Friday, January 4, 2013

The Teacher Nightmare

I know that a lot of folks out there (like me) still have school nightmares: you arrive naked (sometimes just partially, like barefoot) at school, you can't find any of your classes, you can't find your locker / remember the combination, you don't understand anything you're about to be tested on, you can't find your homework....

If you're sharp and can avoid the anxiety manifestation, you'll realize it's just a dream and make the best of it. You can go explore parts of the school that don't exist in the real world, skip class and have a huge party somewhere on campus, become the walk-on star of the school play, or any number of other crazy slacker activities you wouldn't have worn your penny loafers out of line to do when you really were a student.

Dreams of being in a math class where I didn't understand a thing going on plagued me until I was a graduate student and found myself in a very familiar room and situation from my nightmare.

Statistics. It was the manifestation of my lifelong nightmare. When I completed the class with an A, that nightmare stopped. I still have the others though. Probably because I work in a school and it keeps the scab pulled off the wound. Apparently I still have a lot of unfinished business to deal with, regarding my school anxiety. Perfect attendance through school anxiety -- that was me. Stomach aches EVERY morning. Nausea at times. Yeah, kids, I understand. Sometimes I still get that.

As a teacher, the nightmares grow new teeth. Last night I was suddenly in another school. It was the first day of school and I was there just in the nick of time to greet my first class of the day. But they hadn't told me what room I was going to be in. I tried to find it by using information posted in the hallway, and when I got to my old classroom, someone else was already all moved in and using my stuff. (Okay, that did happen a couple of times.). I decided to come back after and get my stuff when I figured out what was going on, but I was mad.

I followed through the halls, looking for the names of the teachers I usually worked near. Of course, the hallways were composed of weird angles that made no sense to me. I finally found my name on a "teaching team" sheet and some teacher came up and said, "Oh! You're a ______. You're in room 204" (200- something... I can't remember now.)

Now she called me a ____ lizard, frog, something amphibious... Sheesh, what is with the cutesy animal mascots and team nicknames. I had to do that my first year. We were the "turtles". Lol in more ways than one, lemme tell ya. I didn't like the association with being slow, so I painted a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and put him up outside my door. For about five minutes I was "cool" and then the miscreants were allowed to take over by those weakly in charge of the school.

Anyway, I wandered the building searching for my new classroom for an hour and found a note saying that my room number was one of the truly awful second floor attic classrooms without closet space, windows, or even a board to write on. *sigh*. I think that was when I woke up. Ugh. It's like that movie "Office Space" when the guy with the red stapler keeps getting his desk moved to worse and worse places in the building before anybody just goes on and fires him.

So the student nightmare only changes a little when you're a teacher. But you have it for the rest of your life, even when you're being told you're doing a good job.

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