Date of Award

Spring 3-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Tamerin A. Tooker

Second Advisor

Donald B. Scott

Third Advisor

George Sziraki


Purpose. The purpose of this descriptive mixed-method study was to explore and describe the coping skills used by secondary teachers who identified as experiencing the impostor phenomenon (IP) by the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale (CIPS) (Clance, 1985) to overcome the nine behavioral characteristics of IP during the transition to distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Methodology. This descriptive mixed-methods research design used both quantitative and qualitative techniques to identify teachers with IP and explore the coping techniques they used during distance learning. First, a quantitative 20-question diagnostic survey, the CIPS, was used to identify teachers with IP. In the qualitative phase, teachers with moderate to intense IP participated in a 12-question semi-structured interview to provide in-depth descriptive data. The qualitative data was analyzed to uncover themes in the coping strategies used during remote instruction. Findings. The findings from this research indicate that nearly 80% of secondary educators experienced moderate to frequent impostor feelings during the pandemic. Analysis of the semi-structured interviews revealed from 1-4 coping strategies for each of the characteristics. A total of 20 major themes emerged, along with five unexpected findings. Themes included (a) accepting imperfection, (b) seeking feedback, (c) engaging support networks, (d) practicing resilience and growth mindsets, (e) identifying core values, and (f) focusing on process over product. Conclusions. It is concluded that IP is a natural outcome of intense change, requiring both emotional and professional support. The researcher concluded that teachers can cope by normalizing IP experiences through peer networking and feedback, cultivating value-based mindsets that promote constructive thought patterns, being strategic when approaching long-term change, and most importantly, give themselves permission to take action, even if it is imperfect. Recommendations for Action. The researcher recommends that individuals and organizations prioritize mental health as a core value during times of change. Teachers should be taught strategies to take action and seek feedback to minimize IP intensification. Organizations should create opportunities for teachers to collaborate and seek feedback in low-risk settings, provide IP-informed induction programs for new staff, and approach change initiatives strategically to avoid triggering impostor feelings.