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I Have A Dream

February 2, 2008

I’ve just seen a television advert encouraging viewers to take out a bank loan in which a voiceover asks us “wouldn’t it be nice if you could make last night’s dream today’s reality?” I have an answer to this question. The answer is “no”. This is partly because last night I had a very vivid dream about having chronic diarrhoea, but it is an opinion I’d hold generally.

Since I became a teacher my work has frequently invaded my dreams. Sometimes I dream that I am at school and I am suffering from some medical affliction such as losing my voice, or my teeth, or my fingers. Or I have forgotten to get dressed and am still in my pyjamas.

However, there is one type of dream that is always very similar and occurs at the end of almost every holiday. I dream that I have a class that simply won’t respond to anything I do to control them, or even to quieten them down. I talk a lot about challenging behaviour on here because I think it is unacceptable and because I believe it is a problem that has been made worse through incompetence and ideology within the education system. Despite this I have rarely been in the situation where I can do nothing to teach my lesson. I think this has only happened once to me outside of a cover lesson or my NQT year. Somehow, it manages to happen all the time in my dreams. The class, which is sometimes a real one that I will have on the next school day and sometimes a composite of many classes I have known, will not be quiet and often will not sit down. None of my routines work; all warnings are ignored; no amount of shouting makes a difference. (In fact, I often lose my voice in these dreams. Or my fingers fall off.)

I awake from the dream in a state of distress and wondering what the hell I am doing to myself by being teacher. The frequency and intensity of the dream often reflects just how unpleasant, stressful or just uncertain my working life is at that given point in time. At the worst times I can be having a dream about something else entirely, for instance that I am going for a walk in the countryside with friends, when suddenly from the middle of nowhere Jordan from year 11 appears and won’t stop shouting, jumping up and down and pulling down posters that have appeared on the scenery and I’m shouting and nothing’s happening and there go my fingers.

As a teacher I feel obliged to blame senior management and the Government for my nightmares. Immediate political action needs to be taken to change teaching to the point where it will allow me a good night’s sleep even on the last day of the holidays.

Alternatively, I could just stop eating cheese before I go to bed.

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7 comments

  1. You’ve never had a class that WOULD NOT all shut up at the same time or even attempt the work? You lucky sod. I remember asking my HOD to come in to this vile Y9 group because I simply could not control them. After ten minutes of futile intervention he left, leaving me his sympathy and “I don’t see the point in two of us wasting our time in here. Stick a video on and get them to colour something in”


  2. I had that in my NQT year. Since then my experience of that has been limited (outside of cover lessons). Thinking about it, that pretty much comes down to my willingness to kick up a fuss rather than suffer in silence. If I look like I might have an unteachable class then I’ll be reporting it to some combination of HOD, HOY, SMT and my union rep until I have the necessary support. (And that pretty much comes down to having the confidence to know when I have done all that is physically possible to deal with the problem myself.)

    Of course, the ironic side-effect of standing up to awful classes is being labelled as having poor behaviour management for the 18 months or so it takes to sink in with the kids that I’m not going to give up trying to teach them.


  3. I too have had these dreams! I truly don’t have many classroom management problems, but I still get overwhelmed and it manifests in my dreams by me being completely unable to corral my students. *sigh* the life of the newbie teacher


  4. I punish my unmanageable, evil, hellion class with bookwork for a semester. There’s always one class like that, too.

    http://awaitingtenure.wordpress.com/


  5. Yep, I’m right there with you, pal. There are a few times in real life when I have to up the volume a bit to get the kids’ attention. Even a few times when I’m talking angrily. But I have definitely had the dream several times where I’m just outright screaming at the kids in a rage, to absolutely no effect. I still prefer that dream, though, over the one where I’m losing teeth…


  6. Over here Across the Pond, we have the same nightmares. I guess it’s comforting that this is so universal.

    But I’ve never had my fingers fall off. That’s a scary twist.


  7. Last night (a day early) I dreamt that my form group:

    - had been moved to new form room where many had to sit with their backs to me
    - were joined by students I had never seen before who wouldn’t be quiet
    - smuggled a set of keyboards and some violins into registration and played them under the tables whenever I tried to take the register

    I also dreamt that there were several new names on the register for me to read out and they were all apparently African and had no vowels in.



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