One morning I was heading into separate setting with a group of students to write a math test…what a way to start the day. As the test went on, I realized I was getting the undeserved cold shoulder from one student who usually was personable and receptive to support. He barely made eye contact, didn’t want to work through the difficult questions together, and was hesitant to connect during the test.

I decided to face it head-on and asked him if everything was okay. “Yup,” was the stunted reply.

Not very convincing.

I’m Sorry?

After much frustration, the test was flipped shut and we walked back to the classroom. I poked again asking, “Hey, are you really okay?”

Things seemed really off, more than just “test butterflies.” I was met with a more drawn out, “Yuuuup.”

I wasn’t satisfied with the false sincerity of this reply, so I pushed again asking, “Are you mad at me or something?” and was met with a quizzical face followed by a pause, and then, “Well…actually, kinda.

When I asked why, he went on to expand, “Well, last night you got mad at me in my dream, and you yelled at me.

Not what I was expecting. How do I even respond to that? Do I offer anything more than the initial chuckle? But then, as with almost any of the innumerable peculiar situations with teenagers, I decided to revert to the “just roll with it and see where it goes” approach. I briefly apologized for my dream-anger, and we headed back to class.

All good now, right?

As I ruminated on the situation later in class, a welcome daydream from the math problems at hand, I started to relate. I mean, how many times have I woken up super irritated, sad, excited, scared, or even angry at someone, because of something that had just taken place in my dream? And sometimes those feelings lingered because it just seemed so real in the dream.

More Mad Now?

A few days later at the end of a math class, I found myself in a situation having to correct some “less-than-desirable” classroom etiquette from the Dreamer Student.

We stepped out in the hallway for a chat, during which I reached deep and pulled out my “EA voice,” (comparable to the strict teacher/parent voice) which I never enjoy using. Needless to say, Dreamer Student was a bit put off with being corrected and needed a moment in the hall to let things settle down.

As I was walking back to the classroom to collect my things, I had a “just roll with it” moment…I spun on my heel and exclaimed, “Hey! Was I more mad at you there, or in your dream?!”

He cracked a smile and muttered, “In my dream.”

Since then, we’ve referred to said dream many times, and it’s been a cornerstone in building a strong (albeit strangely founded) connection that has allowed us to work through some challenging situations with the gift of humour.

Life is weird; just roll with it.