Today during lunch, I was thinking about why I don’t join the other teachers in the staff cafeteria.
When I was in my teaching program, our professors warned us away from hanging out in the teachers’ lounge or in the staff cafeteria. They explained that a lot of negative complaining goes on in those places and that we should avoid that sort of talk.
While the ideal young me completely agreed with that assessment, that’s not why I still steer clear.
I’m an introvert. It has taken many years to figure that out. As a child, I was called shy by adults and “stuck up” by my peers. I’ve always been slow to warm up to new people, quiet when in large groups with very outspoken people, and only keep a few close friends. Over the years, I’ve discovered that rather than being something that I should try to overcome, it’s a part of my personality that I should embrace and nurture.
Lunch time at work is my ONE time of the day to recharge after having to be “on” all day for students. As an introvert, I can’t afford to spend any of my social energy with colleagues, even though it would be a different sort of interaction. During lunch, it’s like feeling a weight lifting off of my shoulders…I can finally relax for a moment before having to be “on” again.
So, I’ll continue to skip on staff lunches and even many of the after school gatherings and reserve my social energy for meeting up with a handful of people after I’ve had time to recharge.