like I am bragging. I watch people share their experiences and and say “ I can do that, in fact I have and done even better.” I have knowledge, varied experience and expertise but I am quiet, not gregarious and therefore often these ideas are overlooked.
I am re-reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, for the third time. I highly recommend it. For a small taste of it please watch this animated clip. If you can’t read the whole book this summer then at least the first chapter to get your wheels turning.
We talk a lot about the need for communication and collaboration today in education and often we are leaving out about ½ of individuals who fall in this introverted category. As educators it would be beneficial if we understood and recognized the introverts in our care and their strengths and roles in collaborative teams.
In our cultural past character was the mark of a ‘man.’ In today’s society we focus more on personality. The author demonstrates how we moved from the culture of character to the culture of personality which I find quite thought provoking. This explains a lot for me how we almost worship celebrity even if there is no substance.
Speaking as an introvert who once sat in a classroom and now tries to connect and learn with other educators out there, please take the time to read and reflect on Quite. As noted in the book the most productive teams are those comprised of introverts and extroverts. But as introverts do not necessarily speak loudly you may not know what you are missing unless you know to look for it. Just because someone is not shouting from the rooftop, raising their hand in class or posting constantly does not mean they do not have great ideas and something to contribute.