Recurring dreams


 

I have had two recurring dreams in the 25 years or so that I have been teaching. I think that they reflect my inner world, and I think that they show the thoughts and feelings of many teachers.

In the first dream, which I had for the very first time some 16 years ago, I am standing at my kitchen stove, stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce.   I look over my shoulder, to where my (then) little children were playing on the kitchen floor.   I turn back to the pot, add a bit of salt, and resume my stirring.  I look back at the kids again, and see that one of my students is seated at the table.  “David!”, I think, with a mixture of surprise and pleasure.   I put in a pinch of pepper, and look back at the kids to see that two more of my students are now waiting to be fed.  I open another can of tomatoes, and add them to the sauce, wondering whether or not to add more garlic and onion.  I stir, I taste, I look back over my shoulder once again, to see two or three or five more of “my” kids seated at the table, waiting to eat.

The theme of this dream is that I must keep feeding the kids, no matter how many of them appear. In my dream, I am aware of a feeling of surprise as each familiar face appears, but I never feel frustrated or worried; they are here, they need food, I will cook for them. Simple.

In the second dream, I am taking a group of children on a journey.  Sometimes we are on a train, sometimes an airplane, once in a while we are on a ship.  In every dream, there are a series of events or issues that interfere with our ability to get where we want to go.  In every dream, I am left feeling responsible and frustrated: I have to get these kids over the mountains!  Why is the track broken?  Why are we sliding back down the mountain?   These dreams go on and on, with me constantly checking on the safety and security of the kids, and trying to stay calm as I scream in frustration about each road block that is in our way.

I think that these dreams are interesting not only for their themes, but for their intense sense of pressure as well.

Teaching is about nurturing, feeding the mind and the spirit, welcoming each child to the table.   Teaching is about taking children on a journey, no matter how many obstacles appear.

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