Popular culture portrays introversion as something just short of the the loner goth kid who hangs around with his earbuds blasting Eisenfunk while he shoots dirty looks at people and carves lopsided inverted pentagrams on his Invader Zim notebook, when really it is just a slightly less company-centric view of the world. Real introversion is a more internal focus, a contentedness with being alone, and a need to recharge after social interaction. EDUtopia's Elena Aguilar wrote a piece called "The Power of Introverts: An Essential Understanding for Teachers" where she discusses the need for educators to understand the intro/extroversional needs of their students, as well as those same needs in themselves.
"my introversion simply wasn't compatible with teaching 70 kids each day. Teaching always exhausted me -- by the end of each day, I felt like I'd been run over by a truck, and by Friday evening, I'd crawl into bed at 7:30 and be unable to form a sentence for at least 18 hours. That was what I wanted to do, but ... I couldn't. "
I have desperately wanted to be more outgoing and much less reserved for most of my life. Since conversation with strangers or those that I don't know well doesn't flow naturally from me, I've studied how to carry on social interactions. I've watched videos on social engineering. I've read articles and books that teach body language and communication skills to people with autism and social blindness. Still, while I have a genuine interest in others, I am hesitant to ask questions of them or draw them out. I don't want anyone to feel that I am prying where I have no business. I either talk only about me and leave openings for others to jump in and share their own experiences or I don't say anything at all. Since I am so self-conscious about talking too much, I tend to err on the side of caution and not speak unless spoken to. As you can imagine, that doesn't help me promote myself as a sub, advertise my services as a tutor, or befriend the local soccer moms.
Now, not all schools' cultures promote educators closing ranks against one another. Many teachers understand that we are all in this together for the good of the students. I have worked with some excellent SpEd educators at my local high school that give nothing but respect to me when I am in their room and who, frankly, deserve more respect than they get from others. But when it is enough of a problem that the NEA publishes an article that basically says, "Be nice to everyone, don't expect to make friends for a few years, and look outside of school for friendships", I feel that there is a genuine issue. This kind of environment does more than scare away new teachers. It makes working conditions uncomfortable for anyone who doesn't thrive in an extroverted environment, thus depriving children of the wide range of experiences, teaching styles, and coping mechanisms that would be absolutely invaluable for any one of them who doesn't yet have a firm grasp of society and their own reactions to it. In the current environment, unless you have a school that is far and away more mature and has a much more evolved social hierarchy than any I have ever been to, I really don't see introversion being a valued trait in a teacher. And with all of the good that can come from it, that's a crying shame.