Monday, June 8, 2009

Nick Nolte: Get out of my Dream

I've had four dreams about teaching since school was out -- most of them involved classes of sixty two out of control kids wearing hats, smoking cigarettes, and making threatening gestures at the wall posters (well, they were -- I think it was Wingate's poster of Lenin). I have no idea how that poster arrived in my dream.... Wingate took that poster and vamoosed last year. Wingate told her classes how her sister smuggled it out of Russia in the 1960s. Myth? Maybe, but it sure made a good classroom story...

Dreaming about the classroom is nothing new to a teacher (even now apparently a retired one)-- usually my nightmares include showing up to teach in my underwear, being unable to find my classroom or my classroom has moved, or perhaps, even having to teach physics or Algebra I. I taught Algebra I once in my dream; I was very good at it. I had linear and quadratic equations on the board and radicals and quasi-radicals on worksheets. I was as uncomfortable as a poor girl at the ATM. I woke up in a cold sweat from that one. I blame the cold sweat on the residual effect of being taught Algebra I in ninth grade by the legendary Reverend Rogers; needless to say, I was a lousy math student. As I have said on more than one occasion, "I liked math until they added the abc's."

Aside: Yep, Reverend Ruth Rogers, scariest human on earth at the time --- she called the roll by calling each student Brother and Sister. I can still remember the roll -- Brother Blair, Brother Coppolino, Brother Davis, Sister Finch, Sister Finch (twins), Sister Floyd, and so on -- until she got to Sister McDaniel -- I still get chills. Rev. Rogers wore polyester shirtwaist dresses with a black belt cinched at the waist, thick support hose, and practical shoes. She probably weighed close to two hundred pounds. Her practical shoes were black brogans, capable of stomping my little puny self to death. She told me once when I tried to fake my way through a problem at the board that she was gonna "smother me in my sleep" if I ever tried to pull that kind of shenanigan again in her classroom. She used to bring burly football players to their knees. Yes, she was an ordained minister with a mean streak. She was also female, and well, in my high school years, female ministers actually given their own church were few and far between. Perhaps, Reverend Rogers was miffed that the Lord made her deal with "dimwits and scatterbrains." She was a fabulous teacher who somehow placed fear and intimidation into a learning experience. I learned Algebra; I had no choice. Either learn it or die .. what a great teaching strategy!

Last night I dreamed that I was moving out of my classroom on the first day of school, and Nick Nolte was helping me. Yep, he was packing boxes of temper paint, ice cream sandwiches, and lots of pencils. The classroom I was in was full of shelving and doors -- the whole back of the classroom was lined with shelves full of all kinds of junk: boxes of rubber bands, drinking glasses, and the usual classroom fare -- pencils, pens, paper, file folders, books, and dittos. Nick helped me pack by wielding a huge box cutter that he kept slinging around like a serial killer. I kept thinking he was gonna cut me or himself or the students who were looking for the teacher who was supposed to be in that classroom. I found myself apologizing for Nick, the box cutter, the mess, the misunderstanding that this wasn't my classroom and the fact that I wasn't teaching anymore.

Meanwhile, Nick broke many of the glasses from the shelf. I found myself with a broom in hand and stepping on the glass. I was carrying that broom around with me as I tried to pack, answer the door, and keep away from the box cutter.

Every few minutes, it seemed, an administrator would show up with a clipboard, a stopwatch, and highlighters. All of them wore matching shorts and t-shirts that blazoned "Charge." I remember thinking how odd the shorts were -- I guess I was never concerned about the meaning of "charge." It was a confusing dream full of worry, angst, and a feeling that I was never gonna get that room packed. Nick didn't stay the whole time. Later he changed into Steve R. a former student of mine at DCHS who became a policeman. Steve did not have a pair of box cutters; I guess Nick took them when he left. I woke up in the night, got up, and made some notes on the dream so I could write it up. That's when I know that I am already worried that I might have to tell another Publix story.

I wonder about the meaning of Nick Nolte, the box cutters, and drinking glasses. Yo, Phillip, if you are reading my blog, perhaps you can do a little dream interpretation for me?

That's all I got.


  1. theme! New theme colors, at least. Much better than before.

  2. Thanks Fred -- one of my ex-magnet students gave me some advice. if I get famous, she's gonna get some of the revenue.

    Only not.

  3. It's good to know that even though you've retired we still get to hear about the crazy dreams. In some ways they make me sad, because I don't think I've remembered a dream that I had since I was ten or so. It's almost like not dreaming at all. So don't take your dreams for granted, even if they are a litte...odd.


  4. I keep checking for today's blog, but nothing yet. Get on with it! What do you think you are . . . retired?

  5. This story seems so pertinent right now. I'm at KSU in the math lab, watching Emi pretend to teach math to the poor souls that wander into this place.

    X: Hi, I have a question about [insert problem]
    Emi: Well. Let's see here. What do 'you' think answer is?
    Blake: [evil chuckle]
    Emi: [glare]
    X: Umm, 7?

    I told her I was reading about your dreams, to which she responds, "I had a dream about Gillam last night. We saw her in a grocery store." Minutes later you crack a joke at your own expense about having to tell another Publix story.

  6. Oh. That's absolutely astounding. I thought there was something about the Double-X Chromosomes that made a woman crave verbal abuse.