When Advocacy Fights Denial in the Schoolyard
By Guest Writer Karla Holland
Before I begin, I must disclaim: I’m not a teacher, and I’ve never taken part in the education system. My experience comes from being a student myself once and what developments I’ve witnessed take place in middle and high schools since that time. Taking cues from Quiet author Susan Cain and TIA editor Charita Cadenhead’s article on introverted teachers, I agree that extroverted educators today are more informed about introversion among their students than teachers in the past, still have a lot to learn regarding introversion as something to be “fixed”. As likely as it would seem though, extroverts are not the biggest threat to an introverted child’s academic development nowadays. Now that would be the last person one would expect.
The Hidden Threat Among The Well-Meaning
There are three challenges introverted students must contend with: extroverted teachers limited by their experience and perspective. The second involves the older teacher who cares for the children yet is reluctantly catching up with the latest developments in learning. They mean well in guiding student’s academic achievement, even if they have human limitations, but neither is as harmful as the third challenge: an introverted educator in denial. Unfortunately despite a growing population of introversion advocates, an equal number exists among introverts who’ve tragically succumbed to the old social attitudes regarding introversion and stubbornly stand by it.
The Opposition Within
Autism Advocacies don’t have autistics who claim to have “overcome” their disorder, so why do are their introverts who claim to have “overcome” introversion? These individuals were the product of an older era—forced to suppress rather than embrace their introversion. Having been convinced they fixed something broken, they become the staunchest opponents to introversion advocacy. When these types of introverts are educators, their introverted students suffer the most. While the extrovert can only understand the introvert on an empathetic level, the suppressed introvert understands the student’s strength on a closer, sympathetic level, yet makes them betray their natural talents in effort for mimicking their extrovert peers. Often they’ll behave more strictly about it than their extrovert colleagues, which could potentially tread into grade-impacting bullying. Such hostile treatment by the one most likely relate during one of the most critical stages in life is the ultimate betrayal that can have lasting effects academically and emotionally. Introversion-supportive educators should look out for these people within the school system, and deal with them immediately. Like left handed teachers who suppressed left-handed students, they don’t belong in this century.
Karla Holland is a Charlotte-based Illustrator pursuing a BFA in Graphic and Web design. She’s earned a first BA in Communication and Media Studies and has used this degree to explore the nature human communication, and its applications. Karla has managed to apply her education to gain employment as a Guest Relations Assistant for Charlotte’s major events venues and serving as editor on a film short for the online biodiversity magazine Izilwane.org, which helped earned the film a spot in the Taos Shortz Festival in Taos, New Mexico.
After her brief stint in media production, Karla decided to return to her childhood passion for sequential art, attending workshops to marry her artistic talent with her communication education. In her spare time, Karla contributes daily to her own insight about the world of comics, new media and anything that intrigues her interest on her blog The Gorgon Transplant at The Gorgon Transplant. An avid user of social media, her accounts can be found at About Karla Holland.