The phrase “fake it ’til you make it” has been popping up in my head a lot lately. I am teaching my first college level course as a professor. Not that I haven’t taught before, but this feels different. No one is watching me, no one is checking that I am teaching the material well, or even the right material. The class of about 50 students is all mine, to teach whatever I want to, for 3 hours a week. Even though the material is fairly basic, and the course materials mostly recycled from a previous iteration of the course, and even though I have a PhD, I still feel like I have no business being at the front of that class. So I’m just faking it, and I think it’s going well enough.
The funny thing is, I realized recently that no matter how much you “fake it” you never really “make it.” At least, not in the sense of losing that feeling of faking your way through something. A more senior colleague who is a full professor in my department confided that this semester she is teaching a new graduate level course, and it’s difficult and stressful for her. In an academia, full professor is pretty much as high as you can go. She has definitely “made it” career wise. So if she’s still faking confidence in teaching, then apparently this phase may never end. At least I know I’m not alone!