"A classroom? Paul, you love school. What's the big deal about being in a classroom?" I'm glad you asked. The strange thing about this classroom is that I know I have been there in my dreams before. It's a recurring dream - a dream I'm having difficulty with many different nights. Here's what happens: I'm in a classroom - an all white classroom. There are few windows on one side of the room, but mostly the room is made up of four white painted walls. Also, in the room is a teacher about sixty years old and bald headed (I have no idea why he's bald headed). I never feel comfortable around this man. He makes me feel tense. The room is also filled with students - apparently we're in high school . . . maybe college . . . not sure. The students are not seated in individual rows. Rather we are all seated in a circle. Everyday we come into the room and go through our exercises. I'm not sure what they are, but I know we do them each day we have class. Here's the problem: there is one assignment that the entire class has finished that for some reason I have never known about. It centers on a book - a book that everyone has read except me, because like I said, I didn't know about it.
Then comes final exam time. The exam is oral, and my personal oral exam requires me to spell, as I stand up in front of the entire class, a long list of words. The teacher looks at me and recites the first word. I spell it correctly (I'm not a bad speller), but the teacher says I'm wrong. Hmm . . . that makes me feel uneasy. "I'm sure I spelled that word right," I think to myself. Then the second word - same thing happens. In fact, the same thing happens again and again and again. I'm spelling the words right, but I'm getting them wrong. The class of students are becoming very disgusted, and the teacher is looking at me with loathsome eyes. After fifteen "misspelled words" the final word is presented to me - it's a name: Abraham Lincoln. Again, I spell it right, but I get it wrong. Everyone in the room is shaking his or her head. I feel rejected. I feel unworthy to be in the class.
Why did I get these words wrong? Ends up that I was being tested on the spelling of words based upon how they were spelled in the book (the book I didn't know I was supposed to read). Why were the words spelled differently? Because the characters in the book spoke in a strange dialect, and I was being tested on their words.
Whew!! It's almost as if I could write a book based upon this experience - not sure, but in my next blog I'm going to have some thoughts in response to my classroom dream. I think we can learn something not only about me, but also about ourselves.
Look for it tomorrow!