Substitute Teacher

Last night I dreamed I taught two classes. One was my class which was fine. The other  was subbing the first day of a class in a subject I knew nothing about and for which I had no prep materials. Turns out it was a class in “Life” I walked into the room and was blinded by the light coming from the west windows. “Ah, this room,” I said.

I’d taught in that room before. It was harsh in the late afternoon.

The students were all waiting and were disappointed when I wasn’t “their” teacher, the one they’d signed up for. I explained it was just one day, that I’d do the usual take attendance, introduce the book and so on. I said I was sorry. Their prof was stuck at an airport somewhere.

“You don’t like our room?” asked the smart ass.

“It’s OK. Just a little shocking to walk into after the dark hallway.”

“So you bitch about it?”

“Look,” I said. “You’re not going to do that. We have things to do today, and we’re going to do them. You can save your smart ass comments for your real teacher, OK?”

“Fuck you,” he said.

I ejected him from my subjective reality, a technique I’d used many times in dealing with the multitudinous smart-asses of the world. There’s one in every group and it’s no coincidence. They are ubiquitous.

It was a class on what to expect from life. On top of the pile of papers I was to hand out was one shining gold paper with the word “God” on it in big, black letters.

Of course it was abysmal. I looked through the materials while they wrote a writing sample the prof had asked for. He/she had laid out a first day lecture (had he/she planned to be stuck at an airport?) and I went at it when the students were done writing, but it was gobbledygook. Finally, I summarized it. “Life arrives in stages, which, because of biology, correspond roughly with certain ages. From 1 to 3, we’re babies. At 3 we start being children. From 3 to 10 or so we are avidly learning about our world. Then, around 10 — 12 for most, younger for some — we move quickly toward biological maturity.”

“Puberty, teacher.”

“Yep. We’re in this nebulous hormone driven area until 23 or so when our brains are fully matured and we are ready to take our place as adults in society.”

The smart ass said, “Duh. And then what?”

“I’m not telling. You’re nearly there, all of you. I think it’s better if you don’t know.”

“We signed up for this class to learn about that!”

“I’m not your professor and it’s not my job. Besides, you can’t predict the future. As far as I’m concerned, all you have to do is look around at other people, older people, to see enough of the future. But, you won’t believe what you see. That’s human life, too.”

“What about you? What about your life?”

Des Lebens labyrinthisch irren Lauf.”  I said and grinned. “One fucked up wrong turn after another along life’s booby-trapped highway.”

“God, I don’t want to reach your age and be all bitter like you,” said the smart ass.

“I’m not bitter. Not at all, but it is how it is. Everyone. All right, I’ll tell you…”

And I woke up.


10 thoughts on “Substitute Teacher

  1. Pretty fun and also thought igniting..Is that your ‘self’ in different forms having conversation?.. Dream, an amazing world.. i wonder when we wake up on this side of our existence it is definitely a dream for the me on the other side? Oh no, it’s like as long as we dream we , the traveling we, never sleep. it is just the body who gets rest :p
    God, by Your Grace wake me up in Real Reality!

      • I think it was 2003 I was riding my mountain bike and I looked at a hill. The sun was behind the hill. The hill had an acid green aura. I said, “That can’t be real.” Then the thought hit me, “What’s real, anyway?” That question led me down a rabbit hole of mild psychosis and depression. I think it’s an important question, but a dangerous one.

      • That question led me to this- all are but in one place. Reflecting the reality in different forms. For example: when I look into the mirror I see a side of me clearly. Our reflections on the water are different from calm water to wavey ones. Our reflection on sand is just a silhouette shadow, dramatically different than that in the mirror and water. All r but reflection of one. Rumi said, we too r to be mirrors if we choose to know the reality. The best way is to be clean of all dusts and let the Real reflection be clearer. I pray to God, ‘I submit to Thee, now take me in Your hands, cleanse me as this mirror can’t be clean all by itself without Your Help. It is only by Your Grace that i submit to Thee!’

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