Guest Post: Banishing the Imposter Syndrome!

Rachael Shaw is Headteacher at Branston Junior Academy in Lincolnshire and seems to suffering from a bout of self-doubt. She explains more and gives tips on how to over come it in Edukit Connect

Soooo…..I’m a nearly-50-year-old, and have spent 26 years as a teacher (primary age range), the last 10 as headteacher with a teaching commitment. I have a high role in my union, I have presented at conferences and taken part in various projects both in the UK and in other countries. I have completed my MEd and am currently studying for my PhD. I coach/mentor other headteachers and regularly write for small audiences.

A successful, confident person, one might assume – particularly if one were to observe me standing in an assembly acting like a complete idiot in front of the children…(as you do!)…and yet, when asked if I would write an article for ‘Schools Improvement,’ back rushed all the usual feelings of uncertainty. Am I good enough? What would I write about? Have I got anything worth saying? Would anyone read what I have written?Ah yes! My old friend ‘The Imposter Syndrome’ has come back to visit! Only this time I am stronger than before and am able to see it for what it is and not get sucked into the swirling depths of self-doubt……

Not so long ago, I admitted to a highly competent colleague that the whole time I have been a teacher, I’d get to the end of each academic year and my first inner-thought would be I can’t believe I have got away with it for another year! Someone still hasn’t faced me, jabbed me with their finger and said: “you are a fraud, an imposter…and really shouldn’t be here!!”My highly competent colleague laughed and said she didn’t realise that other people had exactly the same thoughts as she did!  

So what is it, this ‘Imposter Syndrome’?

Could it be that many other females also suffer from the ‘Imposter Syndrome’? Could this all-engulfing self-doubt be a reason why many females do not step-up to leadership roles in education? 

Read more about this mysterious ailment Banishing the Imposter Syndrome!

EduKit Connect is a free online directory connecting schools and educators to youth organisations and the interventions and support they provide. The directory is run by EduKit, a social enterprise that is committed to improving outcomes for students and young adults, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

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  1. Mr Mike Bell

    It’s not only women who suffer from ‘Imposter Syndrome’. As a male classroom teacher I became a teacher-governor at my school. I felt like an imposter most of the time at governors’ meetings.
    Some years previously I was elected to a senior committee in a political party. I certainly felt like an Imposter there.
    When my children were small I was the only father with his children at the Mother and Toddler group.On the first visit hardly anyone spoke to me – I definitely felt like an imposter.
    Perhaps Imposter Syndrome affects anyone from a minority group who joins a majority group?

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