So last night I had a dream in which as I was heading to my calc class to teach, I realized that there had been a “substitute” teacher scheduled for today (I guess because the person who was originally supposed to teach the course needed to be gone that day and had booked the sub in advance). I was a little bit nervous about this because I thought my students might like this dude more, so I decided to just go to class and pretend I was a student so that I could see how well he taught.
I go in there and sit in one of the empty seats. For whatever reason, the attendance is really low that day—maybe 30 or so students are there—so it’s pretty easy to just kind of sit in the corner alone.
This dude puts up some PowerPoint slides and starts in on teaching, but is quickly interrupted by students asking him “why do your notes look different than Claudia’s?” or “why don’t you make your notes like Claudia?” or “why can’t you teach it the way Claudia teaches it?”
This devolves into the students asking him where I am, so I decide to blow my cover (I’m wearing a hat—the perfect disguise!) to tell them that I’m here, but I’ll just be observing that day. The students don’t really like that and keep insisting that I should teach instead of this guy.
So the guy kind of just looks at them and says something like, “am I really that bad?” and when the students affirm this, he just breaks down crying and goes to hide behind some of the desks.
I follow him and just try to console him, telling him it’s nothing personal, it’s just that the students have had me teach all semester and were used to that style. He keeps crying, so eventually I just ask him if he wants me to take over for him. He nods, and I go up to the front of the room and start teaching. I actually end up teaching regression, which is not what I should have been teaching them, obviously (the room was clearly my calc room and not my stats room), but then I woke up.
To me, it’s clear that in this dream, the dude represents me and my thoughts/concerns about being a good math instructor, whereas “me” represents how I feel about teaching stats. One feels competent (at least, competent enough), the other feels like a royal failure.