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This post was originally uploaded to Journal of a Future Teacher's Instagram page on November 5th, 2022. I thought it deserved a spot on the blog feed as well.
The past few weeks, I’ve been posting the best moments of my time abroad, including excursions and weekend explorations. But that’s not the whole picture.
The edTPA deadline is approaching in the next couple of weeks. I am still scrambling to understand the requirements and expectations of this complex project. It is so hard to find motivation to work on something that is only a requirement for graduation and is unnecessarily complicated. I want to focus on my students, colleagues, and experience here, but I am constantly pulled back to the toxic stress of the edTPA and domestic student teaching experience.
As you see these pictures of me smiling and visiting incredible destinations, I still feel unmotivated, anxious, stressed, and tired. Student teaching is not always positive, even while abroad. It is hard work, and often it feels like there is little reward for all we do — in and out of the classroom. Physical sickness, mental fog, and emotional ups and downs are “part of the job,” and we do not get the support we deserve.
Just as I’m starting to get the hang of my schedule, I am thrown into another loop with Saturday classes. It is infuriating to repeat the same assignments over and over, especially when I wrote research papers on the subjects. This is part of my authentic experience. Yes, I do have the privilege of working abroad and traveling. And yes, I still feel anxious, burnt out, and frustrated other days.
A shoutout to other student teachers: I see you and I hear you. Your experience and feelings are valid. You are not alone.
Thank you for reading and listening.
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.