Monday, November 16, 2009

Teaching Dream, Director's Cut

One of the many wonderful things about sabbatical is the reduction in anxiety, which, in turn, leads to a reduction in those anxiety-induced teaching dreams that contain the following features: late on the first day, didn't know a class was on my schedule so I miss it and then can't find the room, don't have syllabus, don't have roster, students leave whenever I turn my back because I suck, and dreams (since my husband became a math lecturer) in which, suddenly, I have a calculus class on my schedule.

I have been (for the most part) spared these dreams while I've been on sabbatical. Until last night.

Yesterday evening, after the kiddie-poos went to bed, I decided to work on a syllabus for next spring while I watched the end of the Colts v. Patriots game*. Then, while sleeping last night, I had a teaching dream. It had a similar beginning to previous dreams. It was the first day of the semester. I didn't have a roster or syllabus. There was all kinds of loud noise (construction? music?) and I couldn't hear the students. The numbers kept dwindling (so I was worried about the class getting cancelled), and one student kept giving me lip. But then something unusual happened.

I had a short reading for them, and in my dream the reading was by Margaret Atwood. I started teaching through the noise and chaos, and whenver I looked up, there were more students in the chairs until, eventually, the room was packed. This never happens in my teaching dreams. The number never increases.

Then, I focused on one sentence in the text, and students started paying attention. This was the sentence: "I was on the right sight of men now."

I know that's a weird sentence for Margaret Atwood to have written, but, hey, it was a dream, and it's amazing that it was even in a decipherable language. I began to focus on the word "now" and it's implications, and the class ended on a high note.

So it's a bummer that I had a teaching dream, but it's absolutely amazing and weird that it ended on a high note**. That has never happened before.

*WOOT! Did you see the end of that game? Peyton Manning has that whole "I-got-this" Obamaesque cool vibe, and he is totally amazing (except for the fact that he contributes large amounts of money to politicians who make me cringe). But this almost makes up for his politics, and you totally need to check it out.

**Although it did cause me to wake up at 5:30am, which is a big fat drag when you know that your kids will wake up in 30-45 minutes, so you can't go back to sleep. And, BTW, the whole daylight savings oh-you-get-an-extra-hour-of-sleep-when-you-"fall back" is a bunch of hooey when, for the next month, your kids will not be on daylight savings time and they will get up at 6:00am every day, thereby causing you to lose at about 30 hours of sleep, all told.


--ginger. said...

I love the whole your-dreams-are-giving-you-the-picture-of-yourself-that's-right thing going on with you. Sabbatial = rest + perspective + The Ability To Tell Ourselves A Better Truth. The best part of the dream is that you wrote a line for Margaret Atwood. Love it. ** Althought I AGREE with you about the evil of "daylight savings" They can Save This.

Bavardess said...

I have a friend who works in a sleep research clinic, and one of the things they do to help people with night terrors is teach them to change the ending of the dream so they are in control. Looks like you've got the technique sorted!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Aren't teaching dreams wild??? I have them occasionally and always wake up somewhat frazzled. Like the time I dreamed I was teaching intro college Spanish to an auditorium of undergrads -- and I don't speak Spanish. Glad dream ended on a positive note!