How Do Teachers Feel about Their Quiet Students?
Susan Cain

I’m an introvert myself, as well as a teacher. I’m also the father of three children who are, oldest to youngest, introverted, ambiverted, and extroverted.

When I read the comments Munro made about quiet students, I feel infuriated, both as a father and as a teacher. I was the quiet kid in school. I loved writing. I love people as well, but I felt most comfortable by myself or with those I was closest to.

As a teacher, I have several quiet kids. They’re usually the ones I don’t have to worry about when it comes to behavior. They’re not disrupting my class, and for that, I’m grateful. But I also understand their complexity. They’re always thinking. They usually have a lot to say; they just prefer to do it in writing. I love writing, so I tend to connect with these students well.

I had a student last year who was so quiet, I was floored anytime I heard her speak aloud. She wanted to be a writer. She was great at it, and I tried to encourage her any opportunity I had to read something she’d written. Quiet students need teachers who understand their complexity. They dream of big things; they need teachers to help them make their dreams a reality.

My daughter is an introvert. She’s also very shy. This is a difficult combination for any introvert. I’m grateful that she’s had teachers so far that have helped her to find her voice and use it. She loves writing, and although she becomes afraid easily, I want to encourage her to chase after what she wants.

My hope is that more teachers will begin to understand that not all students are alike. Introverts and extroverts need to be understood, and teaching approaches need to be tailored to those students’ unique personalities.