Try and think back to the first time you taught a group of pupils. When you were left to look after your students all by yourself. Are you the type of person who expected the management to come to your classroom door, give you a knowing look, and send you packing? Perhaps that feeling of dread still haunts you. When your boss asks to see you after the school day…you are racked with worry, wondering if they’ve found something out that means you’re going to be sacked.
Well, here’s the good news. You’re suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’. A concept that each one of us will feel that we’re imposters in the world we inhabit. Studies have found that everyone from the president of the USA through to office workers feel that you’ve ‘lucked it’ into your job – or that you’re going to be found out soon. We say to ourselves that it must be a fluke that we’re in this job or situation.
It’s something we all have and all feel.
Some people in power know that many people feel like this, and play on worries by asking to ‘speak to you later’, when all they wanted to tell you was good news, or a slight change to plans, which actually were nothing to worry about at all. Even after repeated positive experiences, we still feel the dread that next time could be different.
Well, here’s the good news…it’s normal to feel like this. Even better news is that your boss I’d likely to get these feelings too.
The concept was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne Imes who characterised that the syndrome is a feeling that other people have an inflated idea of your abilities, a fear that your true abilities will be found out and a tendency to attribute successes to external factors, such as luck. Having confidence in your own abilities, actions and history are key, but repressing the strong feelings is difficult.
Evidence suggests that imposter syndrome correlates with success and that those people who don’t suffer are more likely to be the frauds in their roles. If you suffer from this, the chances are that you are a great educator.
Not convinced? Click here to download a PDF test that will score how much you suffer from this syndrome (let us know your score below in the comments section), but remember, upbringing, personality, and culture are the main reasons behind imposter syndrome. Be proud of what you have achieved, and remember to quietly celebrate your achievement.
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