I am Rebekah and I am an introvert*.
Jonathan Rauch is another introvert who wrote the fantastic satirical article Caring For Your Introvert. He explains what being an introvert means.
Oh, for years I denied it [being an introvert]. After all, I have good social skills. I am not morose or misanthropic. Usually. I am far from shy. I love long conversations that explore intimate thoughts or passionate interests. But at last I have self-identified and come out to my friends and colleagues.
I like people. I love the buzz I get when I am laughing with friends. I want to collaborate with as many people as possible. I’ve been the “new kid” at school over 15 schools, which has made me an expert at chit-chat and meeting new people. There is nothing that I like more than conversations over good beer. I speak up in meetings, with a relatively loud voice. The best part of my job is that I spend time with over 100 people aged 11-18 everyday. But I am still an introvert. I need to recharge on a regular basis. My long commute home is actually a gift, because I can be alone in a crowd to process my day. I often need to be myself. It takes a lot of my energy to be with people and I often have to go into hibernation if I have I have spent a lot of time surrounded by lots of other people. Rauch justifies my habits.
This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.
You would think that blogging would be perfect for someone like me. I have ideas. I’m passionate about my job. Naturally, writing is a comfortable medium for me to express myself. And blogging lets me share my thoughts with the world, without having to talk to anyone**. Ideal, right?
I am here to tell you that blogging is actually not easy for introverts***. This new world is called “social networking” — two words that make me want to up my caffeine intake. Extroverts have taken over the internet. Extroverts by their very nature, appear to be more natural at sharing thoughts and feelings with the world. Introverts, like me, worry about adding the cacophony of the internet. Blogging can be uncomfortable for me, but not because I lack confidence or ideas. Blogging can be difficult, because “we [introverts] tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking.”**** I am constantly thinking about what I am going to write before ever logging on to write a post. It can be draining at times. When I finish writing a post, I just feel relief that I’m done. I don’t feel energized when I hit “publish”. I appreciate the reflective nature of blogs and I know I am going love having a portfolio that shows my growth and progress as a teacher. But I’m usually exhausted when I’m done. And though it might be nice, I can’t just sit down and write a quick entry about what I think or feel. My consciousness doesn’t stream that way.
At my school, we are moving towards blogging with our students. Many people reading this may also have their students blogging. So while perhaps its unwise to generalize based on my own experience, here is my plea on behalf of my brethren…Please be kind to the introverts in your class when you ask them to blog. The introverts may be hidden. Remember being shy is not the same as being an introvert. Don’t be surprised if your class-clown has to go home and recharge. They may resist sharing on the internet, not because they lack something to say or they aren’t creative, but this isn’t the medium that naturally fits them. That doesn’t mean that blogging doesn’t have value for introverts (or shy students, or ESL students, or gifted students, etc.). I think student blogging can extend student learning beyond my classroom. I love that by blogging, my students have an opportunity to connect with a global and authentic audience. One of my wonderful students writes stories and self-published them on his blog, which is absolutely amazing. But for some students it may it make take them a while to find what inspires them to add to millions of words being added to the internet each day*****. So be forgiving as they figure out how to bring their special introvert-selves to the world.
Now I’m going to take a nap.
———————-*According to Meyers-Brigg test I’m actually a Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving (INFP). According to wikipedia, other notable INFPs may include Princess Diana, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Audrey Hepburn, Richard Gere, Albert Schweitzer. ** I also think its false to say that blogging is solitary. I want my blog to lead to conversations and discussions. I “talk” all the time to people via blog comments. Also, if it weren’t for COETAIL, I would still be blogging, but not once a week. ** I’m guessing blogging is difficult for extroverts for other reasons. But I only know what I know. **** I did mention that Rauch’s article is satirical, right? No offense is meant to any extroverts out there. ***** I also think it’s difficult for kids with the mixed messages we send them…be yourself online, but don’t put you name online. Just write anything that comes to you, but remember that anything that you put there will will be there forever. They must be confused.