Why do I have to choose between the things that I love? Teaching, traveling, connecting, exploring, and researching. I don't feel like I fall on the typical teaching track. I dream of expanding beyond the borders of Duluth, of Minnesota, to other countries. I dream of observing other education systems, teaching in a different language, and meeting students worldwide.
The education field is rich and vast. There are many age levels, specialties, communities, demographics, languages, and platforms to work with. Teachers can work in a classroom, in the woods, in a van, in the city, in a small town, and in every space in between. So why can't I find my path? Why can't I seek out positions that don't make me choose?
That's right folks! The school year is officially less than one month away. Usually, this time of summer signals me to start preparing for my next field experience and a semester of classes. However, this year is a little different because I am student teaching!
I always feel nervous before the start of a new school year. Another year of college as an education major means putting up barriers to self-doubt, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, and establishing a new schedule. "Am I good enough?" begins to creep back into my head.
I've always found the first day in the field to be the scariest. Honestly, field experience can be kind of lonely too. I step into the classroom --representing myself as a future teacher and guest-- with vulnerability, humility, and anxiety. Each field experience taught me much about teaching, pedagogy, and the education system. Throughout the last three years, I have become an active observer of my growth, resilience, failures, mistakes, and accomplishments.
So before student teaching begins, I would like to share some of my main takeaways from the past three years of volunteering in the early childhood education field.
Meghan Hesterman (she/her) is a child advocate and education blogger. While a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), she created Journal of a Future Teacher to share her journey in becoming an early childhood teacher.