I dream about teaching.
Not in the: ‘I’m so passionate about this job it’s all my subconscious can allow me to ruminate on. I’m that passionate everybody. Look at me being passionate! Are you as passionate as me? NO! HOW COULD YOU BE? I AM MASTER OF PASSION’ kind of way.
More in the: ‘Waking up at 3am in a hot sweat after I have already spent a day at work whilst I was asleep’ kind of way.
I wish I didn’t. It’s exhausting. I’ve been a teacher for roughly a decade now and you’d think at some point in time I’d be able to grow up a bit. The dreams aren’t even that good. No-one turns into caramel Angel Delight to then be eaten up by a distant elderly relative who’s suddenly arrived in their horse-drawn carriage to tell me they’ve run out of frogs for Wednesday. At least that’d be interesting. What I get is basically a facsimile of my normal day’s work played out in my head. Honestly, what’s the point in that? Freud would not have a field day.
It’s nerves. I know it is yet I still can’t help myself. It’s the same every year. If teaching is a performance then this part of the year is when you’re standing in the darkness waiting for the curtain to go up. And it does funny things to me.
I have been reliably informed by my infinitely better half that one of the other charming manifestations of these pre-teaching jitters is that I turn into an absolute and undeniable tool the weekend before I have to go back. It has been noted on several occasions that it’s probably a good thing that I do return to my workplace as at least I will be with members of my own kind (meaning angsty, miserable teenagers who are liable to snap your head off for offering you breakfast.)
It’s nerves. The week ahead looms large in its terrifying enormity and I’ll be damned if I don’t go down swinging. Problem is I waste the precious time I have left boxing at shadows.
So what to do? I guess the alternative to not being nervous is to simply stop caring. I could let go of the dreams and the stropping around and face going back with a simple ‘meh’. Good for me, possibly not so good for those in front of me.
Although they deprive me of sleep, make me desperately unpleasant to be around at points and make me want to hurl, I reckon nerves serve their purpose. They keep you sharp, they make you alert and more than anything they signify that you actually do give a damn. Yes, I’m nervous because I got stuck with a bottom set and I’m going to have to brush up on my Krav Maga training if I’m going to get out unscathed. Yes, I’m nervous that the Deputy Head seems to have taken a dislike to me after I mistakenly asked when the baby was due. Yes, I’m nervous that 8LA may no longer look up to me after I nerve-hurl onto the front row during guided reading. That’s ok. These are all very real things to be nervous about.
But underneath those fairly superficial worries are some timeless classics. Am I good enough? Will I be able to do well for those in-front of me (after they’ve wiped themselves off, of course). Will I succeed? What happens if I don’t?
If you don’t feel at least a little bit queasy about that stuff then I’d probably suggest a different career. I get nervous and I lose sleep and I turn into a bit of an arse. I think the questions above warrant that at least. Not paralysis, not all-encompassing anxiety, not months off after a break-down, just a little consideration and respect.
Now excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.