As defined by Wikipedia:
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
I have suffered from this “syndrome” unfortunately in several ways throughout my professional life. There was a time that I didn’t feel worthy to give any teaching advice because “I didn’t have enough years.” When I was asked for my input early in my teaching career for professional development, or to have a student teacher, to lead a cadre of teachers to be in charge of new teacher orientation training, or to take on a leadership role I thought that someone would find me out and send me to the corner.
Professional writers deal with this all the time. I cannot count the interviews with authors, even famous ones like Neil Gaiman, who don’t feel like “real” authors. Writers who have books on the New York Times Bestseller list even.
I am writing my professional manuscript about teaching writing for #CAMPNANOWRIMO this month. Last week over spring break it occurred to me and I tweeted:
As adults, we struggle with imposter syndrome. As teachers of writing, we struggle with imposter syndrome. How many colleagues say, “Well, I am not really a writer?” The TWO WRITING TEACHERS host the March Challenge for Slice of Life to help teachers feel like writers with the support of the blog and the other teachers who comment.
As we move forward we need to remember to support our student writers. The impact of one strong piece of academic feedback and encouragement we give to students can literally make or break a writer. In fifth grade, a teacher praised my descriptive writing. I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN THE COMMENT and think about it as I write in my journal, a blog post, a letter to a friend, or my book.
Sometimes we have to get out of our own way.
If we write, students see us as writers.
If you wrote blog posts (1-31) in March, you are a writer.
If you write on Tuesdays for Slice of Life, you are a writer.
If you write in a journal, you are a writer.
If you write short stories, you are a writer.
If you only write as models and WE DO’s with students, you are a writer.
YOU ARE A WRITER.
Own it, and pass it on.