On introversion and the one-shot

This post from Profhacker has been sitting in my brain all day.  In part it has been sitting because I spent a couple of hours answering chat reference questions followed immediately by a couple of hours of teaching which meant that I couldn’t do any more than leave it in my brain to poke at me during down times

It’s taken me a few years to fully reconcile myself to the fact that for about 30 minutes directly following a class, I am so wired up that I am really unable to do much of anything. I can’t effectively write, grade, or even respond to email.

I too am wired after teaching, and whether it’s an hour of teaching or four hours in a row, I find that the wired-ness of it all is quickly followed by a crash-period.

One day a week, I teach two sections of a class that meets weekly.  Some of my co-workers don’t understand why I am willing to add another few sections of one-shot sessions on those days.  Why not spread it out?  The reason is simple – as long as I’m still teaching, the adrenalin will see me through but I’m going to crash when I’m done regardless.  I’d just rather deal with it once, instead of every day for a week.

Which I have always assumed is due in part to my introversion.  I love the interacting with people in the classroom, but it does wear me out.  Which got me thinking – a LOT of librarians are introverts.  A lot of librarians who teach and who love it and who are good at it are introverts.  But unlike most people who teach, we have very little control over our schedules.  Yes, a few of us get to teach credit courses but an awful lot of teaching that we do is of the one-shot variety.  We teach when the classes are and I know from talking to a lot of instruction librarians that many of us are motivated enough to get the chance to interact with students that we would rarely say “no, the timing of that session just won’t work for me.”

My personal hell – teach at 9 am and then not again until mid-afternoon or later.  Two totally different amp-up and crashes.

So the Profhacker post is part of a larger body of advice – about tailoring your schedule (or schedules) and being mindful of your energy levels and your needs when you do so. How can we do that in library instruction?  How can we be intentional as a program or department of library teachers and work together to do this?  I don’t know if there are answers, but it’s something to think about as we (if we) move away from traditional liaison models and start collaborating and cooperating within our institutions to maximize what we can do as librarian teachers.

4 thoughts on “On introversion and the one-shot

  1. Not surprisingly I feel the same way, and for me it’s not just teaching, but meetings too. I’d rather have a few busy days and a few with totally uninterrupted time. The days with one or two things spaced out often end up being worthless for anything else.

    btw, there should be individual videos to link to soon :)

  2. Great post, thanks for this … I’m an extrovert, and I don’t have the wired/ crash thing, but I totally agree that there’s nothing worse than a several-hours gap between classes … for me, it less about energy ups & downs and more about the HUGE mental difference between teaching and other work. It’s a major struggle for me to switch focus from teaching/ learning mode (where it’s all about the other people in the room) to the internal work of collection development or statistics or whatever else it is I’m supposed to be doing when I’m not teaching.

  3. If I were a religious person, I would say “Amen.” My personal hell is teaching a class until 9:30 pm when I have to get up at 5 am…it takes me forever to unwind and get to sleep. I have made a new and what should not have been surprising discovery. Immersion experiences over several days are VERY bad for introverts like me (e.g., teaching in faculty institutes, attending teaching immersion, etc.). I just get more and more withdrawn as the days go on and my batteries deplete without enough down time.

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