Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dreaming Alice James

I'd like to think that I'm not the only who who dreams about students and teaching. There are the usual panic dreams: I can't find the classroom where I'm supposed to teach, or all my books have somehow been locked in my junior high school locker, to which I've forgotten the combination. Or I'm supposed to give a lecture on the Merovingian kings or statistics or something else I know absolutely nothing about.

This dream was different: I was trying to lead my students across campus to an event that I'd assured them would be fascinating. Somehow in the dream I didn't know what the event was until I got there, but it was a one-woman show based on the life of Alice James (as she appears in Jean Strouse's biography), illnesses, intelligence, James family hysteria, and all. Although this wouldn't have been their first or even their forty-seventh choice of a fascinating extracurricular activity for class, they were interested enough because of reading Henry James to stay through the whole show.

Does anyone else have teaching dreams?


StupendousWoman said...

Just last night, I dreamt it was the end of one of my classes -- a time at which I usually ask the students to turn in a participation sheet. But a student asked some weird question about legal issues (not what I teach at all), the course dragged on, and all the others left -- but not before they turned in their participation sheet.

I was very upset at the end of this dream, because I could not figure out who had really been in class until the end, and who had just tried to fool me!

I think teaching dreams reflect a lot more than just our current “teaching state”... ;)

undine said...

I think those dreams reflect more than our teaching state, too, stupendouswoman. A lot of them seem to be about control or the lack thereof.

Professor Zero said...

I dreamed that the classroom walls were transparent throughout the floor, so that I could see all the other classes going on while I taught. It became evident that we were all teaching the same course, incongruous though that was given its nature, and every class was as crowded, fast and furious as mine, although each had its own style.

Professor Zero said...

P.S. my best panic dream was, late in the semester I discovered that I was registered in a full load of courses. It was required that faculty also be full time students, and the system had registered me, but I had not been informed. In the dream, I first panicked - would I be able to catch up and pass? But I quickly calmed myself on that score, of course I would. More difficult to handle was the feeling of betrayal: everyone else knew about this, but nobody had told me.

undine said...

The faculty must have known but they still didn't tell you in that dream, Professor Z? Betrayal indeed.