The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The night before the last day of the holidays, and usually the stress related dreams have reached a peak. But no.
Yes, I dream that I'm teaching, all very regular. But in my dreams this year, I'm teaching German. A language I remember loving for it's clarity, regularity, and logical rules, after nine years of turmoil in failing to understand French.
The dream was lovely. No attempting to explain onomatopoeia only to find all your examples are somewhat interpretive at best. No grading people on their sensitivity to a writer's imagined moral code. No public censure and blame for every child in the UK that misses a capital letter.
Just Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag, Sonnabend.
Fact based, right or wrong, rhythmic and repetitive. Just lovely.

The night before the last day of the holidays generally prompts one other annual panic: my realisation that for the third year in a row, I've forgotten to photocopy 600 sheets of the GCSE examination's Frequently Asked Questions. A glance at my A level course blog (used for class reminders, extra study hints, and homework assignments) reveals I only ever posted the feedback to last summer's mock AS level exams in draft form, and they went into the final examination without my ever reminding them that they were misreading the vague term 'presents' or forgetting to factor Victorian values into their assessment of Rossetti's use of oppositions.

Ah buggerit. It happens every single year. Perhaps I have stress dreams not because the job is stressful, but because it doesn't stress me sufficiently to do it well?

On the theme of stressful Septembers back at school, this is the one thing I want to carry with me into the staffroom this year. A poignant reminder for current teachers of the panic new teachers carry into the classroom just next door. If you hear yelling and uproar, do go in and offer a cup of coffee, just to break the pattern, won't you?