Education Humor

The Infamous Back-to-School Teacher Nightmare

Of all the nightmares that wreak havoc on our psyches, it's the back-to-school teacher nightmare that terrifies us the most.

It’s August, fellow teachers. We all know what that means.

Back-to-school nightmares.

To get us all properly in the spirit, I’ve taken the liberty of combining all of my most hellish sleeping moments into one terrifying nightmare.

Warning: the following story contains frightening depictions of classroom settings and occasional foul language which may be inappropriate for first-year teachers and educators lacking a sense of humor.

You spring out of bed with a panicked realization that it’s the first day of school and you’re completely unprepared. You glance at your phone. The alarm wasn’t set, and school’s going to start in less than 30 mins.

Forgoing a shower, you frantically search your closet for something to wear only to find nothing fits. You appear to have gained 20 lbs. overnight and are forced to settle with yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt from a 5K Run Pizza Challenge that you couldn’t bring yourself to toss because the irony was just too great.

You try to grab your car keys and run out the door, but your legs no longer work. As you try to move through what feels like invisible quicksand, you wrack your brain trying to remember what it is you’re even teaching this year. Your mind remains blank.

You close your eyes to concentrate and when you re-open them, you find yourself in your classroom. You’re at your computer. There are at least 50 students in your cramped room, and they’re all staring at you.

You smile meekly. “Just a second, class.” You go to start your computer and realize you don’t remember your log-in. After 15 attempts, the computer locks you out. Your students continue to stare at you, now with some contempt.

Getting more anxious now, you pick up the phone and call tech support. You explain your situation.

“Um, did you fill out an electronic help form?”

“No,” you answer. “I told you, I can’t get on the computer! How could I fill out the form?”

“I’m sorry, but until you fill out a form, I just can’t help you. Sorry.” Dial tone.

You look out at your students, all eyes still glued on you.  You step away from your desk and walk tentatively to the front of the room, prepared to improvise. Some of your students gasp while most start uproariously laughing.

You look down to realize you are completely naked. What the hell?  

You look up. In walks your principal for a surprise formative assessment of your ability to teach common core standards coupled with “I Can” statements and learning objectives.

He seems to be oblivious to your nakedness.

Thank God, you mutter under your breath. Then he asks to read your report over the summer text he assigned.


The phone rings. You rush over to pick it up, hopeful that tech support has had a change of heart.

It’s daycare. Both of your kids have inexplicably come down with pink eye. You feel your own eyes start to itch.

There you are, naked, in front of your classroom, your boss flipping through your empty lesson plan book, your students still hysterically laughing, and a giant gorilla suddenly saunters in.


It starts tearing down your posters and throwing school supplies with reckless abandon. The students decide to join in, jumping on desks, throwing chairs, and devouring the stash of candy you had purchased as award incentives.

Your principal hands you your still-bare lesson plan book. “We’re down a few staff members this year. I see you had one science class in college fifteen years ago. I need you to start teaching Biochemical Engineering. You start fourth period.”

He leaves the room as an unruly parent from last year enters and begins screaming at you, citing all of your inadequacies as a teacher and basic human being.

The parent is followed by the secretary who informs you all of your grades from last year were erased, so you now have to go back and re-enter them.

The secretary is followed by the athletic director to tell you that you have to start coaching interpretive dance and try-outs are after school.

The athletic director is followed by a custodian to inform you that a large family of rats has chosen your desk for a home, and he’s here to remove them.

As you are overcome with this barrage of people in your room, students and random gorilla still running amok in the background, you suddenly start screaming at the top of your lungs.

But nothing comes out. You try to scream, but you have an inexplicable case of laryngitis. You start waving frantically for everyone to stop, but everyone seems completely oblivious.

The fire alarm sounds. Everyone starts screaming as the sprinklers go off. You stare in awe at the soaked catastrophe that has become your classroom.

Then a fellow teacher pops his head in to let you know the Keurig is broken.

You start weeping uncontrollably.

Thankfully, you awaken from this hellish nightmare, sweat dripping. It was just a dream, you tell yourself.

Then you look over at your phone and see the date. Only a couple more precious weeks of summer before the nightmare may or may not become reality.

You weigh your options at this moment: dust off the lesson plan book or continue binge-watching Scandal? This one decision could very well determine your destiny for the entire upcoming school year.

Which will you choose?