If you are an introvert and you went to school, you know that our education system is not designed around you. Indeed, much of the world is not designed for you.
The world is for extroverts, and the first time you learn this is your first day of junior high school, when the guidance counselor tells your class there will be “fun” after-school activities throughout the year.
You can’t think of anything less fun.
In fact, if you could design the perfect school, it would look like this:
Cubicles in the lunchroom
The lunchroom would have the usual choose-your-own-adventure (or lunch mates) for extroverts, but it would also have cubicles for people like you.
Because, for an introvert, there is nothing worse than that moment when you leave the lunch line, your tray in hand, and realize no one is going to tell you where to sit.
You’ll just have to pick the least crazy table and hope the people there will give you some personal space.
You also hope no one will think you’re weird for not talking. After a full morning of answering questions in class and working on group projects (the horror), you just need 20 minutes to yourself.
In the introvert’s lunchroom cubicle, you could eat alone, in silence, without curious onlookers hoping someday you’ll come out of your shell. You like your shell, thank you very much, and in order to go back out into the world (or, classroom), you need your quiet time there.
Lockers big enough to fit inside
At the introverts’ school, every locker would actually be a portal to your own, private den of sorts. Hallways too rowdy and crowded? Step inside your locker and read a few paragraphs of your favorite book until the rush is over.
Need to reflect on a comment someone made or a grade you just received? Step inside your locker for some personal reflection.
Also, all the talking and socializing that school necessarily requires is tiring for an introvert. It literally takes everything out of you. Step inside your you-sized locker for a quick nap to recharge your socializing battery.
One-man seats on the bus
Bus rides are a nightmare for most introverts. You’re surrounded by all those extroverts who seem even more energized (what?) by their full day of socializing and being at school. You? You need some time to reflect and process, and sitting on a bus is the perfect place to do it. If you could just get some peace and quiet.
Not coincidentally, introverts’ favorite seat on the bus is the random single-person one near the front.
If introverts designed school busses, they’d make half the bus with single-person seats, all of them with a window so that you can stare at the passing scenery and think about your day.
A posted schedule for answering questions
As an Introvert, you live in fear of the next time the teacher will call on you to speak in class.
You can hardly learn because of all the brow-wiping you do wondering if the teacher will call on you next. What if you aren’t ready to talk? What if you’re having a quiet day?
At a school designed by introverts, teachers would have a published schedule for calling on students. No one would be called on without 24-hours advance notice.
Less team sports, more tennis, track and yoga
Physical education introduces many hurdles (pun intended) into an introvert’s life. First, there is the locker room. Need I say more? Then there is the whole picking-teams thing.
Introverts like to participate. They really do! But they don’t need to be vocal about it. You won’t find them jumping up and down after someone picks them for a team.
Therefore, they don’t get picked often.
No field trips, or the ability to opt out
Field trips are like the high dive for introverts. At least during a normal school day there is some structure. You go to one class and then another. There is a schedule. The teacher probably (hopefully?) even tells you where to sit in class.
And then comes the field trip, which must be an extrovert’s Disneyland.
Not only do field trips usually involve long bus rides (see above), but the extroverts of the world seem to go into hyperdrive over them.
It’s like someone fed them too much sugar. They are literally giddy over the idea of an unstructured, semi-spontaneous school day.
There is very little personal space (no locker, no desk), and even lunch involves finding a park bench and listening to the overly excited extroverts again.
At an introvert’s school, there would be no field trips or the ability to opt out of them.
At the very least, if they’re going to make you go on a field trip, there going to have to give you some nap time in your locker afterward.