Monday, July 13, 2015

Help Me Psychoanalyze A Bad Dream

Not a fan of Freud's, so I may need your help
"Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions."
Joel 2:28b

I know I'm taking these words out of context, but I've long had some distressing dreams I'm curious about, like this near nightmare the other night:

Setting: Eastern Mennonite High School, forty or so years ago, where I taught Bible and social studies courses part time for over 20 years.

Characters: Some young students and I in classes from years ago.

Time: It's exam week and I'm to give several end-of-year tests.

Problem: I don't have any of my exams prepared, and furthermore, I realize that I have failed to even show up for most of the classes I was assigned to teach, simply forgetting or totally neglecting my professional responsibility.

My Response: I am at a complete loss as to what to do, but figure it would be best to show up at each of the scheduled exams, then give each student a sheet of paper and ask them to write everything they can remember that we covered in the earlier part of the semester--even though I have only vague recollections of having met with them at all, and am unsure of the course title and content.

Their Response: An incredulous "What?" and other expressions of disbelief about what I was asking them to do. Most just sit there and write nothing, as if on strike.

My Emotional State: While I remain calm outwardly I feel totally devastated and absolutely awful about my failure to fulfill my obligations as a teacher. I realize I have completely lost the respect of my students.

Aftereffects: I wake in a cold sweat, recalling other recurring dreams in the past in which 1) I come to class on a first day of school and am completely unprepared or have misplaced my notes and don't know what to say or do; 2) I'm teaching a class and my students are paying absolutely no attention, are talking to each other, and/or are walking out; 3) I'm to bring a message at a church and am not dressed appropriately and/or have lost my sermon notes; 4) I realize I was supposed to have taken care of a neighbor's farm chores while they were away but I've totally failed to remember to do them, causing suffering to their farm animals.

Even after waking up with the relief of knowing that this was all "just a dream" I still frequently have a hard time getting my sense of well being back.

Any insights, anyone? 
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