The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What teacher's nightmares are like

I had a nightmare a few nights ago. Yes, a nightmare. Not just a "bad dream," a nightmare. In the nightmare, I was for some reason helping another teacher who was teaching a class in my classroom during one period, and I kept thinking to myself, "There is stuff I should be doing to get ready for my classes right now," and then before I knew it, the bell rang and it was my turn to teach and I realized I had nothing ready. I panicked and decided I would just teach some poem out of the textbook, since I am starting my poetry unit. Just as I am realizing that, a head administrator, like the boss of my boss, wanders in with some visitor to observe. I then start flipping through the textbook and realize there is no poetry in the text, which is ridiculous, because I know that there is a whole textbook unit of poetry, but I can't seem to find it, so I randomly start teaching the first story I find and decide I will just teach it as an allegory and use it to teach symbolism, which relates to poetry. I start reading the story with them, without even realizing what story it is, and I realize it is the story of the tortoise and the hare. We analyze it as a class, and I feel totally ridiculous. I think I woke up after that.

The dream was truly a nightmare because it had all that accelerated heart beat and stress and sweaty palms and wishing you could just escape somehow and have it all be over. I was really bothered when waking up, but was able to sort of laugh it off the next morning that it was just stress because I was behind on planning my poetry unit. However, the dream stayed with me, which usually doesn't happen to me at all- I seldom remember my dream- and now I know why.

I realized today that the dream was a subconscious reminder and possibly prophetic. I have been incredibly focused on getting my poetry unit ready for my English 10 classes. I start the unit on Monday. I finished the last page of the packet for it at around 7:30p.m. I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when I remembered... I have an Honors class. They already learned poetry. I did their poetry unit in February. I have an allegory unit planned (I use that word very loosely, because it is hard to call it "planned" if you see how little I have written for it) on the calendar for my Honors class for the next two weeks. Not only do I not have anything ready for it, I don't even have half the supplies I wanted for it. I somehow completely put it out of my mind until 7:30 tonight. No wonder in my dream I couldn't find a poem and ended up teaching an allegory. DUH! It was obviously a sign.

Perhaps it is also a sign that the story that appeared in my dreams was the story of the tortoise and the hare. I think I am being the hare. I have procrastinated school work like crazy this week, just wanting to enjoy my break somewhat and feeling tired and stuff too, and although I was terribly nervous that I would not be able to finish it in time, part of me believed that I am super woman and would somehow finish it all. When I hit the final save as I finished my poetry packet tonight (which is brilliant and something I feel really good about), I most certainly felt like the smug hare who had somehow finished the race despite several naps (literally) along the way. Then... it hit me... I hadn't finished the race. I had a whole other unit to plan. Boy did I feel sheepish then.

Gosh, what a total geek I am. While I am planning to teach allegory and symbolism, I dream in allegories about my stress. Bleh. I am hardwired to teach English.

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