By Danielle Putinja

 

Outgoing and energetic. Those are two keywords you’re likely to find in our job postings. They’re also two words that can make introverts shy away from opportunities. As an introvert, I felt a bit nervous about applying to become a tutor. In the right situations, introverts can be as outgoing and energetic as any extrovert, especially when we’re doing something we are passionate about. I’m a big supporter of equality in education. I’m also a former struggling student whose life was changed by tutoring and caring teachers. I was ready to jump at the opportunity to help disadvantaged children in the same way, but would my introverted nature allow me to succeed?

The answer was yes.

Most people, including introverts, think that being introverted means we lack social skills or the ability to be leaders. That’s not true. The main difference between extroverts and introverts is introverts need alone time to recharge. We also excel at different skills than extroverts do. Many of those skills are perfect for tutoring young people. Here are some of the ways being an introvert has helped my tutoring.

 

Introverts are great listeners

Listening is the most important part of communicating. Introverts are great active listeners, taking in the words people are saying rather than just waiting for our turn to speak. My listening skills help me understand each student’s needs and what they struggle with in their lessons. Listening to the pupils’ needs and concerns is key to giving them the best tuition possible.

 

Introverts are reflective and know how to empathise

We’re great at putting ourselves into other’s shoes and reflecting on similar situations. Before my first tutoring assignment, I thought back to how I felt as a pupil struggling in school. I was frustrated, lacked confidence and thought I wasn’t smart enough. Most of the challenges I faced stemmed from other factors, like my learning style, rather than my academic ability. Reflecting on my own struggles helps me be intuitive to student needs. If a pupil finds a learning objective challenging, I think of another way to explain it or plan the next lesson to be more suited to their learning style. I know when to push them and when to ease up if they get frustrated. I let them know everyone learns differently and that I will tailor my teaching to help them succeed.

 

Introverts are motivated by meaning

We are driven by meaningful work. Tutoring is the most rewarding job I have had. There is nothing better than helping a pupil grasp a concept they struggled with or watching a reluctant reader’s confidence grow each week. The fulfillment I get out of helping children succeed in education keeps me motivated to deliver great tuition and grow as much as I can as a tutor.

If you had asked me a year ago whether I thought I could be a tutor, I would have replied “No way! I’m too introverted!” I never would have thought an introvert has skills perfect for tuition. If there are any introverts interested in becoming a tutor but hesitant to apply, I encourage you to do so. You have a lot to offer pupils and Tutor Trust!