Anxious Teacher Dreams

I just have to say it. I heart our little teacher residency team. They do such a good job. Indulge me because I want to take a moment to praise them: Laura, Randall, Stacy, Veronica, and Orin. Here's a nice note from a recent alum.

Hello Orin (and the rest of the wonderful MTR team),

First of all I wanted to thank you so much for my wonderful care package. I also wanted to let you know that it came on a day when I was already appreciating the shit out of MTR.

Little update on life at our school. 5 weeks ago, right after my check in with you, one of the other math teachers left. (Unclear really if X was fired or quit).

Because Z (Great, experienced teacher) and I were both teaching the same class, we were the obvious choice for some sort of short term solution. Z was temporarily moved to teach X's classes. I picked up a couple sections of Z's classes.

Things are going great and I am loving the added responsibility. We have been working the last few weeks with fractions pieces and rulers and I have been struggling a little bit with some small noises during silent work time as well as expectations around manipulatives.

This is where you guys come in. I had a teaching dream last Thursday night.

I was proctoring study hall (back in a MATCH class room) and you were observing me. It was not the tightest or legit-est study hall every. There were kids out of their seats, there was some whispering and some small noises. I addressed many behaviors but did not really do anything about it. When the bell rang you got out of your seat in the back, flip cam in hand and said something along the lines of "Yikes, lets talk."

I woke up horrified that that was your reaction to my "class" and decided that I needed to do something about it. (In real life). I came in Friday and did an expectations of silent work reset in all 4 of my classes. I was explicitly clear with my directions about where hands and materials needed to be at all times, used a million cfu's to make sure that we were all on the same page and issued demerits for students who were not following the directions we had just discussed.

I had kick ass classes with all 4 sections and felt really good about it all. It was as if I had just had an MTR debrief about what to do and even some real time in the back of the room. You guys were "with me" on Friday. After teaching, I came back to a package on my desk from you guys. The care package. It was perfect timing as if to say "Nice work, keep it up."

Thank you so much for all that you have done for me. I would not be where I was with out your coaching, guidance and continued support!

This is a real phenomenon. Rookie teacher dreams. It's anxiety-causing work. Usually we hear about dreams far more intense than this. Teacher naked in classroom. Huge fight breaks out. Etc.

Orin wrote back:

I LOVED getting this email today. Really, means a ton to me to hear that MTR is still a little voice in your ear that says, “You can fix any problem. You have the tools. Just get to work.” I know that came out in your dream as, “Yikes, let’s talk,” but I’ll take it!

To give you some sense of perspective on my first year of teaching vs. yours: the recurring dream I had all year involved my students dressed as cops pulling me over on dark, North Carolina country roads. The cops were arresting me for not doing a good enough job as their teacher. Seriously. I’d be driving at night and would all of sudden see flashing lights in my rearview. I’d pull over, and one of my kids, dressed as a cop (but still in the same little kid body) would tell me to step out of the car, handcuff me, and take me to jail for being a shitty teacher.

I probably had some version of that dream a half-dozen times in my first year. It was classic, “You’re right, I suck” thinking. I’m glad we did better by you! I'll visit soon to see you in action. Until then, know that you made my day.