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7 Nightmares That Terrify Almost Every Teacher

Halloween is fast approaching. While everyone is haunted occasionally by things that go bump in the night, most people don’t realize that a teacher’s worst nightmare looks a little different than the rest of the world’s. Join us (if you dare) on a spooky adventure through a teacher’s darkest fears.

Your internal monologue stops functioning.

Look, there’s what you say out loud (the diplomatic communication). And then there’s what you really think (the candid thoughts). Call it Freudian, but your internal monologue might reveal what you actually want to say. In this nightmare, those walls come down, and the secret thoughts start pouring out.


A faculty meeting that lasts an eternity.

Budget updates. Policy changes. Faculty sponsorships. Renovation status. NTI day allotments. New state standards. Bus driver shortages. Dress code hullabaloos. Multiplying responsibilities. Roster sizes. Parent complaints. PTA scheduling. Committee decisions.

These are all worthwhile conversations, but what if they lasted forever? And ever? And ever? And ever?


State standards change overnight.

And of course, that spur-of-the-moment decision from on high decimates the lessons you’ve been carefully planning since the end of last year. Oh well. It’s not like you have anything else to do…except grading…and faculty meetings…and after-school clubs…and parent e-mails…and a personal life (what’s that?).


Your students can see inside your house.

The recycling bin is full of bottles that may or may not have contained wine. In the sink, there are mountains of unwashed dishes, because who has time for that? Your kiddos might envision shelf after shelf of leatherbound books and bay windows that frame fields of perfectly manicured lilacs. But, in your dream, they discover the truth about that unsightly bathtub ring.


You’re counting heads on the bus after a field trip. There’s a kid missing.

If your heart just dropped…well, ours did too. Here’s to hoping this terrifying scenario remains firmly in dreamland, and when you count again, it turns out your little Kevin was just bent over tying his shoe.


You let a curse word fly.

When a beaker spills in science class, or all the glue sticks melt in your car, those four-letter releases are sure to follow occasionally. You’re only human, after all.

But what if such an occurrence happened in front of the wrong audience? Perhaps your dream features the Queen Supreme swear word (hint: it rhymes with luck) crashing into a sea of elementary kids and their parents. Maybe the school board? I guess you’ll have to swear promise that’ll never happen again.


Teaching in your underwear.

Perhaps not a unique nightmare, but for teachers, working in anything but professional attire adds another layer of terror. Maybe no one will notice?


You might not be able to rid yourself of nightmares for good—but getting rid of some of that teacher stress sure would help. Get time-saving and stress-busting strategies that actually work (plus some affordable PD hours) with these professional development courses from Advancement Courses:

  • From Burnout to Productivity: Creating a Path for Teacher Wellness: Learn key strategies for creating a healthy work/life balance, a more sustainable lifestyle, and a better outlook both inside and outside of the classroom. Through a series of self-inventories and assessments, identify sources of burnout and develop strategies for preventing and reversing it.
  • Self-Care Strategies for Teachers: Create long-term self-care strategies that will help you better manage stressful situations and build a more grounded, inspired, and sustainable career in education.
  • Becoming a Calm, Happy Teacher: Leave burnout, stress, and frustration behind for good. Get proven psychological tools to help you create a calmer, more balanced teaching career so you can be more present and energetic in every area of your life.
  • Achieving Work–Life Harmony in Teaching: Ready to ditch the stress and find more satisfaction with life in and out of school? Create a personalized plan for protecting your physical, emotional, and mental energy, and for mitigating the damaging effects of extreme stress and personal and societal hardships.

Advancement Courses offers more than 280 online, self-paced PD courses covering both foundational topics and emerging trends in K–12 education. Courses are available for both graduate and continuing education credit for your salary advancement or recertification needs.

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