Friday, April 26, 2019

Imposter syndrome and professional identity #lilac19

Pam McKinney continuing live blogging from the final day of the LILAC conference. The second session I am attending is led by Hannah Hickman who spoke about feeling like an imposter as a new professional librarian. It was a personal and engaging reflection which many members of the audience (including me!) identified with.  Insecurity and uncertainty in employment can contribute to imposter syndrome. The culture of “performativity” where people are judged on their performances (e.g. through the REF and TEF) also contributes to this. Performativity makes us prioritise activities that can be measured, that contribute, rather than perusing activities because we think they matter, or because they are enjoyable.

Feelings of fear in teaching can be cast as “stage fright” which is an almost universal fear. However the power dynamics between audience and actor are different from those between teacher and student. It can be helpful to acknowledge ones own weakneses with students, and acknowledge the challenges we all face in (for example) referencing correctly, and time management. Hannah recommended the New Librarians Professional Network as a resource for new professionals and highlighted the value of being mentored.

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