Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Imposter Syndrome - Newbie Teaching

Having another moment of "jeez I'm awesome." Why? Am talking with a friend of mine who is a newbie teacher in her first term. She is freaking out, stressed and feeling like an imposter. We've all been there. Right? I know I have. Still feel like that a lot. But tonight I have my mentoring potae on.

Ever heard of Imposter Syndrome? Go on - Google it. I'll wait right here.

Weird aye.

So the strange thing is it happens to a lot of us. We don't feel 'enough' for some reason. And don't feel capable of doing x 'properly' or as well as someone who actually 'knows what they're doing'.

When it comes down to it, isn't it better feeling a little self-conscious or a little nervous that you could have done it differently - than being arrogant and thinking that you know everything?

This is part of my conversation with my friend:

"Just knowing that you are making a difference. One mate said to me when I asked her the same thing - she said "We know you're probably going to mess up at some point and that's okay. You're still learning." While it was kind of shocking she'd said that it kind of made me accept it better."

"Get some feedback from students and ask them what else they need to cover before the exams. Just keep going. Ask those stupid questions and dont be scared of sounding dumb. Just do it. Coz if your support people dont know you need help then how are they meant to help? :)"

"Keep those expectations humming. And be yourself. When they start to see you for you then their attempts at trying to break you will stop."

"You'll be ok. Just think - "there's got to be an easier way to do this" and there usually is. Just find the path of least resistance."

And that's as truthful as I can be.

At the end of my day at school, if I know in some way I have made a difference even to one student then my whole day is worth it. For example, the one past student who showed me her debating speech afterschool while I was in the reading room working on relief. She has matured into this brilliant and coherent Y11 student and is now showing her thoughts, with pride in her heart - it oozes from her, the way she talks, walks and smiles. So good to see this change in her. She showed me, accepted my bits and pieces of feedback stoicly and then when I said how proud of her I was (because I truly am) there was this obvious glow about her. She smiled. Lifted herself and her shoulders even higher. Said thanks Miss and walked off to finish her speech.

If you have somehow made an effort with one student - and the probability is that on a daily basis you encounter and deal with more than 100 students daily - then you're making a difference. Hopefully a good one too :)

There will always be those times when you need to learn more. Why not learn from your students? They are often the experts in the room. Share the power. Don't be a hog. Learn from your students, let them be the teacher and see what it's like - to empart knowledge and thoughts.

Be inspiring. Be yourself and above all else. Keep doing what you're doing.

Because the matter of the fact is that if you weren't asking these questions about your teaching practice - then I'd be worried. Being a reflective practitioner is what it is all about. Think and rethink in how to do things differently and how your practice affects your students. It's healthy.

You can only do what you can do. In five years time you will look back at this and be able to help someone else through the journey.

Nga mihi nui ki a koe e hoa ma.

Ka haere tonu ki te taumata me te whetu. :)