Saturday, March 28, 2015
Another Danged "Teacher Dream"
Last night ... March 27/28, 2015
I am teaching American history in a public school--something I did only once, by the way, the very first year of my career (1966-67), seventh graders, Aurora (Ohio) Middle School. I didn't really know what I was doing that year, other than surviving (which, barely, I did) and, often, having a very good time, and I was glad that I could teach just English the following year. (I'm sure the Gods of American History were appreciative, as well.)
Anyway ... I do not recognize the school I'm in. It seems to have features of the schools I attended and worked in--from Adams Elementary in Enid, Okla., to the Hiram Local Schools to the Aurora Middle School.
It's the day of the final exam--and there seems to be a massive number of students in the school. Populating the dream are some folks I know--kids and adults (from all times of my life)--but right now I can't identify a single one of them.
For some reason we have been transported to a test site (how?) for the final, and I am aware that I am but one of the teachers who have American history classes. Can't say who the others are. The building resembles a nightmare (!) version of the old Hiram School. The lowest floor (where I seem to be headed) reminds me of that old Hiram Schools basement where the shop was--and the classroom of Mr. Brunelle, a high school English teacher who, I much later realized, had a profound effect on my own career.
Something is gnawing at me as I move along into the bowels of the building: I've not prepared an exam to give the kids!
At first, this does not bother me too much ... perhaps it's a standard exam that all the kids are taking? But I can't seem to locate any of the other American history teachers.
In my head I begin composing a couple of essay questions I can read to the kids ... just in case. I can't remember one of them, but the other was was this:
Write about the role of hope in American history.
I'm sure I had more than that ... surely I added more information to help the kids focus their answers? Of course I did ... what kind of teacher would I be if ...
I'm a little concerned when I see what the kids are carrying and not carrying. What if they have no notebook paper? I can't supply any! I ask one young man carrying only a pencil, "Do you have any paper?"
He ignores me.
And then we are in the basement--which is looking Carlsbad Caverns-ish--and I swing open a heavy door so sizable it's Tolkien-ian. Inside ... a high school band is warming up. I ask someone where the middle school band is ... no answer.
I step back into the hall.
And then Joyce is rising, getting ready to head out to the health club, and I am awake (sort of) and so glad I don't have to monitor an exam today--especially one I have not yet even written.