“Only women get impostor syndrome.” A good friend and colleague said this to me recently. Apparently it’s a lesson her older sister taught her and it is one she has learned very well. Me? I didn’t have an older sister to teach me and it’s definitely something with which I struggle. (I’m not convinced it’s completely true, but I do think impostor syndrome is a far bigger issue for women than for men.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea as I’ve been on administrative leave, worried I might never be able to return to teaching. I’ve questioned who I am if I am not teaching. In addition, there has been so much shame in facing this accusation. The idea that anyone, even someone who doesn’t really know me, could think I am capable of harming a child is very hard to hear. Telling others why I haven’t been at work has filled me with shame.
I have not seen my students in more than six weeks. If I get to return to them, will they still see me as their teacher? I never dreamed I’d have impostor syndrome about a job I’ve done for more than twenty years. But this experience has definitely made me wonder if I am capable of doing my job and doing it well.
(written at the beginning of February)