Loyalty is up there with the most important of all qualities that I look for in friends, families and partners. I believe myself to be fiercely loyal and I do take some pride in that. I thought for a few hours about what angle to take with this post. Loyalty to work, family, beliefs, friends etc., and then I read the chapter on imposter syndrome in Kat Howard’s book Stop Talking About Wellbeing. So right now, I’m going to talk about being loyal to myself.
The first time I can recall uttering a statement that suggested imposter syndrome was in my NQT year. I made a comment to the Learning Mentor, who I’m incidentally very good friends with, that I was having these ‘weird out of body experiences where I sort of see myself with my class and think, ‘woah, I’m a teacher, I’m in charge right now and I have 30 children depending on me for a year of their education’. It was simply a passing remark as I went to fetch the class from the yard after break, but it’s always stuck with me. Teaching has been on my radar since I was around 14/15, when I discovered that teaching English as a foreign language was a thing and it meant I could travel and teach, and wouldn’t that just be fabulous? It wasn’t until a decade later that I actually booked a place on a TEFL course and a flight to Thailand that I pursued this dream. It was, hands down, the best thing I ever did. Since then, teaching just seems to have happened and I sometimes feel like I’m winging it.
I hadn’t heard of imposter syndrome until about a year ago, but it’s been niggling away at me since then. I’ve always been modest about my achievements, I don’t like a fuss and I often don’t share my achievements with people, unless they’re significant. Not even my family. That makes me a bit sad, but also I feel like it’s relatively normal behaviour in the British style of not blowing one’s own trumpet.
I have doubted myself for years, I’ve just done it in the background – the imposter that lurks backstage as Kat puts it. When I qualified as a teacher, when I had my first NQT class, when I was asked as an NQT to lead English the following year, whenever I’m asked by SLT to train or work with another member of staff to support them, when I was asked to be a SCITT mentor and most recently, when I went for a job interview at an outstanding school. Needless to say, I was able to perform in all of the above roles and this is where my loyalty comes in.
I would tell anyone that they were very capable of doing any job a senior leader had asked them to. I’ve been the person who’s sat with a colleague and explained to them all the reasons why they’re fabulous. I’ve had the phrase ‘take your own advice’ uttered to me on more than one occasion. I am now deciding to be loyal to myself.
I believe I have been a good teacher, I believe I have been a good English lead (and art lead, after volunteering at a curriculum Twilight!) I believe I have been a good SCITT mentor, I believe I have worked hard to get to where I am and I deserve to feel successful, I believe I deserved to get the job at my new school and I believe that I will continue to flourish there.
I’m loyal to my family, my friends, my partner, my colleagues and my school. However, it’s taken me a couple of years to realise that what I really needed to work on, was my loyalty to myself.
We can choose to see this as a tremendous opportunity. This is a moment to be heroic. To think about others. To serve. To prepare. To keep calm. To reassure. To protect. This is a time to reevaluate our priorities. To ask ourselves what’s important and what we’re working towards.The Daily Stoic – https://dailystoic.com/now-is-the-time-for-heroes-2/