The back to school bad dream

I thought I might just skip the dream this year. My own students had gone back to school last Monday, and I wouldn’t see them again until the following Monday, when I showed up in their classrooms to kick off a year of online AP essay-writing instruction. The dream had always tackled me much earlier, anyway. Maybe it was taking a year off.

Nope. I woke up this morning in the familiar panic. Usually I dreamed that I showed up totally unprepared for a class that I’d never taught before. No syllabus. No handouts. No clue what I was going to say to my class on the first day of school. It didn’t matter that this had never happened, and would never happen. The dream slammed me every August.

This year the dream did vary a little. This year I failed to show up at all — stiffing the bright young man whom I’d helped recruit to my high school, as well as his two AP U.S. history classes, which I was scheduled to teach on Monday.

Relief swamped me as consciousness returned. Today is Sunday, not Monday. I already have the handouts in my briefcase. I still have plenty of time to drive from our cabin near Capitol Reef National Park to Salt Lake City.

Other teachers have told me that they, too, experience some variation of this bad dream every August. So today, instead of sharing some educational news tidbit or personal opinion, I’d just like to wish my fellow teachers good luck — and good dreams — as so many of your students head back to school this coming week. May you all have a wonderful year!

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