Here's how I know it's August. Cooler nights. North Idaho Fair. Aisles and aisles of school supplies at Target. And first day of school nightmares.
Since I started teaching 14 years ago, I have had at least one nightmare about the first day of school sometime during the end of August. Usually about the time I start working in my classroom. Two days last week were spent cleaning and organizing my room. So this weekend the dream came. There are a few things that these dreams always have in common. First, I'm never ready: my room is a mess and I don't know what I'm doing. Second, there are way more students than I thought I was having in my class. Third, there are parents around getting in my way and trying to boss me. And last, the kids misbehave, refuse to listen to me, and are just naughty.
Sometimes the dreams are silly. Like the year I dreamt that my class was full of rock stars. Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Eddie Van Halen, and Slash all stuffed into kindergarten sized chairs. But unlike my other dreams, they were all very well behaved. That actually could have been a fun year!
But this 2010 dream was rather disturbing. Messy room? Check. Too many kids? Check. Annoying parents? Check. Naughty kids? Check. But if that wasn't enough, the kids were kindergartners the size of high schoolers. All taller than me. (Not that that's saying much.) And when I wanted them to line up to go to chapel they refused to be quiet and walk in a line. Once I finally herded them upstairs and got them seated, they still talked and played and were disrespectful. Then when it was time to go, they all went running out of the room. As I went chasing them, some of them went into a small room around the corner and started shooting blow darts at me! Not just spitballs. Actual DARTS! Ooh, that made me mad. Then when I got back to the classroom, the rest of the kids had left for recess without permission. Except for one boy named Pheadrus (it said it on his name tag) who was sitting quietly in his desk. Thanks, Pheadrus. Our principal came in and asked me if I needed help. By that time I was really mad, and therefore I did NOT need help. Shortly thereafter the kids all came in and sat down. And boy did they get an earful. Even the dart blowers were scared and sat quietly. I took control and soon they were all sweet little kindergartners. Well, not so little. They were still all 6 feet tall. And all would have been good, if it weren't for that mom sitting in my chair with her feet up on my desk.
Then I woke up. I still felt kind of mad. But mostly I just thought, "What was that about?" And then I sighed a sigh of relief knowing that if nothing else, all the students who walk into my classroom next Tuesday will at least be shorter than me.