The Journey of Interrogating the Impostor: Four Maestras Narrate the Process of (Re)Authoring a Collective Story of Latina Leadership




Grijalva, Yolanda

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This study was designed to center the voices of four Latina educators who are now in a professional space to bring light to their lived experiences, the challenges they face, and the feelings of being an impostor in the spaces they occupy despite their many accomplishments. In this study, I used a collective storytelling approach to illuminate the voices of three Latina educators and myself as we explored the intersectionality between identity and the impostor, who we are as opposed to who others think we should be, and how our lived experiences mediate the ways in which we construct our professional identities. The participants discussed the impact of experiences with deficit thinking, negative perceptions, stereotypes, and issues of race, language, and culture on the evolution of their roles as Latina educators of minoritized children. This approach led to new understandings about how marginalized communities build solidarity and respond to and resist dominant culture, laws, and policies that perpetuate inequality (Delgado Bernal et al., 2012). Storymaking, storytelling, and pláticas were the data collection methods I employed to encourage four Latina educators to share their lived experiences and the challenges they face as the following was identified: the nature of the impostor, disrupting the impostor, and transforming the impostor. The pláticas and the collective weaving of stories served as an example of how other current and future Latina educadoras can transform their own lived experiences to reclaim their own culture, language, identity, and values for themselves and their students. In this study, I used the Community Learning Exchange (CLE) theoretical framework as the antidote to interrogate and debilitate the impostor phenomenon. This work can also transform education from a deficit enterprise to the use of people’s wisdom and story as an asset in the process of education, liberation, and becoming. In this study, the participants and I engaged in pláticas, an expressive cultural form shaped by listening, inquiry, storytelling, and storymaking. As we engaged in this process as a way of life to celebrate the power of place and the power of people, we used story as an organic way to capture context, inquiry, and pedagogy (F. Guajardo et al., 2012). My approach to using plática as a data collection tool began with an invitation, followed by one 60-minute one-on-one plática with each participant. A predetermined set of questions was used as a guide for conversation to share experiences, thoughts, feelings, and action. All responses were audio recorded, transcribed, and used for data analysis.



impostor phenomenon, Latina educators


Grijalva, Y. (2023). The journey of interrogating the impostor: Four Maestras narrate the process of (re)authoring a collective story of Latina leadership (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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