The Life of an Introvert in School

introverted pastimeAccording to the 2012 article “Studies Illustrate the Plight of Introverted Students,” by Sarah Sparks published in Education Week that while as many as 1/2 of the population are introverts, this group may be at an educational disadvantage in traditional classrooms. Teachers seem to view quieter students as less intelligent than those who readily speak often in class, and in the 2011 study of teachers, “the educators were more likely to respond to an overly talkative student with direct intervention or social-learning strategies, while, for a quiet child, they were more likely to simply watch and wait or report the child’s behavior to the principal or parents.”

The article also states that introverts do better if they talk on their own terms, instead of being forced into group work and quick responses by teachers and that even though they may not speak as often as extroverts in class, they still can understand the majority of what they’re learning, and that their silence shouldn’t be taken as ignorance. It went on to suggest that introverts might have a test taking advantage because they are more comfortable working alone.

Senior Samantha Deming said that extroverts are more talkative, able to express ideas and information about subjects more easily. Deming stated that introverts have a harder time giving their ideas and opinions, staying more outside the group.

Deming also stated that the only real major differences between Introverts and Extroverts were mainly with communication. Often times she would struggle with speaking up, causing others to either ignore her, or blatantly talk over her.

She said being an introvert has sometimes stopped her from doing important things, such as class presentations. Because of her quiet nature, Deming has had trouble in the past with seizing opportunities, such as meeting new people and making friends.
Deming believes it’s different for each family with an introverted child, but personally her mother accepts her personality type, because her mother is an introvert herself, but she still encourages Deming to be more social. Deming mentioned that she did in fact like to converse, contrary to popular misconceptions, it was just a little harder for her to do so.

Every teen feels being different would be easier for them, and Deming is no exception to this. Deming believes being an extrovert would benefit her social life and career. “It would be easier to get good job opportunities and such, because you’d come off as more friendly, but I probably wouldn’t change the way I am because I am this way for a reason. It’s how I grew up. I still get around being an introvert, I still find ways to do what I need, but it’s sometimes more of a struggle,” Deming stated.

Senior Adam McCaul believes when it comes to average bookwork and/or homework personality type does not make a huge difference, however, he does think that group projects favor extroverts. He said, “as an introvert I may have less ability to communicate with my group. Not to say that the introvert can’t do the work, but involving others can be hard and taxing on our mentality. We simply might have a more difficult time discussing ideas. However, I think introverts have an upper hand in artistic tasks like drawing, painting, or creative writing. I’ve noticed that Introverts seem to have excellent creativity in comparison, or at least for those I know.”

McCaul’s greatest struggle as an introvert in school is communication. “When I talk to others, I often take long pauses to figure out what to say. Many people mistake this for I’m done speaking, but often I’m not,” McCaul said. “By result I will sometimes feel too pressured and speak without thinking, which often puts me in a corner during discussions.”

In most instances McCaul is content with his introversion, but he wishes he had a bit more of a social nature because he loves politics and feels like it would be easier to participate in something like student council and later local politics if he did not find small talk so draining. “I think it’s extremely important to be involved with what’s going in politics, but because of my communication issue I find it difficult to do so.”

He thinks often introverts are misunderstood. He said people generally think introverts are “anti-social, hate people, and aren’t very talkative,” and while he can see it, he said it’s not exactly true. Introverts prefer to talk to a select amount of people at a time. They can be social, just not with too many people at once. “I joke about hating people, and at times I really do hate certain people, but as a whole I love the human race. For better or worse, this is what we got, and we need to band together. Meeting people can be fun, and often brings new perspective into one’s life, just don’t hit me with to many new people at once.”

He wishes more people knew that introverts can be extremely talkative, to their close friends and family. “I’d argue Introverts are more talkative, if they were to talk to a best friend about something of great interest. I’ve seen introverted people have hours of conversation with their best friend.” Introverts just don’t find social banter in a crowd energizing like an extrovert might.
Even though he sometimes feels misunderstood, if he could choose, he would choose to still be an introvert. “It’s who I am. I see how nice being an extrovert would be, because you gain energy from being around others and can have tons of friends and constantly talk to them. But being an Introvert is just who I am. I wouldn’t want to change myself in the least, except maybe keeping a more level head when I’m angry.”

Senior Brianna L. agrees that it can be harder to be an introvert as a teenager in school. “Extroverts can put themselves out there with no effort at all and get the help they need to be successful. As for introverts, they struggle with a gripping anxiety that if they speak up that their question will be unheard. Introverts will have a harder time finding the help they need in order to be successful.”

Her greatest struggle has been to find people she can trust and rely on. She said, “I don’t like talking to new people I’ve never met before about my current issues.”
She said her personality type also sometimes gets in her way, like when she gets too nervous to talk to her teachers about a bad grade, or speak to a manager about an issue with a coworker.
She believes that extroverts sometimes assume that “Introverts are up to no good, when all we’re doing is being quiet and listening to the world around us.”

She know her natural inclination is to be introverted and is fine with that, but would like to develop outward habits that are a bit more balanced. “They both have their pros and cons. I want to be shy and listen to the world around me, but I also want to try to take part of the action and interact with others without being completely nervous about it.”

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