The kids are going back to school, but in my dream last night I was going back to school–as the teacher!
It started out I was in a high school classroom. I had a fairly large class of students, and I don’t know what subject I was teaching, but it involved numbers, and some sort of data analysis, because we all had highlighters and tables and charts and there were sets of numbers projected up on the screen in front of the room. I’m walking down the side of the room, and I tell the students that we are going to meet in the media room to watch a movie. I’m picking up highlighters and notebooks and am trying to tidy up the room as they are leaving.
I hear a kid go “ewwww,” and I walk back to the back of the room. The kid says, “Someone peed on the floor,” but as I walk over to the puddle, it’s not really the color of urine, and it doesn’t smell like urine either. And–it seems to be fizzing.
I notice there is a chubby boy named Jack next to me holding a bottle of Mountain Dew, and I notice that it is dripping. “You’ve got a crack in the bottle,” I tell him, and point at the trail of pop on the floor.
“I’ll go get paper towels and mop it up,” he says, putting his hand under the bottle and running out of the room.
When he comes back to start mopping up the pop, I walk out into the hallway and the principal is waiting for me and draws me aside. Oddly enough, the principal is my current supervisor at work (even my boss in the dream time I guess), and he says sotto voce “We need to talk about Andrew.”
It turns out Andrew is a student who was in a previous class I taught and was suspended. He is back in school and re-enrolled in my class. The principal tells me, “There are concerns.”
“What kind of concerns?” I ask.
“That he will be repeating the same assignments.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” I say. “He flunked out the first time, so he did the assignments but he failed them.” Does he really mean repeating the same mistakes that led to the suspension?
“But the worry is that he will be doing the same assignments.” It’s almost as if he could sense my question in my head and was trying to set me straight. Assignments, not mistakes.
I’m still not getting what he’s trying to say. If you flunk out, you repeat a grade. You keep doing it over until you manage to pass. Is he worried he’s going to try to cheat somehow?
“Well,” I say. “It’s the same class. I can’t change the class just for one kid. We have to meet the outcomes statements, so that means we have to do the required assignments. You know that. But he’s not going to be doing exactly the same thing because the class isn’t exactly the same. No two classes are exactly the same. And I’ve been teaching a long time and have built up my knowledge base too so I’ll be able to challenge him. Other than that, I don’t know what else to say or what you want me to do. I’m not the one who sets up the students’ schedules. I deal with the kids you give me. It’s up to you whether he stays in the class or not. You’re the principal.”
He doesn’t seem happy at my reply, but I don’t know what else to tell him. What would be another option? Do an independent study? Put him in the alternative school?
He walks away, and I start down the hall and panic because I don’t know the hall. How can I not know where things are? I supposedly have been teaching here a long time.
A student sees that I’m freaking out and says “The American History room is down this hall and to the right.”
So I start down the hall, and I see Nan curled up asleep on the floor of the hallway up ahead on my left. I’m curious what the hell she is doing on the floor. Another teacher walks up and kneels down to shake her awake–and can’t seem to wake her. I’m freaking out. Is she dead? On the fourth shake, Nan wakes up and is really irritated that the teacher woke her up. I’m nearly where they are, and the teacher gets up and turns to me and says “She’s fine. Go on to your class. They’re waiting on you.”
So I go right at the turn and at the end of the hall, I see a huge curved entryway with glass doors. The glass doors are curved too, like the glass on a revolving door, but they are not revolving doors. They are fairly small doors, just big enough for a person to get through, and I am looking for one with a specific number (I think it was 402 or 420? I remember there was a 4 and 2 in it) and again a student has to point it out to me.
As I go through the door with my students, it opens into a huge auditorium. It must be like the Tardis, bigger on the inside, because students were going into the other doors but they did not end up in this auditorium (other dimensions, perhaps?). Anyway, I make my way down the aisle to where they have an old projector set up about halfway down (how old of a school is this? I think). There is a bench next to the projector for the projectionist, and I sit down on a chair next to the bench. I’m going to have to tell him when to start the film and pause it so I can comment on it.
Then I wake up.