Friday, November 16, 2007

"Winging It"

On occasion I mention in this blog that I feel like a fraud, that one of these days someone is going to figure out that I cram for teaching and that I "wing it" most of the time. Surprisingly (or not, you decide), there is an article about this in the Chronicle for Higher Education that reveals nearly 70% of people feel this way. Rate your Students has also published some posts on the topic. I guess in my feeling this way - I am not alone. In fact this psychological disorder has name, it is called Impostor Syndrome.

Why do academics and professors seem to suffer from this syndrome so commonly? Maybe it is because we are expected to know so much, and if the amount of information that we are expected to know is endless... how can we not feel like a fraud? I have to remind myself constantly that it is impossible to know everything, and that it is for this reason that people have specialized areas of research. And yes, it is Ok to freshen up on material every once in a while. In fact, it is probably admirable to do so—our brains are not static objects, but dynamic that grow, change, retain and forget information on a daily basis.

1 comment:

SB said...

Most of us forget that although *we* think we know very little, and we may even be right on some absolute scale, the "little" we know is often tons more than most people know. We also know how to find and organize information because of our training, which gives us an advantage. And over time, most people find that their best classes come from material about which they know less, because they are better in a position to sort out the central points when they are not plagued by awareness of all of the exceptions to the things they are saying....