Friday, August 16, 2019

School Dreams

Just about every year for the last 44, I’ve ended summer at a family cottage on Lake Michigan. That’s when the school dreams—or nightmares—begin to kick in. And so as I prepare my 45th—and last—year at The San Francisco School, the pattern holds. 

It began with realizing I had a 5thgrade class about to enter and had no idea what I was going to do. While I was frantically looking at my last year’s planning book, the class had entered and seated themselves in the room’s hallway in complete silence. I passed out cups for them to balance on their head and explained that if they talked or the cup dropped, they were out. Naturally, they started talking and the kids weren’t following the rules. So I made a new one that those out would be the judges to see who else was talking. While I was playing piano, one (who I will be teaching this year!) was shouting and trying to steal things from a refrigerator and I restrained her and she started punching me and I threatened to call her parents. Meanwhile, my colleague James had entered and let me know that he  was supposed to be teaching 5thgrade and he had his class all planned. I asked if I could finish it and on it went. 

Then the dream switched to packing up to leave a hotel. I was naked in the bathroom brushing my teeth when the maid came to clean the room and she just stood there waiting for me. I suggested she start by making the bed, got dressed and packed up. My wife and daughter and I rolled the suitcases outside and I was sitting with them on a busy street corner while they went to do something. An old friend passed by and I went to talk to him and when I turned around, all the suitcases were gone. Not a happy night of dreaming!

Meanwhile, the daydreams of the opening day of school have begun as I get ready to shoulder the heavy wheel of the school year to get it rolling. Only this year, everything will feel different knowing it’s my last. I can imagine each milestone—“My last Opening Ceremony! Last Halloween! Last Holiday Plays! Last St. George and the Dragon!" And so on.

Well, as they say, one day at a time. And this day, my last full day at the lake with my wife, daughter and two delightful grandchildren, is awaiting me.

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