Espresso Shot: Our Worst Back-to-School Nightmares

It might look easy for some of us veteran teachers, but the truth is we all have back-to-school nightmares this time of year. Keep on reading to find out what keeps the Coffee Shop Teachers up at night:

The SuperHERO Teacher: Ahhhh! Back to school nightmares are the worst! I always dream that my students are in the classroom and my supervisor comes in and I have nothing to say and I completely blank. He just stares and me and is fiercely writing down notes. Then, the worst part, is when all of my students are smirking and laughing at me-- like I've instantly lost their respect! Yikes-- I'm getting uncomfortable just typing this! Lol.

The Daring English Teacher: Every single year as the new year approaches, I always have back-to-school nightmares that wake me up in a cold sweat, and they are always the same. I am scrambling to leave my house on time the first day back, and then once I get to school, I am in complete disarray. I haven't planned anything. I don't even know which classes I am teaching, my schedule, or where my room is, and I am a complete mess. After I eventually meander aimlessly into what must be my classroom, I am standing in front forty-something students without anything to say and a blank, dumbfounded look on my face. That is when I usually wake up, realize school isn't for another week or two, and try to go back to sleep.

Secondary SaraMy school nightmare is the classic unprepared dream with a twist. It's the first day of school, I find out that I'm teaching a new class I didn't know about, and when I arrive to a room of expectant teens, I obviously don't have a syllabus or lesson or anything ready... so I go off in search of one, and THEN proceed to get lost, until I end up wandering a mall or office supply store failing to find what I need... Just like any good Pixar plot, my dreams like to make things progressively worse for the protagonist!

Addie Williams: It never fails. Every year I have the same back to school nightmare. In it, I am starting at a new school and everything goes horribly wrong. I arrive late and when I get there I run in a panic through the halls because I can't find my classroom. When I finally locate my classroom, I arrive to find chaos. But the worst part of it is that my voice doesn't work... so as I try to gain control of the room... I can't. No words will come out...

Room 213: Even after almost thirty years of teaching, I still get that back to school nightmare in August, and it's always a variation on the same theme: I'm standing before an out of control class, trying to speak, and no sound comes out. I try and try to speak, getting increasingly frustrated as nothing works. The class gets worse and worse, and I stand there helpless.  I always wake up before I find my voice, but that feeling of desperation stays with me for hours. 

Stacey Lloyd: Oh, I get the nightmares: throughout the whole summer. And I have a whole variety of them: everything from being unable to find the school, to turning up completely unprepared, to having forgotten to put clothes on (that's a predictable, frequent one). Yet, every year my back-to-school season is a joy - a busy one, but still a joy. As yet, I have never gotten lost, or forgotten to get dressed, or turned up to the wrong class... so here's hoping this this year will be no different! I just wish my sleep wasn't so disturbed with these pesky nightmares.

Presto Plans: I tend to have a variety of nightmares during the month before heading back-to-school. Some of the reoccurring highlights include showing up late on the first day, having absolutely no control over my class, and being completely unprepared. One common dream that also finds its way into the mix has me arriving on the first day of school to learn that my schedule has completely changed from teaching English to teaching Advanced Math. I am given absolutely no time to prep and am thrown in front of a room full of high-achieving twelfth graders. I stumble my way through the start of a lesson, but it isn’t long until they see that I am a complete fraud who has no idea what she is talking about.

The Classroom Sparrow: My school year began like any other. Everything was set and organized for my first day of class. Our meet the teacher night was successful with lots of parents in attendance. I felt like I chatted with a lot more parents than usual, so I was pretty confident the school year was off to a great start. I also chatted with a lot of the teachers throughout the evening, as this was only my second term at this school after relocating, so I was still quite new to the building. I arrived home and was eager to tell my husband about the evening...then I looked down to take off my shoes. This image summed up my year. 

Nouvelle ELA: The rest of these nightmares are TERRIFYING and I'm glad I don't remember my dreams very often. I'll tell you that I have (in real life) shown up to school with two different shoes on, had mild clothing malfunctions, and made the wrong photocopies at least three times. My biggest tip is to handle every situation with grace and humor - kids will remember our reaction more than the incident itself, and this is what they learn from. So, admit you got dressed in the dark, fix the tear with a safety pin, and get them working on something without photocopies. You got this.

Clearly there's a theme here: we all have a great fear of not being our best selves on the first day, whether it's because a lack of preparation or the inability to take control of the situation. Luckily, we all know that these nightmares are just the stuff of dreams, as long as we go into that first day with a good plan (and all of our clothes on and matching!). As Danielle, from Nouvelle ELA said, "you've got this." 

What are your back-to-school nightmares? We'd love to hear them!

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