Updated: Jan 13
SEGMENT 1: I was driving out of the teachers' parking lot at the primary school where I was teaching when I noticed a little boy bullying another boy who was talking on a cellphone.
I observed as the bully took the other boy’s phone and I rolled down the car window and called out to him just as he threw the phone on the ground at the boy’s feet.
I called out to the boy and instructed him to approach my car. I told him to walk over and pick the phone up and hand it nicely to the boy.
The bully went over and picked up the phone, but instead of handing it to the boy as I had instructed, he walked back over to my car and handed me the phone through the window and walked away.
I called out to him but he ignored me.
Just then, a young woman who identified herself as the bully’s babysitter walked over and apologized for his bad behavior and told me she would make sure the boy would get his phone back, which I handed to her, and she walked away towards the school entrance.
SEGMENT 2: I was teaching at Mather High School on my first day back after many years (in my real life, I graduated from Mather High in 1981 and 11 years later, taught English there during graduate school).
I was bit disoriented and unable to find my classroom and ended up in the boys’ locker room where I encountered two young boys (too young to have been in high school) arguing. I intervened as did another teacher who was nearby and we separated the boys, each of us taking one of the boys back to their respective home rooms. However, the boy in my charge refused to get dressed and he walked out of the locker room and back to his class stark naked.
After leaving the boy, I continued walking aimlessly around the corridors looking for my classroom.
SEGMENT 3: I had returned to a university to teach after a long absence (the school was an amalgamation of three schools where I taught in Chicago and The Hague).
At first, I had noticed the school was undergoing a major renovation (The real life Hotelschool The Hague, where I taught from 2012-2018, is currently undergoing such a renovation and has been posting photos on social media) and I wandered around the construction works looking for my classroom.
I recognized a former colleague and friend Janet Coulombe (who worked at a different school in The Hague where I taught from 2010-2012), and hovered around her office trying to get her attention to no avail as she was engaged in a telephone conversation.
Then I decided to make my way through a series of hallways and stairways in an attempt to find my classroom.
Finally, I came upon the administrative offices where I would surely find someone who could help me find my way. The offices were located in the old 11th Street Theater in Chicago (the theatre was in the same building where my grandmother worked as an executive secretary to the president of the Midwest Region Headquarters of the United Synagogues of America for more than 30 years. The theatre and the entire building was later sold to Columbia College of Chicago, where I taught English Composition from 1993 to 1995).
I walked up a short flight of stairs only to notice a large notice board that had a listing of all the teachers’ names and their corresponding classes. The names were listed alphabetically with the teacher’s first initial and surname. Finding my surname on the board, I noticed the R in my first name—as well as the classroom number—were missing.
At the bottom of the board was a solitary letter P that seemed to not be being used, so I removed it from the board and carried it away thinking I could modify the P and turn it into an R.
Walking through more narrow corridors and a series of un-even floors and stairways that seemed to connect different wings of the building, I came up some empty offices (also apparently undergoing some kind of renovation) and decided to set up in the smaller of the offices that seemed to be unused.
I sat down at the desk, which was covered with construction debris, and rolled up the window shade looking out over a back-alleyway cityscape.
Then I woke up.