Of Note: Looking Out for the Quiet Ones
Why Introverted Teachers are Burning Out by Michael Godsey
The Atlantic, January 25, 2016
Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet, along with others, have helped to shine a light on the many ways that introverted people are undervalued and unsupported in the workplace and in school environments. In educational circles, teachers have mostly focused on quiet students and ways to support introverted children and discover their many talents. In this helpful and incisive article in The Atlantic, Michael Godsey summarizes research and several books that speak to the many ways that the educational reforms of the last two decades create work environments for introverted teachers that lead to burnout and high levels of attrition. The push for teachers to collaborate in professional learning networks and to create cooperative learning opportunities in the classroom are examples of reforms that may lead to better functioning schools while leaving little time and space for other important teaching practices, such as quiet, reflective self-assessment, individual scholarly research, and thoughtful solitary planning. Thoughtful schools try not to force students into a single mode of learning; likewise, teachers in those schools should have choices regarding their professional growth. They need some degree of flexibility to teach with their own strengths and styles. School leaders will find this article an important reminder of the need to build flexibility and inclusivity into their definitions of excellence in teaching.