Sunday, June 07, 2009

Madly Off

I dreamed last night that I—a 67 year-old retiree—walked into a Grade 12 Social Studies class as a substitute teacher. I had a lesson in mind; I would engage them in an exciting discussion of the dynamics, the losses and gains particularly, that characterize social transactions. I would start with a simple example: you hire on with a contractor and you lose your freedom for the day, but you gain a paycheck. In my dream this was all tremendously significant stuff; I thought I might move on to choices of a weightier nature, like sex, marriage, etc.

But first one must take attendance: I couldn’t find the register, couldn’t find any list of names, couldn’t find a paper and pencil on which to write it down. I knew an attendance record was an important part of my job on this day. Solving that dilemma took half the time for the class and—if this had been a hockey game—put me down three or four goals in the “keeping order” department, the most significant aspect of any substitute teacher’s task.

I finally got to my lesson, but by then I hardly had an audience. The class had disintegrated into clatches here and there, talking and laughing, and there was no obvious way to get them involved in any discussion short of offering them each an iphone if they would shut up and listen. (Is this the nature of the real loss/gain bargain in the education transaction?)

And then a few at the back drifted away; the rest of the class, assuming they had been dismissed, followed them out without a backward glance. They sealed their victory by scoring into my empty net.

Jump to the second dream of the night, as did I: I’m looking for a certain building on the campus of the University of Alberta. I’m like Leacock’s Lord Ronald who “flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.” I go north, south, east, west, but can’t find anything I recognize. Finally I enter a building where I’m accosted by, apparently, a teacher from the school of my first dream; he’s going to report me, he says, to the higher authorities for my debacle in the Social Studies classroom. I assure him that I’m aware of my failure, that I used to be a relatively competent teacher but am old and grey now, that there’s no liklihood of my showing up there again . . . ever, and we part amicably.

Interpretation: Frustration during the day leads to dreams of frustration. We’ve just moved and things are not as rosy as we’d dreamed; basement still not finished, boxes everywhere, I’m having no end of challenges laying a floor. On Friday, I went to a meeting in the Education Building at the University of Saskatchewan. I drove around trying to find it for a time; ergo, my second nightmare. Search combined with frustration. The events of the days rearing up their heads in the random richocheting of electrical firings through the synapses of my mind, passing through a museum of memories and impressions and creating a story with the remnants they pick up there.

I wish you all sweet dreams

No comments:

Post a Comment