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That recurring “Back to School” dream

A recurring dream for those who just graduated (or did so 50 years ago)

school droom nachtmerrieYou just received a phone call from an old teacher of college, or even high school. Whatever diploma, certificate or degree you have received, and whatever career you’re currently on, no matter how successful, it is no longer valid. It turned out that you haven’t completed one particular essay, or you didn’t pass one particular test. You have to go back to school before you can basically continue your life again.

Sounds familiar? It very possibly could be, because it’s a very well known, or actually notorious setting for a recurring dream that seems to pester many people from time to time. It seems to target sleepers who just graduated, or have done so decades ago. When I one shared this dream with other people, it was ironic that one of my former teachers even regularly has to deal with this same recurring dream. In the worst case scenario, you have to go back to the first year and join the class as the one and only adult. It’s embarrassing to experience. Why do so many people suffer this dream?

Why do we dream?

One of the many theories about the function behind dreams, is that we process accumulated experiences through dreaming. According to this theory, we create order in our minds with the pile of experiences and thoughts we have gathered in the past. A recurring dream then shows that something nonetheless keeps us occupied, whether consciously or sub-consciously.

Education: the difference between pressure and motivation

motiverende gespreksvoeringNothing wrong with wanting to perform well in education, or wanting your child to do so. When, however, many people report this particular “nightmare”, it does raise a few questions. It’s possible that many students feel as if they’re under pressure rather than feel motivated to perform. Since many of us are student for the bulk of our first 20 years, it’s not at all surprising that our impressions as a student can cause a long aftermath.

Pressure leads to stress and uses fear as a means to make someone perform better. This pesty dream that you need to complete a very old essay from the past, and all the nasty situations that follow, seem to suggest that essays used to be some sort of “threat” in your perception. To help your child or student perform better, you can also consider doing this through motivation. Through motivational conversations, you discuss one’s weaknesses as possibilities. You discover the reasons why someone also would want to improve themselves, rather than based on what other people demand of them.

Besides, we always speak of failing a term or a test. We speak of higher and lower forms of education. We rarely hear about what education simply suits one person better than the other, so that we focus on the capacities of an individual that are put to the best of use.

Something to take into account

We often tend to skip this motivational conversations, because it’s known as a way that is more time consuming, and requires more thought and consideration. At this moment, a large portion of the western world suffers a  shortage of teachers. It is possible that this is one of the causes that we simply can’t be bothered with taking the time to motivate our students properly, or even study and explore how this is done. Fortunately, this isn’t only the task of our schools. Parents can also make a change.

And once we can be more motivating to one another rather than pressuring… what will the world look like then?

Who knows? Perhaps we will dream of dancing towards rainbow.

And each step we take will cause a beautiful flower in the shape of an old essay to sprout from the earth.

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