What to do if you feel like an imposter in the classroom


Today, I’m talking about imposter syndrome.

It’s a common phenomenon that many teachers experience.

Not sure if you have it?

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

  • Wow… that artwork is amazing! I wish I had creative ideas like that.

  • How does she have time to do all that? I’m struggling to get the basics done.

  • I’m not really sure what I’m doing. But I should be able to do this alone.

  • Do I fit in?

  • My pupils don’t seem to be getting enough done each day. What am I doing wrong?

  • There’s so much to learn about this school… when will I ever know what’s going on?

  • I hate teaching PE. I just know my lessons are not good enough.

  • Why is my lesson being observed? Have I done something wrong? Am I not good enough?”

Fellow teachers, have you ever felt like this? I know I have.

Almost every time I visit a new school in fact.

Observing others who seem to have things sorted… they seem cool, calm and collected… (and of course, with amazing classroom management strategies!)

The truth is… they may feel inadequate too!

Thoughts like this are frequently symptoms of Imposter Syndrome.

A person with imposter syndrome feels like an impostor a lot of the time – in spite of clear evidence that you are not.  The feelings can be powerful and the person may be convinced that they are a fraud. It will affect what they think, feel and do.

And so I ask you…

  • Do you have the qualifications?

  • Have you experience teaching children?

  • Are your pupils learning?

  • Are they in a safe, focused environment where they play, learn and collaborate as best you all can?

  • Do you put effort into preparing nice lessons for your pupils?

  • Are you a reflective practitioner?

If you answered yes to the above… then YOU ARE NOT AN IMPOSTER… what you are thinking are imposter-type thoughts. Your thoughts are lying to you making you feel less that you are!

Below are three ways to get your thinking back on track.

Three things to do to overcome Imposter Syndrome as a teacher

Create a ‘Did It’ List

One of the best tools I use to help myself change the direction of my thoughts is to reference a few memories from my ‘Did It’ List.

My ‘Did It’ List are memories in which I made a difference or which I stepped outside of my comfort zone and ‘did it anyway’.

So… When an art lesson doesn’t go according to plan… I don’t doubt my abilities to teach Art or compare myself to the teacher next door – I recall a time when I did a GREAT art lesson. I did it. Life is full of little hiccups.

Imposter Syndrome is normal

Realising that Imposter Syndrome Feelings are very common – when you remind yourself that – though you can’t see it happen – others may be feeling the same way too.

Up to 70% of people experience imposter feelings. Being aware of the situations that you feel like an imposter, being aware of the thoughts when they occur and finding evidence to the contrary will help you get your thoughts back on track again.

Watch Your Language

When given compliments – do your swat them away? Or do you take time to believe them and thank the compliment-er?

Watching your internal self-talk – treating your mind and body with compliments and affirmations and positive self-beliefs can really help you.

Rest assured,  regardless of the days in the classroom when things are crazy, regardless of the piece of paper that has your exam results on it and regardless of your struggle to get a job…. you are GOOD ENOUGH!

If you want to learn more about Imposter Syndrome and discuss the effects it’s having on your happiness you can discuss it with me in your 1-1 Coaching Session.



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