I just spent what seems like the entire evening teaching a maths class to undergraduate freshman at Johns Hopkins. For a dream, this ranks at the top of the list seemingly realistic ones, and also the most bizarre. In my idealised full professorial garb (which seems to have included a cardigan with patches on the elbows and socks and no shoes), I held the first class to a group of about fifty students, most of whom were in the wrong class. Those that were in the wrong class were also part of a prank that was designed to test whether I could control a classroom, which I also knew about and seemingly let them have their way at first before bringing the entire thing to order and ‘expelling’ the pranksters with some help from a fictional Dean of Students who was conducting the test. (This was after I had had all the students introduce themselves – and they all did.) Once bringing the class to its actual size, I then proceeded to teach algebra to the ten or so who remained. Those ten included seven women and three men, who were each their own a vivid character. Only one male student attempted to answer any of my questions, and he thought he was being clever by paraphrasing answers from the book. (He answered my “What is a polynomial?” question with “It’s a broken number…” whereas in the dream the book used the phrase “damaged expression”, which of course, is not the case.) One girl had apparently brought an alarm clock to class, which went off, but interestingly enough was not my alarm clock, which isn’t scheduled to go off for another hour at least. She had algebra tattooed all over her back, and seemed to be the only one paying attention. (I had not yet determined if that was because she knew the material or was really interested in knowing it.) Two other girls were sitting in the front (there were only three rows, but the classroom was very wide) and one was helping the other even though I hadn’t yet assigned any work. I remember then handing over the grey plastic toy gun that I had confiscated from the pranksters (and tucked into the waistband in the small of my back, like they do in movies) to the Dean of Students, and starting the projector (which was one of the old overhead ones, with the plastic sheets – I know from whence this part of the dream came – from a conversation I’d had with a co-worker), which then blinded me with its light and subsequently woke me up.
It was very detailed and actually tiring (or so it seemed at the time) insofar as I had to deal with the prankster students, but it turns out I was really looking forward to teaching math. (Of course I’m not really qualified to do it, which makes it all the more interesting.) The only thing I can think of is that the dream represents separation anxiety based on my upcoming graduation from my Dual Masters (MS IS, MBA, not math) program. (However, eventually I’d like to teach at the college level, so that part of my subconscious was not being very subtle.) It was just a very strange dream, and that I’m SO awake at 6am after five hours of sleep when normally I would be exhausted after seven or eight is also intriguing to me.