Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Imposter syndrome is a real thing! But it is time for you to kick that train of thought to the curb because it isn’t doing you any favours. The good news is, you are in the right place!
I was my own worst enemy when it came to celebrating the successes in my teaching career. I had returned to Australia after living my best life teaching overseas. After applying for job after job, I finally heard back from a very fancy private school to be totally blown away when they offered me a teaching contract. It all seemed too good to be true. I spent most of that year feeling like they picked the wrong teacher… How did I end up at such a great school amongst these amazing educators? My principal believed in me a lot more than I did in myself, so much so, he nominated me for a World Teachers Recognition Award. I couldn’t believe it and had that sick feeling in my stomach that they would soon find out I was a complete fraud. Talk about suffering from imposter syndrome and not validating my dedication and love for my profession. Thankfully, with the support of others and by applying some simple strategies, I was able to work through those feelings. Read on to learn how.
Alisha From RSC
What is imposter syndrome?
Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you are doing?
You aren’t qualified enough or good enough for the job you are doing?
You don’t have enough experience to deal with your job?
Soon enough, the people you are working with are going to discover you aren’t doing an excellent job and it is all going to be over?
-THIS IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME.
Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you have only got to where you are because of luck, not your talents, qualifications, or dedication to your practice.
Is it just something that New Grad teachers suffer from?
According to Time magazine, 70% of people experience imposter syndrome in their lifetime, and it isn’t just reserved for teachers.
Everyone, no matter what industry they are in, can have feelings of not being good enough or out of their depth – even the most experienced of teachers may feel this way from time to time, especially if something new is being introduced at school.
How can I beat my Imposter syndrome?
First and foremost, know that you do deserve everything you have worked hard for.
You may be in the situation where you have less teaching experience than others on your staff, you might be the youngest teacher on staff, or you might not be a parent yourself yet and have only worked closely with kids in the school setting BUT know that you are enough!
Everyone brings unique qualities, ideas, experiences and energy to the table, and you are a vital part of that!
If you are feeling a little (or a lot) like an imposter, try these strategies to help:
Share your feelings
Find someone you trust to talk to about your feelings. Other teachers can be a good barometer for us when we can’t see situations clearly because we are caught up in them. Also, by sharing how you are feeling, you might learn that you are not the only one on the lonely island of imposter syndrome.
Find a mentor
This goes hand-in-hand with our first suggestion. A mentor is someone who has been there before and can offer you some guidance and words of wisdom. Sometimes the mentor we have been assigned at work isn’t the right match for us. If you are in that situation, go outside your school and find someone you find who is approachable and inspiring to help you.
Know it is ok to fail
We are always saying to our students that they need to have a ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘Mistakes help us learn’ – we need to give ourselves the same grace. Remember every mistake made is a step towards becoming a better teacher. And, even the most experienced teacher will make mistakes. We are all human, after all!
Keep a Folder of Positivity
It is so easy to focus on what we feel we aren’t doing well, and all our amazing-ness can get swept under the carpet. Setup and add to a little folder or box of positivity. Inside, store love letters from your students, thank you cards you receive from parents or print out emails that colleagues send you that say you are doing a good job. Every time those feelings of insecurity creep in, go and have a read through some of these notes as a reminder that you are amazing, worthy, and doing a great job.
Perfection is a unicorn
We have shared this in a handful of blog posts before, but we want to say it again – Perfection does not exist. No teacher has it all together, no teacher does everything perfectly, and no teacher is loving teacher life 100% of the time (we promise!!!). So don’t strive for something that is not possible.
Don’t downplay the successes you experience. It is so important to celebrate those big and small wins with colleagues, friends, a mentor, or family. Even try celebrating with yourself by treating yourself to something you love when you achieve success (we love to do this once reports are handed in each year!).
Use Positive Affirmations to combat ugly thoughts
Challenge negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Focusing on the positive will help your brain to recognise and acknowledge when good things happen. A little mantra, positive affirmation cards, a reminder on your phone wallpaper or your classroom computer are great ways to start implementing positive affirmations daily.
At the end of the day, it is normal to have feelings of imposter syndrome. The key is to acknowledge them but not let them take over.
New grad teacher, you are doing an amazing job and for those teachers reading this who have been around a while - you may also need to hear that, ‘You are making a difference’. Keep working hard and let those positive thoughts flow... you have got this!
Are you looking for a community of other teachers just like you? A place where we share and celebrate wins, help each other through the tricky times and share teaching tips, tricks and hacks? Come over and join our Facebook group for new teachers.
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