About those teacher anxiety dreams…

Every teacher has new school year anxiety dreams. Even when I’ve taught in a happy place and I was consciously worried about anything, they still cropped up at this time of year. Mine usually centered around finding out that my classroom was suddenly outdoors, usually on a sea cliff, and kids’ papers were flying away in the wind and I would like, “I don’t even have a phone – this isn’t going to work!” Or there’s the one where my class was suddenly 78 kids, ranging in ages of five to 17, and every time I would try to give directions, no one was listening. Ok, and sometimes I had one where I would hurl a string of profanities against my principal (each one, my dreams didn’t discriminate).

Last year was the worst because these dreams did not taper off by mid-September, but got progressively worse into October. I was waking in the middle of the night, stressed and helpless. I even went to the doctor (hence the “learning to mediate” goal) – school anxiety dreams are normal, to a point, and I had far crossed normal.

Tomorrow is my first “real” day back (even though I’ve been working my new job here and there), and I haven’t had one anxiety dream all summer. NOT ONE. I’m starting a new job; I’m still full of unknowns; I feel a lot of pressure to perform – but not one bad dream.

HOWEVER, I have been plagued with a recurring dream all summer long. Essentially every night since summer started, my dreams have been vividly recurring around the same thing: wandering around a European city. Sometimes it’s Barcelona, sometimes it’s Greece, sometimes it’s a city I’ve never been to (like Berlin or Rome). Mostly, I’m exploring at my own pace and having a good time – sometimes the sun goes down and I start to get lost (but not scary lost). Sure, you could say that it’s just residual dreaming from actually going to Greece in June – but I looked it up:

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 3.48.06 PM.png

Hey! that seems pretty on point! Here I am about to start a new job that is totally different from what I’ve done before, and it’s a positive sign. I told my new boss about this, and he loved it.

Yesterday I was was talking with a friend about going back for the new year, and she said, “I’m actually excited to go back – is that bad?” and I replied, “No, that means you’re in the right place. Everyone will grumble a little bit about summer ending, but if you’re dreading going back, that’s a really bad sign.” I’ve felt that dread, and it cannot be ignored.

Maybe in a month I will come back and write a miserable post about my miserable new life, but at this point I’m ready to get rolling. Sadly, summer is over and way too fast but based on the empirical evidence of Google dream searching, it’s time for a new start.

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One thought on “About those teacher anxiety dreams…

  1. My dream happens at different points in the year. I never have the dream before school starts. Usually I’m in a room and I can’t seem to get class started. The kids are loud and talking over me. It is completely out of control. I’m yelling and nothing is happening. I threaten and then realize it is minutes before the end of the period. I am defeated. This is in no way reflective of my actual classroom. I have never experienced this, but it is usually an indication that I am feeling a loss of control of something. It might be not feeling well planned, home/work balance is off, too busy, but the dream crushes me. I always wake up exhausted and feeling haunted. Then back in my classroom (in reality) and all is well.

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