It may surprise some folks to know that I am not an extrovert. NW AM I exactly an introvert. I am what Daniel Pink now labels an ambivert. I am somewhere in between. Put me in front of a room of people who want to know about books and try to shut me up. It. Won't. Happen. But, put me at a party where I do not know anyone in the room, and you will find me in a corner (reading most likely).So, from the outset, I have a problem with the author of this piece (who admits to being an extrovert) assert that she will keep forcing the introverts to participate in class. Way to be empathetic (wait, you cannot be empathetic because you are not an introvert). However, to then top that all off with making this be for a grade and not particularly caring what parents (or kids) think about this. Well, this is just downright wrong. Now I know that class discussion is a good way to get to kids' responses to reading (though I do notice this author is the one asking all the questions in class discussion and that not all of them are what I would call open ended discussion questions), but can we not make it safer and easier for the introvert? Can they not participate in small groups (maybe with some other introverts?) or post responses to Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo and other social outlets. The author also equates being an introvert with having social anxiety. I do not think the two are identical. There are plenty of us introverts and ambiverts online and present.
And, of course, I am probably reading too much into the article, but here are a couple of things that gave me pause:
" As a teacher, it is my job to teach grammar, vocabulary, and literature, but I must also teach my students how to succeed in the world we live in -- a world where most people won't stop talking."
" A student who is unwilling to stand up for herself and tell me that she does not understand the difference between an adverb and a verb is also less likely to stand up for herself if she is being harassed or pressured in other areas of her life. "
If the author does indeed live in a world where people do not stop talking, that is a shame. I spent most of today in relative silence, reading a YA novel. Not even the TV was talking to me, and the phone remained silent as well. The idea that introverts cannot succeed in the world is just plain wrong. I think I have done just fine, thank you very much. So have the others who tweeted about being introverts as well (and some of the names might surprise you as well since they include presenters of inservice, authors, other teachers and librarians). Additionally, it seems to me that there is more concern about correct answers, correct grammatical usage and other elements of the English curriculum than on the literature. But far be it from me to suggest maybe this is part of the problem. Remember, I am an introvert.