Back to school this week, which has always meant for me, as student and teacher, pangs of anxiety and apprehension that nibble more and more at any peace of mind I’ve managed to establish through the break as The Day approaches.
Been waiting for years to grow up and get over it.
Still waiting, although the pangs are immeasurably diminished, more a self-indulgent memory of anxiety than the real thing, because all Back to School means for me now is the resumption of teaching music at home.
But their continued presence makes me wonder: What insecurities do they stem from? What fears of inadequacy and failure?
Do all teachers feel this way?
From time to time, even after all these years of teaching, I have this recurring dream in which I’m in a classroom and I’m totally unprepared and have to face a class for the next 45 minutes or more with not one foggy clue what I’m going to do. Where does the dream come from? Did it actually happen to me? (Don’t think so. If it did, I’ve successfully blocked it from my memory.) I’ve had the dream all the years I’ve been teaching. Had it again a week or two ago. It seems to lurk in my subconscious and just when I think it’s gone for ever, there it is again, creeping out of the mud of my mind to disturb me all over again.
So why do it? Why still teach?
I’ll get to that.