Nightmares of a College Professor
I have not slept peacefully these last few nights. My inner subconscious must
be preparing for the nueva semester, which commences next week.
I was in a classroom with lab tables and bunsen burners, 10 year old children crowded around hooting and hollering like they were hopped up on bath salts or sinusitis drugs or whatever else people snort these days.
I addressed the class: good morning, please open your books. But the shrieking did not stop. Someone swung from a chandelier. (Yes, my dream labs have fancy french lighting.) Papers, books, and fists were flying. So then I broke out the big guns, my extremely loud authoritative voice (which in reality probably sounds like mickey mouse). MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE.
Nobody noticed I was there. Chaos ensued, and I lost the power to speak. Freudian, no?
Then comes the part where I woke up in a cold sweat, wondering how the hell I’m going to face the class tomorrow after that shit show. The sense of relief I feel upon the realization that it was ‘just a dream’ never feels that great, because the lost-control-disaster-scenario is always just a hair’s width away.
In reality, I have never had a lord of the flies type situation occur. I’ve certainly had a handful of ‘problem’ students who were disruptive and challenged my authority in the classroom, and while there were times where I got flustered, I never gave up control of the conch. If someone turns their dickhead level up to 11, I know what to do. But as someone who doesn’t like confrontation in my personal life (who does?), I have come to dread these mini-chaos in the lab type scenarios. The ones where people whip out their phones while I lecture, say horribly graphic or offensive things to the class, or accuse me of being racist because they aren’t happy with their grade.
I know that all jobs come with positives and negatives.. maybe this is just another reason why academia isn’t for me. I hate dealing with this particular set of negatives.
In post offices and on trains around the world, there’s usually a sign expressing some variation of this sentiment: “Our workers deserve the courtesy of doing their job without being harassed. Attacking/Harassing our staff may lead to fine or arrest.”
As must as I wish I didn’t need one, I’d like one for my classroom.