Well, not screaming. But it was a terrible nightmare. I was supposed to be teaching these third-graders, but I had no lesson plans and no idea what third-graders were supposed to learn. There were two other grown-ups in the room with me, one of whom was evaluating me, and the other was the science/math teacher. So I was all, “Yeah, well, right now it’s the science and math unit!”, and I was hoping the science and math teacher would take over, and give me time to think of a language arts lesson plan; but instead she just stood there watching me expectantly. I said, “Okay, fractions!” and all the kids waited patiently and I said, “One half plus one half equals a whole. Get it?” and drew a picture of a sliced-in-half pie on the chalkboard.
“Jenny,” said the science and math teacher. “They don’t learn fractions until eighth grade.”
“No,” I said anxiously. “Third grade. They learn fractions right now. With pie.”
“It’s 3.14159 et cetera,” said the science and math teacher to the students. “Remember that, students. You will need it to decipher the circle that Jenny drew on the board for you.”
“Wait, we aren’t doing geometry!” I said.
“You brought it up,” said the science and math teacher gently.
“Not pi,” I said. “Pie like apple pie.”
“You’re being very irrational,” said the science and math teacher.
“Is this your normal teaching method?” said the evaluator. “Why haven’t you asked the students to tell you about themselves? These students don’t even know each other’s names. How can you try to teach them Euclidean [only she pronounced it Oyclidean] geometry on the very first day when you don’t know anything about them?”
IT WAS AWFUL. I woke up shaking and couldn’t get back to sleep, but I didn’t remember what the nightmare was about until just now. I thought it must have featured horrific monsters. But no. Just teaching.
This nightmare brought to you by:
1. Several of my friends becoming teachers
2. Talking to my sister about fractions last night – she was fantastically good at them when we learned them in (she says) fourth grade (but I thought we learned fractions in third) (but she remembers it very vividly and I'm sure she is right). So I was off about the fractions by a year.
3. Explaining to tim that I am bad at teaching. Also, the Oyclidean business is tim-related because she one time told me that Euler is pronounced Oiler and it always makes her want to call Euclid Oyclid. Also if it weren’t for tim I doubt that the irrational joke and the five digits I can remember of pi would have made it into this dream.