I recently watched this TED talk by Susan Cain on Introverts.
Myself being an introvert in a family comprised mostly of extroverts I struggled with this as well. As Susan says, this causes us to conform to what we are expected to be; outgoing, social, ‘public speakers’. And I would be lying if I said that doing that, coming out of my comfort zone, hadn’t benefitted me both in my life and career, yet at the same time, it took me quite a while to come to terms with the ‘guilt’ I would feel at times, when I wanted to just be alone, not to speak to people, and to get lost in my own thoughts. Through a combination of this ‘guilt’ and ‘conformity’ I have become what I call an extroverted introvert. Which I think is funny because many people I went to university with struggled with the idea of me being an introvert at all. I do enjoy going to parties and gatherings and meeting new people, but I don’t always do so well with sustained personal conversations. I am definitely more of a listener than a talker. Funnily my fiance is the opposite; an intoverted extrovert. He loves to talk and is a great speaker and quite charismatic. But then he also likes to be alone with himself, though funny enough, even then I can hear him talking and muttering to himself.
Like Susan said, we all fall on different points on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, but I think we should all take the time to appreciate all points on that spectrum, not only in each other, but also in ourselves.
And for teachers/educators, this is most important. We must take the time to discover each students personalities and ensure that they all have the opportunity to learn in an environment most suitable to them.