The Introverted English Teacher: 5 Coping Strategies | Teaching ESL

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The introverted English teacher

Are you an introvert and want to pick up a few tips for getting through the day without feeling like you want to die. Then, you’re certainly in the right place.

Keep on reading for more details about teaching as an introvert and how to do it in style.

My Name is Jackie. I’m an Introvert

The moral of this story is that although I like being around people and can often be found out and about on the town, large groups of them make me really tired.

My biggest nightmare is a large group of people where I don’t know anybody-I can make friends and do the small talk thing, but it’ll leave me pretty exhausted. Like I’ll probably have to go home after and rest for at least a day after that.

One of my friends thinks about it in terms of energy credits. She says that each person has a certain amount of energy and some people (energy-vampires) or situations (loud parties) suck up large amounts while other times and with other people, it’s neutral or very little.

Perhaps you’re an introverted English teacher. What can you do to not feel like you’re slowly going insane? First of all, I recommend saying this to yourself a lot, “Serenity Now!” Beyond that, keep reading for some less fabulous advice than this.

Tips for Introverted ESL Teachers

Here are my top tips for getting through your teaching day without feeling (too) exhausted.

#1: Relax

You probably can’t be one of those super high-energy teachers like some of your colleagues. Don’t feel pressure to be this person.

Students don’t always need that and many of them appreciate a chilled-out, relaxed class. You know, the one where they can breathe, think, quiet their mind. The introverts in your class will certainly appreciate it at the very least.

Learning doesn’t always need to be fun. Some things like difficult grammar concepts or new vocabulary require some serious concentration and focus. Help your students do these things in your classes.

How to Survive as an Introverted Teacher

#2: Design your class well

Include plenty of pair and group time so you don’t have to be “on-stage” all the time. Limit the lecture time where there’s pressure to be funny and entertaining.

Out of a 90 minute class, I’ll always be up at the front talking for 10 minutes or less. Most days, it’s more like 5. And after all, we all know that student-centered teaching is best! Students should be doing most of the talking, not you.

Another tip is to make use of listening and reading passages. Not just because it’s better for you as an introvert, but also because doing these things can be quite useful for our students too.

Need help with activities that don’t involve you being the center of attention?

39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults

Can I Get This Book in Audio Format? 

That’s an excellent question and I’m happy that you asked! Yes, you can most certainly get this book as an audiobook. It’s easier than ever to get some ideas and inspiration for your English classes when you’re exercising, doing housework or cooking, or when on the go.

The even better news is that you can get the book for free on Audible. When you sign up, your first book is free, so why not make it this awesome one, right? You can find out more about this ESL free awesome here:

—>39 ESL Speaking Activities for Teens and Adults on Amazon<—

#3: Think carefully about overtime opportunities

Which OT opportunities will suck the life out of you and leave you with nothing and which will be a neutral? Classes of 10 or more? Sure, especially if it’s something like test-prep and not conversation. I’ll take it.

1-1 or 1-2? No way, especially if it involves anything related to “free-talking.” This involves me having to interact too much and will leave me exhausted. Talking with someone for an hour who doesn’t really speak English that well makes me tired like nothing else does.

Maybe it’s okay for you? What I’m basically saying is to know yourself. Say yes to the things you like and no to the things you don’t.

Sure, I like money just like everyone else, but I don’t want it to leave me feeling super exhausted at the end of the day.

The introverted English Teacher

#4: Boundaries: get some if You’re an Introverted English Teacher

And make them strong. Limit your office hours and if you’re in your office outside the office times, lock the door and don’t answer it.

If things like “counselling” exhaust you, make it clear that you’ll help students with English related stuff, but not life kind of stuff. This is okay and you’re not a terrible person.

Also try to avoid those frantic students who come knocking on any door with an English name on it because they need some help with their homework. If they’re not your student, then just say no. Their problem is not your problem. They should have planned ahead, done their work far earlier and gotten help from their teacher if necessary.

More about Teaching as an Introvert

Check out this short video below:

#5: Life outside of work: schedule in alone time

As an introvert, I often limit social activities during the week, especially if I have a lot of teaching hours.

For example, I know that I will hate my life if I teach 7 hours in a single day and then go straight to a dinner with lots of people that I don’t know. I’ll be much happier having dinner at home and reading a book.

I focus most of my friend energy for the weekend when I don’t teach. Or, for the vacation times when I organize hikes, camping trips and other things like that with friends.

Introverted English teachers: what’s your top tip to get through the week?

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Are you an introverted English teacher? What are your coping strategies?

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other introverted teachers, like yourself find this useful resource guide.


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