I felt like such a fraud


Let me explain.

I felt like a fraud when I was a teacher because I never felt “teachery” enough.  I was an English teacher who didn’t read the classics.   I was an English teacher who didn’t know how to teach grammar in any meaningful way.

Then I found my footing. I found what worked for my skill set and who I was teaching.

I found a way through experimenting and through time.

I still never felt like I was a very good teacher though.  Not in the classical sense of the word.  I was a good space holder, listener, empathizer, person-seer, relationship builder, but a classical teacher, not so much.

I was never the teacher put in charge of a course where the kids would actually face a state test.  I was never the teacher who was put in charge of a group of advanced placement kids.

I was the teacher who got the kids who didn’t have anywhere else to go.  

But to be fair, I was also the teacher who got to teach some of the fun classes like creative writing and public speaking.

But again, I was never the teacher who was seen as the teacher who could whip a group of kids into shape to get them to take a test or to be ready for any kind of high stake endeavor.

And I often felt like a fraud.

Like I wasn’t living up to what others thought a teacher should be or look like.

Have you ever felt that way?

That there is a disconnect between who you see yourself to be and the job that you think is required of you?

For a long time, I held this fraud feeling close to my heart and tried to get better at the things I knew I was “supposed” to be doing better. 

But guess what?

It never worked and it took a toll on my health and well-being.

Constantly comparing my classroom progress to other teachers.

Constantly pushing myself to do more.  To get my students to do more.

The further I pushed and tried to do what others did, I missed out on who was right in front of me.

My students. My classroom. 

The potential of my gifts and talents merging with their interests and abilities.

When I let go of feeling like a fraud (or at least pushed it to the side a little bit), I realized that when I was a better ME, that made me a better teacher.

So how can you focus on becoming a better YOU right now?  The end of our school year is rapidly approaching and what I don’t want for any of you to get to the end of the school year simply white knuckling it to the break.

When you focus on what makes you a better YOU, you will become a better teacher.

Close your classroom door. 

Stop trying to match everyone else’s outsides with your insides.

Just like on social media, we see the curated side of the story.

Sometimes that’s all we’re seeing when we see the outside version of other people’s classrooms.

I guarantee that once you realize that you have gifts, strengths, and talents that no one else can bring to the table, you will feel better.

And, here’s one more word of advice for this time of year.  Some kids have checked out.  Try not to take it personally.  Try to teach to the kids who are there, smiling and looking at you, and waiting for you to fully be the teacher they desperately need right now.

Sure we can’t let kids just slip through the cracks, but there are kids that are in your room who want to learn.  Find them, connect with them.  

You aren’t a fraud.  The world needs you and teachers like you.

Remember the greatest predictor of a school’s success is the health and well-being of its teachers.

You are not a fraud.

We need you. Just as you are.

not sure how to start?

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