A Retired Teacher’s Nightmare

???????????????????????????????Tuesday is for Teachers

Some retired teachers say they dream about being in the classroom. Some say they never dream about school.

It’s August, and I have not had one desire to be back in a classroom.

I can drive by my former middle school assignment and feel no tugs of regret or wondering how it’s going. SchoolbldgFor most of my 33 years in the classroom I looked forward to the beginning of school. I liked the anticipation, planning units, making bulletin boards, sketching out furniture arrangement. All summer long I had conversations in my head with my next 150 8th graders – encouraging them to be the best person they could,  intellectually, emotionally, character-building, etc.

Two weeks ago, early in the morning:

I’m in the middle of a crazy dream.

I’m at school, in a classroom.

I see a roomful of students but they are all bunched up, so I move to a group and discover four students are crammed into three desks.

What foolishness on the First Day of School! I never let students have this much “down” time EVER but especially on Day 1. How you begin school is so important!

They obviously have nothing to do, so I immediately begin looking for materials.

Now there seems to be a whole group of parents here in my classroom to help me.

This would be true of my years teaching LifeSkills classes of students with special needs, but not teaching 8th graders in a large urban middle school.

Great idea! Teach them to count change! That’s what these parents can do!

I’ve got a black money tray full of fake coins and bills somewhere.

Used it for 10 years with my special needs students.

Searching everywhere. Can’t find it!  I can’t find anything!

Wait! This classroom is not even setup.BlankSlate

Absolutely, this is a nightmare. I always spent weeks getting my classroom ready – no matter what or who I taught.

Then I realize that teaching students to count change is not practical anymore – even for LifeSkills students. Store clerks use computers that tell them exactly how much money to return to a customer for change.

Then the Special Ed. brain begins working.

My reasoning (even though in a dream) says my students still need to know how to give a clerk enough money to pay for a purchase.

So I begin sequencing the task.

I think only old dinosaur Special Ed. teachers even know what I mean by “sequencing” a task.

Then I realize this bunch of students probably have these skills. Since I don’t know them very well, I need to do some diagnostic testing.

Where are all those tests??? I have file cabinets full of carefully labeled worksheets sequencing math skills.files

Wait. These aren’t even Special Ed students!


And I wake up dripping with sweat. My pajamas are soaked!

This nightmare is over and I’m not going to school this morning, unprepared.

In reality that was always my nightmare, to be unprepared with a classroom set up for the wrong students or no materials ready for teaching

I hope my readers who are also teachers are not having any real nightmares this first month of school. I pray your days are productive, students are learning your routines, and you are finding some joy in these first stress-filled days. If not, read this post, First Days of School, from last August.

Are you able to find at least three blessings or gifts each day? Try keeping them in a journal.

Are you getting enough rest at night? Are you eating healthy? Are you exercising?

I am not a nagging mother, but one who has had that “beginning of school” exhaustion. Besides Labor Day is one more week!!



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