Saturday, March 4, 2017
Last night, I had one of those Damn Teacher Dreams again! I had them throughout my career, and when I retired, they sort of tailed off a little. But did not disappear. The elements remain the same; the cast and setting do not: I have an unruly class; stuff happens.
In last night's version--which woke me up about 5 am and put me in a foul mood that only time, I suppose, will dissipate--I was in a strange school, a middle school building whose features reminded me both of old Hiram High School and the old Aurora Middle School (which, when I was a lad, was Aurora High School). An old brick building, I mean--the kind that resembles a factory.
It was on a hill in a town I didn't recognize.
Someone official took me to my classroom (was I subbing for someone? finishing off the year for someone?), where I met the youngsters. I did not recognize any of them--a good thing because I would have been Unfriending like mad on Facebook today!
For some reason there were far more students in that room than sense should allow. Sixty? Seventy? More? As I looked left and right, it seemed as if there were more kids present every time.
Worse: I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. I was sure of only one thing: The kids were not paying the least bit of attention to me, despite my feckless attempts to attract their attention.
I got an idea: I will tell a ghost story. A good one I know. (It's one that features a leap and a scream at the end; I often told it to my middle-schoolers when they looked as if they needed it.)
And almost immediately I had to stop. Though some kids were paying attention, most were not, and at one table, right in front of me, four girls were singing. I went over to their table, asked them to stop. They ignored me. Rage began to form its funnel cloud in me.
Then--somehow--the assistant principal was in the room (didn't recognize him, either). I told him this was ridiculous--far too many students, etc. He said he'd do something about it in a day or two.
Then I was talking to him again in the same spot in the same situation. This time I told him to fix it or I'd quit--right then. He assured me he would. I played a trump card: I have cancer. I can't deal with this.
It didn't seem to faze him.
So I told him I was quitting--right now.
And I stalked out of the room. And outside the building. But where had I parked? I couldn't remember. I started jogging toward something that seemed to be a parking lot--but also seemed as if it were not really the school's parking lot. Some kids were playing in a yard. (Why aren't they in school?)
Jogging along, the town/city in view down the hill, I woke up. And decided I'd stay in bed all day and sulk. I mean, I felt awful.
But when 6 a.m. arrived (I don't think I did more than doze now and then in that hour between 5 and 6), I realized I'd mellowed a little. Struggled out of bed. Headed down to unload the dishwasher (one of my morning tasks). Felt the deep relief we all feel when we awaken from a nightmare, sniff the sulfur-free air, and realize we are not in Hell.