Well, Ladies and Gents, it’s about that time of year again. It’s the weeks just before students go back to school. For families; it is a busy time of hitting the mall and finding great deals. For educators; it’s a nightmare. No. Literally… A nightmare.
I have found that many teachers experience a sense of anxiety about the beginning of the school year and it often exhibits through dreams. After many years of back-to-school conversations with my colleagues I have found that these dreams have one of a few common themes: embarrassment, lack of control, or a nuisance. The setting for the dreams is in the school; whether that is the office, the playground, or the classroom, it is still a part of the school. The characters are generally the educator and students/colleagues. The problem is (select any of the following):
- Arriving to school not fully clothed,
- Arriving late on the first day of school,
- Having a group of students that are out of control,
- Trying to teach without any supplies,
- Coming to school and finding that your grade or classroom has been changed without your notification,
- Having a dreadful administrator or colleague or student return and you have to work with them,
- Losing your voice on the first day of school,
- …and a myriad of other stressful situations.
The educator can try desperately to fix the problem and yet that only exacerbates things or causes more problems. There is usually only one way to fix the problem and that is…to wake up.
Now there are a few that avoid this exhibition of anxiety. However, the method in itself is a demonstration of anxiety. That would be…insomnia. You know you’ve got to sleep, but you can’t sleep, so then you get more anxious about not sleeping which then makes it even harder to get to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.
I hear professionals say that the only true way to get over the anxieties is to face the very thing that is causing the unease. For educators, that comes by experiencing the first day of school. Since that day is set in time by the district or college, we simply must endure and decide whether to sleep or not. So, bring on the first day already! I’m ready to get some good sleep.