A few months ago I was connected with an editor from The Quiet Revolution, a platform that accompanies Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. As a self-proclaimed extrovert, I wasn't immediately hooked because I wondered what it would have to offer me. After all, shouldn't this apply to me if I'm going to embrace reading it?
It turns out, no. Everyone should read it because a full 50% of our world is introverted and how are we going to live and work together if we don't understand the needs of others? Cain's book explores how much we misunderstand and undervalues the traits and capabilities of people who are introverted. She then created Quiet Revolution as a means to reach out to parents and has since created the Quiet Schools Network.
The first thing I did, upon speaking to Heidi Kasevich, the director of Quiet Education, was take several online assessments to determine whether I truly am an extrovert. You can take the Quiet Revolution Personality Test here.
It's a short 10-question test and the one question that made me guffaw (because I know myself very well) asked me to rate this statement: when I was a child, people described me as "quiet".
Because hahahahahahaa. No way. I was frequently involved heavily in running my mouth. It's written all over my report cards. I was the opposite of Quiet. I ran with large groups of friends constantly and was terribly bossy as a child and any trouble I got in at school usually started because I couldn't shut up.
Yet, here's the funny part: I was a kid lost in thought a great deal of the time. My mother used to tell me that I was like a house with all the lights on and no one was home because I'd stare into space. So, while I was loud and boisterous and tomboyish, I was also reflective and pensive even and had my nose in a book at every opportunity.
This is not me, but how I often looked when staring into space as a child.
Another test I took online took about 25 minutes and some of the questions that needed to be rated surprised me in how I answered them because they seemed diametrically opposed and it felt like my answers were all over the place:
I prefer keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself. (NO. I WILL TELL YOU.)
I need downtime to decompress. (YES. EVERY DAY.)
My life is an 'open book'. (YES. I AM A BLOGGER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.)
I offer my time, skills, and knowledge freely to other people. (YES, BECAUSE MOUTHY.)
I scored a 59 on a Need for Space subscale and my personality type is a Chameleon. Here's the descriptor:
Chameleons can adapt to almost any social situation, whether they're among a throng of partygoers or in reflective solitude. Known to be fairly friendly and gregarious people, Chameleons aren't hard to like or connect with; they're good conversationalists, good listeners, and great company. Although they're more than happy to join a boisterous get-together, they do enjoy some quiet time on their own as well. They're approachable and relatively unreserved individuals whose presence is neither obtrusive nor inconspicuous.
So, while I score high on being an extrovert, I have lots of introvert tendencies. For example, after working with students and staff each day I come home and say a short hello-how-was-your-day to my father and then immediately escape to my room where I require a full 20 minutes of silence. My phone is off and I may lie down and close my eyes or meditate or play a mindless game, but I can't talk to anyone because it's how I decompress from the day.
Occasionally, my husband and I chat on the phone while he's driving for a short bit until he says, "Ok, I'm ready for my quiet time," which I completely understand and allow him to have since I've already had mine. It's one way in which we are very alike so there are no hard feelings about him saying he doesn't feel like talking.
Usually because I'm thinking, "Dude. Fine. I need to go have some Think Time anyway."
What I've really learned from talking to Heidi is that I'm most likely an ambivert, someone right in between. I can be on stage and in front of a crowd surrounded by people, but I need that quiet think time where I read and ponder and work out in my head what I've taken in throughout the day.
That's when I decided to apply for the Quiet Summer Institute. Next month, I will attend two days of workshops where I will learn more about and get a deeper awareness of my personality style as well as learning how to identify and recognize those introverted, quiet students in order to enhance what I know about being an educator. Many teachers and administrators will learn how to bring more balance to the classroom environment and will be leading the charge to ensure that we're not marginalizing students. Any way that I can better understand how to harness the power of students in the classroom and provide professional development to teachers about this mindset shift is where I want to be.
photo courtesy of Quiet Ambassador
I'm excited to become a Quiet Ambassador through this year-long process, but I wouldn't be going if it weren't for the generosity of friends who helped me get there. After this training is complete, I will commit to mentoring colleagues and facilitating conversations within schools as well as writing for and providing resources for future Quiet Ambassadors. It's going to be an exciting year and I can't wait to share because I know this will be an enormous life-changing institute after having read Susan's book.
When I shared on Facebook how I would like to attend and that I needed help with possible grant funding, my friends shut me down almost immediately and asked how they could help. I insisted that I could work for it and write a grant, but time is of the essence and enrollment to the Institute is limited.
This is where I tell you that I have the best friends in the world.
Even if I could, I don't think I could adequately thank them for supporting me and encouraging me to do this. They know how passionate I am about marginalized groups, no matter what they are. They know that I'm working towards powerful things right now in this season of my life. And they know that I'll report back (that was part of the deal I made and I'm honored to do so) and share all my learnings on every platform which I am lucky enough to have.
I must thank the following friends who have become benefactors to me on this journey and who chipped in within one hour to attend this training as well as the transportation to NYC this summer: