a textbook dream unsettles

The dreams are back.

It happens every year at this time. First, I start by being in trouble about something. Last night I was in the coordinator’s office and what happened? I forgot to make my textbook selections – there would be no chance the students would have them on time now – I blew it. Sometimes it’s the principal’s office. Sometimes I haven’t done my homework again. Or the classic – I show up to the first class with no lesson plan. Good luck Teacher Mo.

It’s that feeling of panic that typically ensues which unsettles me so much, especially when I’ve been known to have a predictive dream or two. I have these expectations for my students, but I constantly wonder if I would measure up to my own standards.

When I was teaching high school English, I kept having this dream over and over that I showed up to my own final exam without the exam. I forgot to photocopy them, and when the clock struck nine, the students had … nothing. Talk about your teacher’s nightmare! I think the anxiety that the dreams cause tend to manifest these certain conditions.

When the actual morning of that fated exam came,  I ended up locking my keys in the car in my babysitter’s driveway, with the car running and one year old Leila in the back, probably wondering why I wasn’t getting in. Yes, there was Leila, and there was my huge pile of English exams for all the grade twelve students, with my spare keys and husband a half hour’s drive away. 8:15 … and counting the minutes until the blessed tow truck guys came to jimmy the lock.


I’m actually pretty stoked to go back to the university, where I teach English as a Second Language, after taking the last two months off to hang out with Leila before she heads off to kindergarten. I’ll meet a new and diverse group of international students and we’ll travel together through essays, cbc documentary clips and sound bytes for the next twelve weeks.

Everyone expects kids to be nervous but we hardly expect our teachers to be. I better bring chocolate.


  1. Dad taught for a thousand years and every single term would face his new students as nervous and excited as a rookie. At home, he would get up early to plan out what he would say while he was shaving. Then, in class, his voice would shake, and he would rattle the keys and change in his pocket. I always wondered if his students thought this was endearing or unnerving.

  2. OOOO! Chocolate solves everything!
    But your dream is strangely like the ones I had all through University… except it would happen during finals.. suddenly remembering a class that you forgot to attend and facing a final exam or paper due that you MUST complete or else..!
    oh, shivers still to this day.. pass the chocolate,please…

  3. Bellissima! You are a rockstar teacher…and the dreams are just an indication of how seriously you take your craft. I always go the belly butterflies before meeting a new group of students. It’s so intense and so exciting! Hope your first week back goes smoooooooothly – no locked kiddies in the car!

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