One day, in my first year of teaching, I was giving a lesson to English language learners on nouns and adjectives. At one point I had them pair nouns and adjectives in unusual but plausible ways–I wanted them to consider combinations that weren’t obvious.
One student offered the combination “dreamy teacher.”
Another student said, “You’re a dreamy teacher, Miss.”
“Yeah, Miss. You’re always dreaming of things you’re going to do with us in class.”
I gulped. “You can tell?”
(Later I started insisting that they learn my last name, difficult as it might be.)
I often think back on that class. I was a dreamy teacher in my first year. Nothing seemed impossible to me; I directed English language learners in a full-length production of the Wizard of Oz, and I spent most of my time planning things for my students. I was also an inexperienced teacher (at least in public school teaching–I had taught a few college courses and summer classes). Over the next few years I gained experience and lost just a sliver of the dreaminess–not much, but a perceptible amount, at least to me. I think exhaustion was the main cause, but I also became aware of what teachers were supposed to do–and most of that stuff wasn’t dreamy.
This year I have stepped back from teaching to write a book. I sense some of that dreaminess coming back. I hope that when I return to the classroom I will be both practical and dreamy.
(This is my last day of guest-blogging for Joanne Jacobs. It has been an honor to do this. I hope to post one more piece today.)