Last night I had a nightmare about the worst possible instruction session I could imagine. I woke up this morning so happy it was just a dream that I had to share its craziness with the world. Get this…
The dream starts off with me in front of a group of high schoolers, not my usual group but also not out of the ordinary, and I’m providing a fairly standard research instruction session. There was a free-standing whiteboard behind me to my left, and the students’ teacher sat behind it with a colleague and a bunch of younger-aged kids. My focus was on the high school students, who were not focused on me. (Story of my life.) As their talking grew louder and louder, I realized that I was losing them. This is when things start to get crazy.
To gain everyone’s attention I scream. And I’m not talking about a loud “Hey.” I mean a blood curdling, horror movie scream. It works on the students for the most part, but I sense screaming their ears off was not the most appropriate thing to do. (You know, not very professional and all that.) Nevertheless, I proceed with my attention-getting mission by walking behind the whiteboard to ask the teacher and her colleague to be quiet. I did not ask politely. I don’t remember my exact phrasing, but her response definitely still echos through my mind. She said, “No.” I decide to negotiate by asking her to bring her volume down a little, and she agrees to do so. My attention then turns to the random assortment of young kids around her, who readily obeyed my commands for quiet. (Somebody listens!)
Feeling like I’ve gotten some control of the classroom again, I return to the front of the room and try to get back on topic. (At this point in the dream, I have a vague sense that I was talking about information gatekeepers and access issues. I have no idea why.) My control does not last; the students in the back of the class start to get up and leave right in the middle of my lesson!!! Soon all of the students have left, the teachers and younger students were gone, and I am left alone. (*sigh*) I chase after the high school students, who are heading up a walkway away from the classroom, and I just start yelling at them. “SHEEP!” “SHEEP!!” At the time, calling them sheep made perfect sense.
At this point, I realize I have completely lost control of the situation, but I keep yelling. One student who had sat in the front row earlier (I think) felt sorry for me so and decides to stay behind with me. While happy that one student understands the importance of libraries, I feel pretty ashamed of myself. I am a disgrace. As I start to push ahead and continue the lesson with the one student, the teacher returns to the classroom and let’s me know that the school is closing because of an emergency. We need to evacuate immediately. That’s why all the students were leaving! They got a text message about the school closing and didn’t bother to tell me!!! So here I am sitting in the classroom, having gotten a student to stay with me and thereby put her life at risk, while everyone flees to safety. At this point I wake up.
Hahahahaha. In one little dream I scream bloody murder in order to get attention in a classroom, argue with a teacher, scare little kids, get ditched by a whole class of students, and endangered a student’s life. Worst instruction session ever! I’m so happy it didn’t really happen, or I’d be in so much trouble with my boss.
I admit, as I laid awake this morning all I could think about was more appropriate ways to handle such a situation. (I’m such an instruction librarian sometimes.) In real life, I don’t think I’d go for yelling so much. I’m more a friend of uncomfortable silence.