Drawing on activity theory, this qualitative case study examines the emotional experiences of maria, a preservice teacher of english as an additional language (eal) during the practicum in an australian secondary school setting and the factors shaping these emotions. Data included interviews with the preservice teacher before and after the practicum, a stimulated recall session, and her reflections after lessons. Furthermore, an interview was also conducted with maria’s school mentor teacher. The study found that during the practicum, the preservice teacher experienced strong positive and negative emotions as a result of the influence of personal factors and the sociocultural context of preservice teaching, especially the contradictions inherent within the teacher learning context. The findings provide insights that can be useful for developing learning experiences that foster student teachers’ growth.