Teri Hartman is committed to telling her story about a growing relationship with writing while completing her thesis in the Curriculum and Assessment MEd program (2017 cohort). Considering questions around the purpose of education and the nature of schooling are positioning Teri as a writing teacher as she prepares to return to the classroom as an English teacher after being seconded to the University of Lethbridge for the 2019-2020 academic year.
What contributes to your personal sense of wellness? I’ve learned over the years that compassion is the greatest indicator of wellness for me, and this includes empathy for not only others, but for myself.
Good sleep, the chance to play, and not taking myself too seriously are my preventative measures for good health. Writing has taught me the ultimate lesson in self-compassion.
How has writing benefited you as both a student and a teacher? Writing, as a sustained practice, has been beneficial in all aspects of my life because it has taught me a lot about awareness and of the impermanence of all things, including myself. I’ve learned that the values, knowledge, and truths that I hold as sacred today, will likely shift in the future. I have literally seen it happen in my own words. That time when I thought my graduate student-style crippling imposter syndrome was surely going to kill me, or the fear and anxiety of a classroom mistake that turned out to be nothing—when you feel this impermanence in your bones, it takes off a lot of pressure.
How will the adjustments you’ve had to make during this pandemic impact how you will teach and live in the future? The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the necessity of being able to “flow” in life.
It’s a foundation-shaking time, and such times have the unparalleled ability to sift our priorities and privileges.
For me, it has affirmed the magic of an in-person classroom, where students can build on each other’s knowledge in dialogue and fellowship, in a much more accessible way than in a remote-learning situation. However, it has also opened my eyes to the many more creative ways we can meet students’ needs.
Is there anything else you would like to say about the importance of Wellness as an MEd student? I am incredibly grateful for the cohort model that I’ve experienced during my MEd journey. I’m not sure I would have made it this far without them. We are still committed to supporting each other through realities that nobody wants to talk about. Imposter syndrome is a very real thing for graduate students. Writing helps. Writing puts you in an arena with your consciousness, and it's up to you to decide whether or not you make friends with your "self" in there. I am more likely to be productive if I acknowledge that it's tough, and then consistently remind myself to just write through it. I think it's a compassionate way to live as well. Wellness is writing through it.
Related story links to the Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
• The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
• Wellness is Spending Time Outdoors: Dana Visser
• Wellness is Stillness: Jane O'Dea (dean emerita)
• Wellness is Coping with Stress Through Art and Music: Jenn Pellerin
• Wellness is Being in the Moment: Kenneth Oppel
• Wellness is About Having a Consistent Routine: Alex Funk (BEd '17)
• Wellness is Spiritual: David Slomp
• Wellness is Ranching: Danny Balderson
• Coping with COVID-19: Harnessing our Natural Stress Response
• Coping with COVID-19: Loneliness
Writer: Christy Audet | Photo courtesy of Teri Hartman
For more information please contact:
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
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