I walked into my classroom, chairs and desks were askew, papers blanketed the floor in dust and debris. Class was starting soon. I rearranged the desks, never in rows but in pods. Just as I was taking a deeper breath, feeling there was some semblance of order after cleaning white boards and bulletin boards, an administrator came in to say that before my class would start, another teacher and class would be using my room. I turned around, students were entering the science lab that was currently closed. My heart rate accelerated. Panic rose from my stomach to my throat. I raced about shooing students back into the room, getting papers picked up and gathering my gradebook and lesson plans to work on while the other teacher used my room. My breathing became shallow, and before I could scream, I woke up!

August pre-school nightmares continue to pop up every year even though I’ve been retired from the classroom for nine-years. Months come and go, and I forget. Then, there it is, the August School Nightmare. Most teachers experience this phenomena. Elliot, my husband, says, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.” So I expect the dreams will continue.

The flip side of this dream reminds me how much joy I feel seeing the light go on in a child when they have their aha moment, realize their passion, feel good about something they’ve done and can ask the deeper question. And I’m awed of educators who continue to perform superhuman tasks under difficult circumstances improving our world one child at a time.

As I read this piece aloud, Elliot reminded me that yesterday, after having the nightmare, I cleaned my office, dusting shelves, eliminating old paperwork and culling through books to donate to the library. He said, “You aren’t aware that you continue your August ritual, you just do it in a different room. Once a teacher, always a teacher!