It is only July 3, and I already this morning had my first “back-to-school anxiety dream” of the new school year. In it, I was unprepared for my first class on the first day of school. I was disorganized, couldn’t find my class list, was in a strange classroom that I hadn’t prepared beforehand, and had a huge class full of kids. The kids were a handful: getting out of their seats, talking on cell phones, and one girl wandered in from another class and started talking to one of my students, in the middle of my made-up-on-the-spot lesson.
In addition, I was having trouble hearing kids, the chalkboard at the front of the room was about 50 cm by 100 cm (barely enough to write certain equations), and there were strange random objects in the room. One memorable object was a toilet bolted to the top of a big old-fashioned solid wood teacher desk, which two students promptly tried to remove. In the dream, I found it necessary to reprimand the kids harshly, exhort them to use the restroom if they had to pee or poop and never do that in the classroom, and hold them in class at the end of the period.
Holding students at the end of the period of course backfired, as an inexperienced math teacher and her class bustled in for the next class period while for some reason I was picking up a huge pile of felt chalkboard erasers from the floor outside the classroom door. I suddenly realized that the reason I couldn’t hear was the loud racket from the HVAC unit in the front of the room, and started asking if we could change the orientation of the room so that the “front” was switched to the opposite wall (where there was a much larger chalkboards, as well). Then the head custodian came in to turn off the HVAC (so it would be quiet but very hot in the room—yet another reason for students to complain) and the assistant principal came in (I don’t know why) and one of the other physics teachers came in (with some strange egg-carton contraption he was building). I took the inexperienced math teacher out of the room and explained to her why the room organization would be better facing the other way.
“Don’t you have a mentor teacher?” I asked her, and when she told me who it was I rolled my eyes and understood why she didn’t know that she was supposed to turn on the TV in homeroom for the kids to watch the daily announcements. Because it was a dream, this was disproportionately important to me to convey.
The rest of the dream went on in the same vein until I woke up. It was 5 AM. Sigh.
I’m guessing I had this dream because I got an e-mail yesterday that my schedule for this year is being changed. After my AP class was canceled due to low enrollment, I was assigned to teach 9th grade physical science. I’ve done that before, and didn’t mind the assignment, and was already planning in my head, if not on computer or paper yet. But the administration had told me they would lobby higher-level administration to create an additional section of non-AP second-year physics and have me teach that instead of 9th grade. So apparently they were successful and I got word yesterday morning. I have taught that class more recently than I’ve taught 9th graders, but there were no nascent plans for the coming year in my head yet.
So, here I am, up at 5 AM on my summer vacation, blogging because I don’t want to go back to sleep and revisit the anxiety. Usually I don’t have this type of dream until August!
How do you spell that sound you make when you stick your tongue between your lips and blow a “raspberry?” Well, imagine I wrote that sound here.