I’ve always suffered from nightmares – every few months I’ll have a dream that wakes me up in the middle of the night, usually breathing hard, often in tears. Mostly I get through them fine, especially now that I’m married as I just snuggle close to my husband till I feel better. They involve all kinds of scary stuff, anything from spiders and snakes to falling off a bridge to (one especially memorable time) Nazis throwing grenades at me.
Periodically I’ve looked up the meanings behind my dreams. Falling dreams mean you’re feeling overwhelmed and out of control – interestingly, I had a lot of those types of dreams in middle school. Being under attack apparently is supposed to mean you’re feeling vulnerable or that a project you’re involved in isn’t going well. Snakes and spiders have like thirty different meanings each, so who knows. Some days I buy into the interpretations, some days I laugh and move on – it just depends.
Last night I dreamt I was being laid off from my school. They’d overhired, they said, and they needed to let a Language Arts teacher go. And regretfully it had to be me. I argued with them about it – why not the person we’d just hired from Texas*? She was brand new and I’m two years in! No, they said, they’d paid to relocate her so they couldn’t afford to not hire her. I tried again. Okay, what about one of the other two brand new teachers? Surely my experience is good. No, they said, just no. No explanation. (Apparently my subconscious couldn’t come up with a good reason for that.) I argued with person after person, making my case, using the most persuasive reasons I could come up with, alternating cajoling and flat-out begging, but nothing. At the end of my dream, I started to come to terms with it. Well, I thought, at least now I can move districts. At least now I can try to find a job in my home district without feeling like I’m abandoning the kids whom I’ve been working with for two years – I don’t have a choice.
I woke up in tears. It took me a good fifteen minutes to calm down. And then I started to wonder what the hell this meant. The end of my dream was true; I do feel guilty sometimes for not working in my home district and working in a suburban district instead. I grew up in a city and in its public schools, and I have every intention of my children someday going to those schools, despite their challenges. And while my district is very typically suburban, my school is pretty urban (high poverty, high mobility, high minority enrollment). If I were to lose my job at my school, my district has only three other schools that I would consider going to. I like urban schools and I feel like I’m needed more there. But I do sometimes wonder if I should consider moving districts entirely.
Was my dream a portent of things to come? Was it telling me that, yes, in the next year or two I should get ready to change districts? Or was it just a dream?
*We have not hired a teacher from Texas. I’m not even going to begin to try to figure out what that means.
(Photo credit to Robert Couse-Baker)