I sat down to write this post and I really did not feel inspired. I didn’t feel like I had anything riveting to share, and I wasn’t in the mood to write. Here’s why: First, I like many people, sometimes fall into the metaphorical pit of self-pity where I envelop myself in histrionic feelings of inadequacy. Sounds like a real party, am I right? Second because I felt like this post was doomed to failure I did not feel motivated to write it. With all this fun stuff rolling around in my head I opened up my computer to get down to business. It’s not surprising that I found plenty of things on the Internet that were more interesting (a cinnamon roll recipe, various crochet patterns, facebook posts, emails, my bank account, literally anything else). Eventually I wrangled my brain and summoned some self-control. I then pulled up a blank Word document to get to work. Oh the joy of a blank Word document! So new, so full of opportunity, so saturated with feelings of dread, and doom, and panic.
Alright, the good news is that all this eventually lead me to be inspired to write about a few topics and their impact on learning. “Imposter Syndrome”, motivation, and “grit”. This week a look into “Imposter Syndrome” and learning. In one sentence, “Imposter Syndrome” is the condition of feeling like you’ll be found out for being an actual idiot, and for not being good enough at your job, in your home, as a parent, as a spouse, at school etc…Much of the research on this phenomenon has been done on adults but I would argue that the beginning symptoms of it are percolating in our youth as well. The idea that everybody else has it all figured out is both comforting and horrifying. It’s nice to believe that there is an end point, where you’ll eventually know how to do everything you’ve ever wanted to be able to do. It’s horrifying to feel like everybody but you, has already done it. I saw my students experiencing this when we learned something new, as their eyes darted from person to person hoping to see some signs of confusion that mirrored theirs. I heard my students say, “But I just can’t do it, I’m not smart enough.” Some suggest that “Imposter Syndrome” is only evident in high achieving people but in my experience I’ve seen all types of students experience some form of it.
What can you do to help someone through the effects of “Imposter Syndrome”? Be vulnerable. Show them you’re flawed too and that you don’t have it all figured out either. And then, talk about what you do know (because you know a lot) and use your skills to support the child through their process. Show them that thier best can be good enough, and when a little boost is needed help is just an ask away. Remind them that learning is a never-ending process no matter who you are. Success cannot be achieved without the help of others. Teamwork is everything.
The joy of learning. Together.
If you want to read more about helping your child when they experience “Imposter Syndrome”, check out this quick read: “How to Help Your Kid Through Bouts of Imposter Syndrome”.