Monday, January 11, 2010

Imposter syndrome of the classroom

My first day of teaching ever, I remember having the distinct feeling that the students were going to see right through me. They will hear me speaking in generalities and vagueries, and know that I don't know my subject matter well. I will insult their intelligence and they will blow me off immediately. Moreover what I demand of them will be entirely disproportionate to what I can give. I was also intimidated because one of my students was the son of a local Bigshot who was a professional at what I was teaching...

Well, I made it through that. The students learned a lot in that class. Of course as time passed, I grew far more confident.

Today I started teaching an upper level very rigorous course. I am a sabbatical replacement and the usual instructor has a very elaborate and in-depth course. The course has s reputation as being tough and good. I looked at my class roster and knew almost all of the students in it: our brightest! As I was preparing for class, I had that imposter feeling again. They're going to roll their eyes, becuase in comparison I am going to be less organized and less knowledgeable, and they're going to see right through me.

After starting a class dicussion, it became very clear to me that my imaginary case was not close to reality. They will learn a LOT from me. They don't know it all already. They weren't rolling their eyes.

Maybe that imposter feeling is over for good. Hope so.

No comments:

Post a Comment