Last night I had a worse-than-standard "teaching anxiety" dream: I dreamed I was reading my students' course evaluations, and all their comments were not only negative, but horribly detailed. One said something like "We could tell she'd read a lot about Lacan [not that I've ever taught Lacan], but this class was, on the whole, not a very good idea." Another comment criticized my posture, my body language, the state of my teeth, and my smile, which was described as a "grimace."
Even worse, I was somehow reading these evaluations on the web, using my laptop, and I was in the classroom at the time with the students in question, which gave me a sudden flash of guilty panic: Oh my God, I shouldn't be reading these yet, the course isn't over!
It was awful. I'm knocking back coffee in a slightly frantic effort to wake all the way up. At the same time, though, I remember a certain feeling of grim triumph in the dream: here's the proof, I thought to myself, looking at the evaluations, that I've got to change careers. If anyone asks why I want to leave teaching, I can just show them these comments, and they'll have to agree with my decision.
All the same, I'd rather go back to dreaming my standard-issue bizarro dreams, like the one two nights ago in which I went to see the movie 28 Days Later at the movie theater (I've never seen it) and then somehow I was in the movie itself, plotting ways to flee from the killer zombies. Somehow, my unconscious grasps the distinction between fact and fiction, because the movie-zombie dream was much less scary than the evaluation dream.