I had some weird dreams last night. I had just finished watching the movie Her (about a guy who falls in love with an operating system) and one of my acquaintances texted me to let me know one of the kids I take care of in Sunday School drowned in a pool right before I went to sleep.
Those were pretty fertile ingredients for a night of my subconscious growing some weird dream trees.
First I dreamt that my coworker was accusing me of something that had to do with being insensitive to her work environment. That I was ruining the efficiency of our school’s teamwork because I was being callous on purpose or something of the like. It was so vivid when I had the dream, but it ebbs as I try to write it down. At first I was confused at the accusation, frustrated because she wouldn’t listen. Then I was simultaneously furious and aggrieved because she continued to accuse me in a public setting, making me out to be some kind of monster. I actually woke up crying out of frustration. It’s weird how the volume on emotions can get turned way up while in a dreamscape. What’s funny is, my butt is so dang stubborn that I dove back into the dream so I could continue arguing my case, even though at that point it was pretty much a lucid. I had a sense that what was going on wasn’t real, but it mattered to me anyway. She made some argument about how this area of my work would trickle down to affect the students negatively, which made me question myself because I’d always told myself I’d quit if that happened. My mental health and/or inability to interact with people in a healthy way starting to affect my students negatively is where I draw the line in continuing to work in the public school system. I’d go off and do some other job that doesn’t require so much human interaction.
What else is funny is that I’m pretty sure the accusation she was throwing at me was unbelievably silly in reality. I think I kept forgetting to say good morning to her or forgetting to return her stapler, and she was making the argument that this made her so sad it impaired her ability to work or something. As silly as the whole premise of the dream was, it made me realize I still hold self doubt about being able to teach to the whole child. As in, taking socio-emotional skills that I’m supposed to pass on to them into consideration. Educating children to be academically successful is really only half the job of being a teacher. Teaching them those other human skills is really important too. Their young brains are absorbing a sense of how to exist in the world at a rapid rate, and if you’re not careful they’ll subconsciously absorb a lot of preconceived notions, prejudices, and bad habits of handling situations.
I don’t think I’m socio-emotionally deficient enough to be unable to pass on basic skills to my students. That would be really dramatic. I’m pretty functional. But I think I harbor fear for my personal children, who I’m going to have to relate in a lot closer of a capacity, whenever I choose to adopt some.
The second dream I had was about school too. It was short and I don’t quite remember it, but it ended with an epiphany that was loud and clear. They say the brain is very active conducting problem solving during the night and that this is part of the reason why we have dreams, but I’ve hardly ever gotten this kind of clarity upon waking. I think most of it is usually subconscious.
In essence, I realized that even though I have absolutely zero interest in climbing the educational ladder into a leadership position, like say administration, I still have to push myself to be involved with things at a higher level than just my classroom. In the dream a retired teacher told me, “I taught for a lot of years and I got my pension, but I never really felt like I accomplished anything when it came to changing the system,” and that’s something I’m really concerned about.
Honestly, most of the time it annoys the crap out of me that I want to “make a difference.” Number one, how corny is that? But number two, that means I still have to give a crap about making sure I keep moving forward in life. Whatever direction forward is supposed to be.
Giving a crap takes a lot of energy.
I sometimes wish I just didn’t so I could sleepwalk my way through life. But fortunately or unfortunately,
Which are two different things by the way. A lot of people are not the former, and even more can’t say they are the latter either. Which is sobering. I think death is as sobering as it is sad. It’s crazy that the child I used to take care of is suddenly no longer there to be affected by me, if ever I am to grow into the type of person worth being affected by. The real can be quite surreal.