Introverts in the Classroom

Sometimes when I go to log onto a school laptop it won’t let me because it’s “running low on resources.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but apparently it has something to do with having several accounts partly open at the same time, so it’s necessary to restart before logging on, so that the other accounts fully close.

I often find myself in the position of that computer (and as I say that, I feel like I’ve just made a sunday school style analogy, and am not sure how I feel about it); I don’t focus very well on people or classes because I haven’t processed interactions with other people and classes, and am “running low on resources.” So far as I can tell this is, at the same time, both a character flaw and a dispositional attribute. That doesn’t seem right, though, because if it’s a character flaw I have an obligation to change it, and if it’s dispositional I might not be able to change it — and how can one have an obligation to change something one is unable to change? Actually, having grown up Christian, I suspect that we can, or else what’s the meaning of having a Law nobody has ever kept? But not to wax too theological — if it were a character flaw the proper response would be to somehow reallocate the resources; perhaps to close the previous accounts more quickly. If it’s dispositional, the solution would be to not get myself in that situation if I can avoid it. Having tried for the former response this past year, I’m not sure that it’s possible — and at the same time I keep “getting myself into that situation” — keep being part of a school system that demands it nearly every day — and I’m not sure what to say to that.

There are some very good introverted teachers — the ones I’ve known seem to do a couple of things I haven’t managed yet:

  1. They stay in the same place for five or ten or thirty years
  2. They find a niche there, something they do well which others appreciate, and cultivate that
  3. They interact differently with individuals, small groups, and large groups
    • With large groups they often write out what they’re going to say in advance and won’t answer questions until after they’ve said it, so as not to lose their train of thought (not being interrupted is essential in this case).
    • They often have a few small-ish groups that they’ve known for some time who can interact with more independence and equality ( e.g. independent study classes or materials intensive art forms)
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