Let’s talk about the elephant in the room?

Have you ever heard of the Impostor Syndrome? Well, according to the site “Medical News Today”, “research from 2011 suggests that approximately 70% of people will experience at least one episode of Impostor Syndrome in their lives. It may be especially prevalent among women considered to be high-achievers”. The site Scientific American claims that people who suffer from this silent affliction have a “pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary”.


People from all walks of life have already stated they suffer from this condition. Stars like Kate Winslet, Emma Watson, Lupita Nyong’o, Tina Fey and the incredible Maya Angelou have mentioned feelings of constant insecurity about their personal and professional accomplishments. The feeling is often times overwhelming and leads to a lot of frustration. I should know, since I have been suffering from this syndrome since I was 18, and what is worse: I had no idea this syndrome existed until very recently.


As I reflected on my accomplishments in 2018, and set my personal goals for 2019, it was absolutely difficult to take credit for the successes I had, even though I have worked so hard for it. I am now taking part on a project which conducts interviews with acclaimed teachers and book authors in ELT, and for each accomplishment I had, my mind would go paranoid, thinking: “oh God, when I finally carry out the interview, they will discover I am a fraud”.


It is a daily inner struggle to overcome this affliction, and it gets worse because, to some people, you come across as being overly modest or an annoying bragger. And since not everyone is familiar with this syndrome, it’s hard to show empathy, something which is absolutely necessary in these cases.


However, something which certainly made my life easier this year were my friends and my peers in ELT. Surely, they don’t make the affliction go away, but they might help you put your thoughts in order and change from the ultimate paranoia to the “perhaps-I-might-be-really-doing-a-good-job” kind of thought.


So for those fellow teachers out there, if this text speaks to you, know this: you are not alone. We believe in you, and so should you! Empower yourself and embrace all the positive impact you have in your community and on those around you. After all, the more we are, the stronger we become, and every ring on this amazing chain matters.


Finally, I would like to thank my ELT friends who made my 2018 a lot better and less burdensome. It is because of you all that I keep on doing my job, and it is you who help me steer my path in the right direction. THANK YOU!

39-year-old teacher at Cultura Inglesa with experience in working with Young learners, teenagers and adults. A CELTA and ICELT holder, with a passion for Continuous Professional Development. I have presented in important Conferences such as BrazTesol and IATEFL and I am a true believer of education as a means to making the world a better place.

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