I Have A DreamFebruary 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.