It’s 8:10 in the morning; I hurriedly jumped out of my Jeep and ran up the the second floor of the High School. The bell at my high school rings at 8:05 that signals for the students to begin ushering to class before the 1st block bell at 8:15. I had unfortunately slept through my alarm and not had time to consume breakfast (usually a bagel or something that I could grab on the way out) or drink the required amount of caffeine in order to be considered functional for the upcoming grind of the day.
I got into my classroom at 8:12 only to find that (A). I had no copies made for the day which is possibly a top 5 teacher’s worst nightmare and (B). I had roughly 30 caffeine/sleep deprived 15 year olds storming in and making way to much noise and ruckus that should be allowed without the implementation of a sound barrier between my desk and their desks. The desk by the way have not been replaced since the 1960’s. I try and tell my students to quiet down and that there is no reason for them to be this loud. They reluctantly agree and shrug me off quieting down only to return to its original volume in less than 20 seconds.
I have no time to keep the class in order because either I go and run copies now or I try and keep a class of 30 entertained with my own wits. I get to the copier and of course there is a line waiting. I patiently wait and soon enough its my turn to release my copies. By the time I get to this point, the morning announcements have begun which means I have t-minus 2 minutes to get my copies and speed walk aback to my room. I get about 10 copies out when the copier jams. If you have ever watched an action movie with a bomb deactivation scene and the hero has to defuse the bomb before the timer runs out; that is the closest comparison I can give you. After getting the printer un-jammed, I return to my room with copies in hand and nerves shot even before 8:30.
When I enter the room, all 30 students are “sitting” around. Some are on their desks, some on the floor, and one student is siting in my chair at my desk. I put the copies down and try to get everyone in their seats by saying “alright everyone, lets get started. I need everyone in their seats”………no response. I walk to the center of the room and speak louder………no response. I start getting frustrated and say it again which is just shy of yelling. Next thing I know, I feel a piece of paper ricochet off the side of my head. “Who threw that?” I yell. I am met with laughs and chuckles from around the room feeling completely embarrassed. I proceed to begin yelling at the top of my lungs and feel the complete rage and wanting them to feel as uncomfortable as I did. I yell more and more feeling like my voice will crack any second. Then everything goes black……
I woke up feeling the same emotions that I had seconds ago in my dream. I woke feeling relieved above all but I also felt the grip of the anxiety that suffocated me moments earlier.
I’m sure all of us have had a dream like this at one time or another. Maybe it was a time where we dreamed that we were in school and we came in our underwear . Perhaps we dreamed so vividly at one time that we got confused between what was a dream and what is reality. Whatever it may be I feel as teachers we have these dreams often. I will have dreams like these rarely, and I only experience these kind of dreams during the school year. The dream I just described took place a week ago in the middle of June at our beach house that we rent once a year. Now the beach is probably one of the least stressful places on Earth and the idea of school was not even remotely in mind. So why have this dream far removed from my classroom?
I think the answer is very simple and I feel that teachers reading this would agree. We have these thoughts and dreams about school because being a teacher isn’t just a 9-5 job. Teaching is one of the most encompassing jobs that a person can take. Teachers spend time before and after school getting ready for regularly scheduled day even before the students walk in the classroom. We work 50-60 hours a week and when the summer comes around, we are exhausted beyond words. Time and time again I hear people say “well at least you don’t work year round and have summers off” and it causes my eyebrow to curve and my blood boil.
I also feel that we have this feeling about teaching is that due to its time consuming nature, we wake up at 6, work until 5, and then go home to rest and repeat the process all over again the next day. All in that time, we may have an hour to put towards a hobby that we enjoy doing. Mine has been weightlifting because I come from a football background and it helps me to relieve stress. I’ve been doing this for the last eight years and although I love it, I feel like it has become more of a chore to do. That is why I have decided to begin blogging and writing about life and particularly about teaching. I write this and hope that my words can give comfort to some and educate others about what teachers go through and what we experience.
The biggest thing that helps me get through those hard days of being a teacher is talking. Whether its talking to my wife, my co-workers, and even my mom. Being able to listen to someone or reading their experiences get us through the days that we don’t feel like coming back the next.
Not only is this blog meant to serve as a place to unload the baggage, it is also meant to encourage and remind us of the immense power that we possess as educators. I want this to be a community for all and hearing about your personal experiences whether they be positive or negative.
To finish off, I wouldn’t be a teacher if I didn’t give an assignment to you……because this blog is meant to help process and provide a creative outlet for myself. So the thing I ask you to reflect on is what is your outlet? What do you do to forget temporarily of the hardships of the day in day out monotony of life. If you want to post your outlets I would love to hear them! Also, tell me some of the crazy work related dreams/nightmares that you’ve had in the past. Finally, you do not have to be a teacher in order to reply and post on this blog, this is a blog by a teacher but created for all so feel free to join in!!!