Today, I teach. Well, actually, no. "Teaching" somehow traditionally implies that I, the "teacher," know something that "students" don't, and that my job is to transfer that piece of knowledge from my head to theirs. I "taught" for many years, always painfully conscious of how little I knew. And I think that this understanding contributed significantly to my having left academia more than twenty years ago, back in the mid-eighties. I'm still in recovery.
So I don't really "teach." What I do is participate in a forum in which I'm privileged discover a little more about myself even as I help others, I hope, discover a little more about themselves. I like to think that it's a more Buddhist approach.
I dreamed last night--no coincidence!--about teaching. I have been dreaming quite a lot lately, and remembering more of my dreams than I usually do. Last night I dreamed I had accepted a teaching job at a college somewhere, I thought, in the Midwest. I arrived to find a friendly campus, designed like a children's playground, all its constituent architectural elements put together out of colorful molded plastic parts. I was struck by the politeness everywhere, with students and faculty unfailing addressing each other as "Mr." this and "Miss" that. My living quarters, though, were tiny, with just enough room to sit, stand, or lie, and hang a few clothes. I was puzzled, but not particuarly unhappy with the arrangement. I thought I could make do.
My classroom, when I arrived there to teach (French language was my subject) was next to the college cafeteria, where students were working in a politely relaxed kind of way. Several of them turned out to be my students, taking off their aprons to join the class. But getting into the classroom, it seemed, involved a distinctly athletic activity, using handholds to haul oneself up a green plastic facade to reach the entry. Unwilling to undertake this hazardous journey, I led the students up a stairway to what I thought might be an easier back entrance--but alas, when we got there we found the back wall sealed. The dream ended as I wondered what to do next.
Maybe I'll start my class this morning by telling them this dream...