School dreams and stress

For many years, in spite of the fact that I enjoyed my teaching career, I had what I called my “school dreams” in the days leading up to each new school year.  These were dreams in which everything went wrong.  All a teacher’s worst nightmares would visit me as the end of August approached! One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about retirement has been the absence of these dreams; until recently that is.

Why in the world would I be having school dreams again more than seven years after retiring from the classroom? It happened again last night. This time, I was trying to teach a high school English lesson to a large class of students in a crowded area at the back of a busy hairdressing salon! Yes, my school dreams are like that; a curious mixture of realistic and just plain weird. Midway through the lesson, all but two of the students got up and went upstairs to some sort of student lounge. In spite of my pleading and threatening (definitely not effective teaching strategies), they refused to come down again. Over the years students leaving class and refusing to come back has been a fairly common theme in these dreams.

Teaching is a stressful occupation and during my career, though I anticipated the beginning of each new school year with excitement, I recognized that my strange dreams were a symptom of that stress.

Over the past 14 months, my life has been a series of one stressful event after another. I thought I was coping well but little by little, with each ensuing event, the stress built up until now it’s beginning to bubble over. According to the Holmes and Rahe Life Events Stress Test, which is supposed to give a rough estimate of how stress affects health, events including death of a close family member (Mom), major personal illness (cancer) and major change in health of a family member (Dad) have given me a 50-50 chance of succumbing to stress-related illness. I’m doing my best to combat that by continuing to eat well, exercise regularly and by ensuring that I get enough sleep but it’s absolutely amazing what’s stored away in the deep recesses of our brains. Apparently, mine still connects stress to teaching and  is reacting to my current stress level with school dreams! How weird is that!

Now the challenge is to find ways to reduce the build up of stress and manage it better in the future.

Any suggestions?



12 thoughts on “School dreams and stress

  1. Obviously the normal things aren’t working. I’m a cop-out – for me there is better living through chemistry. I find crocheting a really good destressor. I can set you an easy pattern to make pneumonia vets for refugee medical kits – then you are destressing and contributing at the same time.

  2. PS I still have school dreams. I have 2 lockers, only know 1 combination, my schedule & books are in the other locker and I don’t know where it is. And the hallways are every school I ever attended. I wasn’t even a teacher.

  3. Get a dog.
    Bahahahahah! heck, no, don’t do that. Just remember life could be worse – you could have puppy poop on the floor.

    • I have incorporated a number of yoga stretches into my morning exercise routine which is an integral part of my wellness regime. I’ve done them with grandchildren but never with a dog! 🙂

  4. My mother in law was a teacher for almost 40 years and when she had to retire, she couldn’t let go. In fact she still talks to children like she would her students. She loved spending her days with the grandchildren doing paper projects, drawing or just simply listening to them read. Slowly she learned to let go especially when the grandchildren are all big now and moved away and her husband that she doted on left her for good to be with the creator. She’s now making friends (other than children and kids) and joined a church group and travel with the group around the world. Your story made me think of her. I hope you are coping with the stress well.. yoga helps actually.. I for one find relieve and comfort in puzzles, which is to my husband’s horror. he said he’d be on his way to the hospital if he were to turn to puzzle in stressful moments! 😉

    • I’m glad that your mother-in-law has finally been able to move on and enjoy her retirement. It sounds like she must have been a wonderful teacher.

      What kind of puzzles do you enjoy doing? My husband likes doing jigsaw puzzles and often suggests that we should do them together.

      • Wow, me too! I do jigsaw and sudoku. My best so far is 2,000 pcs of types of pasta strewn together randomly that is now framed and up on my kitchen wall. It’s a reminder of how stressful I was! Roberto thinks I am not ‘normal’ 😉 He said he’d go bonkers if asked to do jigsaw puzzle in time of stress!

  5. Pingback: The meaning of dreams | Following Augustine

I welcome your opinion. Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s