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Why are quieter children so undervalued?

(83 Posts)
googlenut Fri 13-Jul-12 23:05:16

I've got three children, some extrovert and some introvert. And each year some teacher will bring up the more introverted ones quietness as if it was a fault. It really irritates me, anyone else?

Roses12s Fri 13-Jul-12 23:11:10

I agree my DD report says she needs to stand up for herself in a group like being über confident is the ideal.

Sparklingbrook Fri 13-Jul-12 23:11:12

Yes googlenut. DS1 was shy/quiet/reserved in First School. The teacher couldn't handle it at all. She liked the confident ones, and at parents' evening asked us what we were going to do about his lack of confidence/shyness.

If he cried she would send him to the office because she didn't know what to do with him. He cried a lot because she was horrible to him. sad

He's 13 now and still remembers how horrible it was in Miss X's class.

dontcallmehon Fri 13-Jul-12 23:15:27

Yes, this annoys me too. Dd's report said how wonderful she was, well behaved and able, but that she didn't raise her hand and share her knowledge and that she was shy.

Some children are shy! She is able, well behaved and kind and gentle. that is enough for me.

Devora Fri 13-Jul-12 23:18:10

Same here. Glowing school report about hard work, good behaviour, thoughtfulness, imagination etc, but repeated complaints about shyness. No recognition that there may be a connection...

It's not just children, though, is it? Introversion is undervalued throughout our lives.

dontcallmehon Fri 13-Jul-12 23:22:36

Yep. Am a fellow introvert, so I understand dd completely. Her report also said she had a large group of friends incidentally, so her naturally shy nature doesn't seem to prevent her from having friends (which I'm pleased about, as it did me when I was little).

I think it is a positive attribute to be clever but modest, caring and empathic without always needing to hog the limelight.

Sadly, we introverts get over looked a lot.

ByTheSea Fri 13-Jul-12 23:22:47

I love my DD1-13, but I am sitting here with a banging headache and she is just chatting and chatting and chatting. She honestly won't stop prattling on. I'd highly value a quieter child at the moment.

dontcallmehon Fri 13-Jul-12 23:24:47

See, dd1 will chat and chat at home. She is quieter at school and still an introvert, but more confident with those she loves/feels totally comfortable with. So we still get driven mad!

Devora Fri 13-Jul-12 23:28:27

Oh yes, here too. We can't shut her up at home. Her behaviour's not so great here either. When I asked her why she couldn't behave at home like she did at school she said, "Well, you're not going to send me to the headmaster, are you?"

At school they can't get a peep out of her and they have never, in two years, had to tell her off.

dontcallmehon Fri 13-Jul-12 23:32:46

dd1 is exactly the same. Stubborn, strong willed and always fighting with dd2. You'd never hear a peep out of her at school. She sounds so similar to your dd, Devora.

HumpheadWrasse Fri 13-Jul-12 23:38:46

It's preparation for the real world. Huge prejudice about the introverted in our society. I'd encourage your quieter DCs to be more outgoing even though it doesn't come naturally for them, because the reality is being an introverted adult in today's world can bring much misery.

dontcallmehon Fri 13-Jul-12 23:44:31

I think you can't. When I try to be extrovert it causes much internal anguish and feelings of embarrassment and self consciousness. dd is more extrovert than I am, which I regard as a good thing, but I wouldn't want to change who she is.

I think as long as you have enough confidence to make friends (she does) and to cope with daily life, then it's fine to still be a little introverted (which can, but doesn't always mean you are also shy). Shyness can be worked on, introversion can't. You are or you aren't. It causes internal conflict to fight against it.

However you can be a more confident introvert, if that makes sense.

I find some overly confident people overbearing and lacking in sensitivity.

flexybex Sat 14-Jul-12 00:16:36

I have several children in my class who would be classed as 'shy' or 'introverts' in the classroom. We are, however, very fortunate that we do Forest School in YR and KS1.

By taking the children to the woods, I feel privileged to get to know the academic 'shrinking violets' as they really are - regular feisty, bold, bouncy children!

googlenut Sat 14-Jul-12 05:47:28

I'm with you all on this. Dd got scores of outstanding for motivation. behaviour and enthusiasm for her academic subjects, yet her PE teachers says she is not competitive enough in team games and holds back because of 'shyness'. Why do they feel they can criticise so much. It drives me mad but also makes me think a lot of teachers are not very bright or motivated to look underneath (above poster excepted!)

jabed Sat 14-Jul-12 07:09:01

As an individual I can agree with all that has been said. I too am an introvert as is my DW. I think we both suffered from this being mentioned on our school reports as if it were a fault. I do not think it is.

My DS is also quiet (well you might expect it with us for parents) and it seemed to be an issue for his teachers at school too who I found out didn’t even know who he was and confused him with other children as a result. This is because the " look at me, me me" extroverts overshadow them. The cut and thrust of some classrooms is not a good place for quiet, well behaved children.

As a teacher I love teaching introverts. I am fortunate in that I have a good share of them in my classes. When I do have party animals in class it’s much harder for me to teach. It’s much harder for me to give attention to the introverts - and yes as a result I do not get to know them! So, I would say, the fault is not our DC's but the teachers (me included when I have party animals in class) when these criticisms are made.

However, I dont know about you, but in the real world, being an introvert started to have advantages once schoolie me days and the world of look at me was over. Of course in some jobs being an introvert is required but generally employers prefer quiet confident and responsible and reliable people (something most introverts can have in spadefuls).

crazygracieuk Sat 14-Jul-12 08:04:53

It's because so much teacher assessing is linked to talking so if you din't talk the teacher can't assess. By teacher assessment I mean guided reading, talking partners and a lot of group work that happens at school.

I was introverted and it annoyed me a lot that extroverts were allowed to get away with low level extrovert (impulsive?)behaviour like talking when the teacher was, calling out, talking over or trying to dominate group situations in general, especially when they tended not to have the best ideas in the first place.

Sadly I have noticed that extrovert adults get the best deals in life too.sad

Sparklingbrook Sat 14-Jul-12 09:02:37

That's the thing crazy all the gobby, loud kids seem to get on really well, and all the gobby, loud adults do too. sad

DS1 is never going to be an extrovert, it isn't his personality. But he is bright and funny, polite and caring. I hope in the future this will help him, but I admit it's a worry.

adeucalione Sat 14-Jul-12 09:04:58

But if the teacher didn't tell you that your DC were shy or introverted at school, how would you know, as they are chatty and bouncy at home?

Maybe the teachers think that you need to know, so that you can, if you want to, develop strategies to maximise their confidence?

I had no idea that DS was painfully shy at school until his teacher told me and I was glad she did - until then I had been very pleased that he didn't take after me and seemed much more confident. As a consequence I took steps to help him gain confidence in the classroom and whilst he will never be a party animal, I think he has improved a lot.

To me, shyness can be a hindrance in the same way that being wildly impulsive can be a hindrance - a natural character trait that can be improved upon with work.

Secondary English teacher here -I am probably at fault for doing this occasionally! It must be frustrating to hear as a parent - these are the reasons I might point it out:

1. Speaking and Listening counts for 20% of the mark at GCSE - working on shyness earlier is much easier than battling through it when you're being assessed!

2. I know so many wonderful quiet children with wonderful ideas, and I'd love the rest of the class to get the benefit of those ideas on occasion (rather than the ideas of the same few loud ones all the time!)

We're trying to help, honest! Interesting thread, though - I will definitely bear these stories in mind next Parents' Evening smile

TheFallenMadonna Sat 14-Jul-12 09:32:51

I'm an introvert. And a teacher. I always acknowledge that a naturally reticent child will find it difficult to share ideas, but I also point out the advantages of talking (where appropriate!). It's not personal criticism. It's advice.

I think it's going too far to suggest that quieter students have the best ideas though...

And definitely not true that "gobby" children always get on better. Unless you are thinking of something different to me with respect to the word gobby.

Sparklingbrook Sat 14-Jul-12 09:37:27

I think I have a particular teacher in mind Fallen, so my views are a bit tainted I'm afraid. She loved all the loud kids (of which DS2 was one) but she had no idea how to deal with DS1, he spent most of his last term in Year 4 in the office.

Mind you one of her comments to him was 'Don't bring your work to me unless it's right' so that was unhelpful to say the least.

My experience is that teachers prefer the 'not backward in coming forward' kids. DS2 is one and he is reaping the rewards.

dontcallmehon Sat 14-Jul-12 09:38:57

Shyness can be improved with work. Introversion cannot.

marriedinwhite Sat 14-Jul-12 09:42:01

My Dd is very quiet and reserved. She is also well liked, well behaved and very measured. She is becoming more confident in herself now she is getting bigger but she will never be the girl in the limelight - neither is she ever the butt of gossip or bitching because she thinks before she shares her thoughts.

Last year her class teacher sighed and churned out all her plus points then did an eyeroll over her quietness and how she would like to see her more confident and outgoing. My mother does it too and adds "you need to do something about that quietness".

Now I just reply "she is who she is and we love her for who she is and the important thing is her self esteem and that will not be supported if we tell her she should be different from who she is". She will be most successful if she is allowed to be herself.

Sparklingbrook Sat 14-Jul-12 09:42:29

Apparently I should have signed DS1 up to a Performing Arts club, and that would have sorted it all out. He wanted to do football though.

dontcallmehon Sat 14-Jul-12 09:44:22

I remember being bullied at school and my teacher asking me to talk to her about it. She asked me if I was upset about something. I replied in a meek little voice: 'yes, miss.' She asked me to talk to her frankly and openly, apparently I didn't have to call her 'miss,' I should just tell her what was on my mind. Again, meekly, I replied: 'yes Miss.' Frustrated by my shyness, she turned away and said: 'Oh, just forget it!' I was 10. I have never forgotten it.

I was painfully shy. I have worked on that and will do so with dd, although she is no where near as shy as I was and can be fairly confident actually. She is just quiet. However, this did not prevent me from succeeding in an interview to study English at Oxford, where I had to talk articulately and intelligently for an hour. Nor did it prevent me from gaining an A* in English, 20% of which was Speaking and Listening. Nor did it prevent me from achieving an A in A Level Theatre Studies, 40 % of which was based on performance.

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