I am dreaming.

Last night I had the WORST DREAM EVER! Here’s how it went:

After a long day of sightseeing, I decide to not set my alarm and allow myself to sleep in, I thought, “Hey, Bobby. Tomorrow is Thursday, you have nothing to do except to plan for your class on Friday. Don’t worry about anything. Allow yourself to rest.” That was solid advise! Who wouldn’t take it!?

The sound of a phone ringing awakens me the next morning (still in the dream). With dream-like inspiration I am willed to answer it, I recognizing the number, Professor Ding, he selected me to be the English teacher for the Korean students, what could he want at 9:09 AM?

“Hello, Bobby?”

Answering in a confused, and albeit tired voice, “Yes, what do you need Ding?”

“Yes. You remember class?” He says, struggling with English, “They waiting for you. Where you at?”

“Oh! Yes! Yes! Yes! Of course, I am…” Utter shock washes over me, as if cold water had just soaked my naked body, I search for an excuse, “Yes. I got caught up doing something, I am on my way now… What room is it again?”

Rushing to grab decent looking clothes. God Bless this clothes line, everything I need is in reach. Ding responds, “International Student Building, room 208 or 209. I don’t know room exactly.” I think he bought the excuse, I’m saved. “Just walk in. They waiting for you,” his tone had changed, he didn’t.

Feeling the urge to apologize, to offer my first born son in honor, to regain face, I search my expansive vernacular for something elegant and heartfelt. “I’m sorry.” In all my years of schooling, that’s what I come up with? The dream, or the adrenaline, is foggy my clarity.

“No need worries. They just waiting for you.”

I hang up, and just as it would be in any dream, the next few visions are a blur. Clothes tried on, then removed. Face flushed red, splashed with water. Disheveled hair. My normal stroll down three flights of stairs is transformed in to a hobbled mess of trips and stumbles as I struggle to button and in my shirt, zip-up my pants, secure my shoes, and clutch my notebook and pencil–the only thing planned, to make it appear that I know what I’m doing. Running at a pace that I know will make it seem like I was in a rush, but not out of breath, I realize, “I don’t have a lesson plan!” No time to worry now, you know you wanted to make introductions and getting-to-know-you take up the first hour, for the next two hours… umm well… you do improv right? Eh, who am I kidding this is just a dream, it’ll all work itself out.

I enter the building. I pause just enough to readjust myself, something seems wrong International Students are normally in the other building, but this is exactly where Ding told me to go, well it’s too late now. Room 209, dud. He had said he couldn’t remember the number, no worries. Bounding into 208, “Hello everyon!!… Oh God! Sorry!” I close the door, quicker than I had opened it. My phone vibrates, a text, my cooperating teacher wants to know where I am–it is now 9:20, the class was schedule to start at 9–she ends the message quoting a message from the day before: “Your classroom is 506 in Building 4. ClassTime is every Friday. Thank you!” I rush out of the building, this time not caring about how flustered I’ll look when I finally get to the class, “Headed there now. Got lost.”

The added time has given me ideas: Have them write their sentences first, then make each one of them read it aloud, that’ll add more time. I arrive at the building, 9:34 am, I’ve added maybe 5 or 10 minutes to what I’m guessing is a now 50 minute lesson plan that should be scheduled for 3 hours. When will the dream in? My guess is soon, what class would wait over 30 minutes for their teacher to arrive?

The visions of the dream blur again. 17 faces are staring blankly at me, a blush-faced stranger just ended their conversations. “I’m sorry. So sorry! I got distracted by something this morning, then got a lost, and blah, blah, blah…” Did I just say, “blah, blah, blah” to a classroom full of students I’m being paid to teach? This has to be a dream. “Well, let’s get started. I’m going to be upfront, I want this class to be interesting, I don’t want this to be like the other classes your taking where you just sit there the entire time and have some old guy lecture to you the whole time.” The blank faces continue, they have no clue what I’m saying. I catch my breath, “How old are you all?” Whispers permeate the class, a dictionary appears on a desk, “Nineteen, twenty, twenty-one,” I hear someone answer from the back. “Exactly, I’m the same age as you,” blank stares, “I’m 21.” Laughter erupts. Yep, this is a dream. So much for taking the honest approach.

I begin writing on the board, laughter dies, “1) What is your name? 2) Tell me about your family. 3) Why are you here in China? 4) What is your favorite this to do?” Four simple questions, they begin writing. Time to plan. “I do improv right?” the question resurfaces. I pinch myself, hard. The idea of this being a dream begins to fade. I open my phone, improvencyclopedia.org, please give me something. “Three line scenes,” perfect I can transform that to work in a classroom. What else? “Pass a topic,” how will that work? I hear chatter, time for them to begin reading. Their English isn’t bad, but this is just an elective class, their main purpose is Chinese.

It’s blurry again. I’ve embarrassed myself, I’m jumping at one point. Words are on the board, “faverite,” that’s not spelled correctly. “Why is the sky blue?” Ugh, why did I just ask that? Are these kids? no, peers? no, students? taking me seriously? 11:40. Could it almost be over? “Next week, what do you want to learn?”

Someone says, “American Culture,” heads nod to agree.

“What does that even mean?” I say under my breath. “Consider it done,” I say aloud. “Class is over,” I lean against the chalkboard, close my eyes, take a deep breath, for a moment, I still believe it, “Teacher Bobby, thanks! That was fun,” I am dreaming.

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