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Teacher and Educational Journalist

Emily

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Thanks so much for your thoughtful, and poignant, comments. Your step-daughter is so lucky to have you. And clearly you can learn from each other. As an introverted kid, I'm glad I also learned from my extroverted dad how to more easily connect with people. I am a better teacher for establishing that balance. And it's great that you're also learning to integrate some of your step-daughter and your husband's introverted qualities.

I do think that the failure of our society to value introversion reflects some deeper spiritual malaise. I don't mean that in a religious sense, but I think you know what I mean.

Perhaps we're beginning to redress the imbalance. I sure hope so.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts here.

My best,

Mark

parent of 1 high schooler and former elementary teacher

What Extroverts are Missing...

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Thanks, Mark, for your discussion on this issue. Similar to Rich, my step-daughter has also suffered many losses in her young life—her older sister, then her mother. But, even through these trials, her faith in the Lord has kept her strong and full of grace. Her father and I are so proud of the young woman she is becoming.
Because of all of the things she has experienced, our daughter is mature above her years. Her peaceful spirit and positive outlook on life are lessons that would be so helpful to her peers and other people…if they would only take the time to listen and observe. Like Rich, she is also an introvert. In an extrovert-driven society, she gets lost in the loudness. My heart breaks because of this. Just the other evening, we were talking about the dynamics in her peer circle. She referred to another young lady as a “leader”. However, the qualities in this girl’s life do not define what a good leader should be. My husband and I explained to her that just because she has a loud voice, talks a lot, and is the “queen bee”, does not make her a leader. We always encourage her that she (our daughter) can be a leader—a quiet leader. Introverted people offer so much to our loud culture—a sense of peace, unique wisdom, and a thoughtful perspective.
I, myself, am an extrovert. But, after observing and listening to my husband and daughter (both introverts), I have been challenged to model some of their attributes—the art of listening, the beauty of silence, and the joy of reflection. I have so much to learn from them! They enjoy my craziness and outgoing personality, but I think I treasure their uniqueness even more.
In summary, I wish our world would be still…be quiet…and listen to the introverts. We would be better because of it.

parent of 1 high schooler and former elementary teacher

Again, thank you, Mark, for

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Again, thank you, Mark, for addressing this issue. Thank you for reaching out to the students that are introverts. As a mother, I say "thank you!"

I taught in school here in

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I taught in school here in the Philippines for only three years. I am glad I did. I meet a lot of families with different struggles from financial, family relationship problems to being a single parent. I attended many professional development workshops and some trainings. One of our administrators encouraged us teachers to find time to visit our students at home to know them better. I enjoyed doing it. Until I moved to other 2 schools. I learned a lot in doing so. I realized that in a group of students, each is unique and has different interest and potentials which the teachers must dig to know and help individual develop the skills and become a person he is destined to be which helped me develop more my passion in teaching. Lately, when I met them or the parents somewhere else, I was surprised to hear them say ' Thank you' you did something great to my child. I dont want to brag myself but I am glad that as early as that, I already see the need of the students not only teaching them in school but also reaching their inner selves. Its a different level of happiness felt in the heart.

"Be more aware" has no meaning.

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The problem discussed here is real, but the solution offered is no solution at all. "Be more aware" isn't a set of actions; it's a call to change one's state of being--and if we're not going to ask students to do it (rightly) then we should be cautious about telling teachers to do it. It seems to suggest that the teachers should develop magical telepathic powers.

What we should actually do is examine the problems of introverted students, some of whom will have troubled home lives and some of whom will be healthy kids who prefer a quieter demeanor, and then we should supply our teachers with specific actions that they can perform. And if we can't think of any, then we shouldn't be shocked that these students' teachers can't either.

Teacher and Educational Journalist

Thanks Kelley

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I enjoyed your comments and, of course, also appreciate what you're doing.

Just back from two weeks on the trails in Zion, Bryce and other Southwest marvels, I plan to write one of my next ones about kids, schools, and the wilderness.

Teacher/Lecturer/Citizen www.manadoob.com

I love this article...

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so much rich soil here! The introverted person has already tapped into that fertile intuitive place that for others can be so hard to reach.
I have used the idea of 'a letter to self' at the beginning of each year to encourage students to consider their time ahead. They write, seal & read at the end of the year, providing an opportunity for a private look at the world in which they live & participate.
Anonymous letters to teachers by students throughout the year in the guise of writing exercises shed light, give a voice.
One of the most valuable opportunities a teacher gave me was teaching me to journal giving my introverted voice a destination & an organization allowing greater understanding of myself and a vital tool for the release of home and social frustrations. Writing can be such a gift, such a release particularly in the journal state w/o boundaries or rules.
Different environments for learning - the desk-less classroom can be supportive of this - an idea suggested by The Orion School in Atlanta. A fresh face & configuration for small groups, teams of 2 & individual work.
Likewise, different learning methods. Right & wrong is not always the key. Asking thoughtful questions that explore personal opinion, experience & response where there is no right and wrong, levels the playing field - all students have equal access.
I love that in another blog today Larry Ferlazzo (7 Tips Building Positive Relationships for ELL) suggests taking a walk around campus w students as an opportunity to 'check in'. I can't speak enough about the power of Nature & going outside the classroom to free up exchange and make discoveries.
Every student has gifts. We have the opportunity & the pleasure of discovering new ways to discover Them.

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