I can't tell you how happy I was to wake up the other morning to find all my teeth in their proper places. The night before I had had a dream so vivid and drawn out that I couldn't distinguish it from reality. In this dream my molars—both sides, top and bottom—cracked down the middle, and I had to pull them out. They were still lined in rows when I pulled them out. It simply looked like I had bridges that had split in half as a result of controlled gnashing.
At one point during the dream I thought I was aware of the dream state. Then I felt the bloody sockets where my teeth were supposed to be, felt the sting of a fresh wound, and became convinced I wasn't sleeping, that I'd have to go several years without any back teeth because I couldn't afford the dental work. The only thing that seemed out of place, that might have tipped me off to my state of mind: everyone I encountered in the dream—even people that have never been kind to me in real life, but for some reason made appearances—was surprisingly sympathetic to my dilemma.
So, yes, I was very pleased to wake up and run my tongue across a two full rows of filmy, morning-stanky teeth. Still, the vividness of the dream stuck with me all day. It got to the point where I looked up the meaning of my dream online. And being the fine educator and researcher that I am, I stopped searching for answers after the first website I cam across. Here are some of the things it told me:
- Dreams involving the loss of teeth are extremely common and are most often regarded by psychologists as signs that the dreamer is worried (consciously or sub-consciously) about the loss or weakening of his or her strength or self-confidence.
- Dreaming of losing some or all of one’s teeth can mean “losing it."
- To be toothless in a dream can be interpreted as loss of effectiveness.
There were other interpretations, but I felt that they didn’t apply. These ones were relevant to the circumstances surrounding the previous day’s events. They made sense to me. The day before I had this dream, my boss at Rasmussen observed me while I taught. It didn’t go very well (it never really seems to). And not because I wasn’t prepared or didn’t have a specific lesson—it didn’t seem to go well because class didn’t run as smoothly as it usually does.
I happen to like teaching at Rasmussen, because (generally speaking) the students there have very specific goals, and they don’t want to waste their time and money. I respect that. My class at MSU seems like the exact opposite: (in general) they don’t care about the subject or the material, just the grade; they’re shocked by the penalties I’ve set for late work (this is college, for fuck’s sake—I had professor’s in undergrad who wouldn’t even accept late work!); and they absolutely refuse to talk during discussion, even after I remind them that class participation makes up a portion of their grades.
But this bitchfest isn’t about MSU. Even though it kinda is.
The day I was observed, it just felt off. We didn’t click like we usually do, and I thought it showed. That’s when the discouragement started pouring over me. I got down because I thought the off day represented my ineffectiveness as a teacher. Which led to a slippery slope of justification for all the reasons I should get out of the field.
Reason number one for wanting to get out: my writing has suffered. It’s not that I don’t have time to write; I’ve been making time. The problem is that when I do write it’s a whole lot of shit. I know, I know. You’ve got to work through the shit in order to find the gold, and whatnot. Easier said than done. When I sit down to write, I can’t get into the dream or find out what my characters are thinking. The only thing that cycles through my mind is why the hell it took me an entire two-hour class period to teach college students what’s a thesis statement.
Maybe it’s because for-profit colleges don’t have admission requirements, which means some of the students they “accept” might not be college material?
Maybe that’s an unfair assumption. Maybe the ridiculously low wage I earn for the amount of work I’m doing is creating a level of bitterness that serious educators shouldn’t possess.
See. Right there. That’s what I’m talking about. A real teacher wouldn’t think that. A real teacher would want to help students, regardless of superficialities like pay. Right?
I still help my students. But I also think my bitterness is somewhat justified. My work comes home with me.
I’ve begun conducting new job searches, hoping to find some full time work. A few of the positions I’ll be applying to are teaching jobs, and I think the full time status will help ease some of my reluctance toward the profession. I’m tired of the commutes in opposite directions (77 miles to the south once a week, 21 miles to the north twice a week—those are one way figures, keep in mind). It’s literally and figuratively turning me around and making me dizzy. If I only have one work destination, with one set of policies and procedures, maybe I won’t be as down on myself as I have been. Maybe in my dreams my teeth will remain intact.