Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Teacher of My Dreams

My elementary school had a certain fourth-grade teacher—Mr. Schulz—that, as far as my family is concerned, is infamous. He just seemed a little off, and the three of my parents’ five children that had to endure this certain teacher as their homeroom instructor all have disturbing fourth-grade tales to tell because of it. I was the last one in my family to suffer from what can only be deemed his nerdy wrath. I’ll share just one of those memories now, and then I’ll tell you why I even bother mentioning him nearly two decades after I escaped his reign.

First, you ought to have a better idea of what Mr. Schulz was like. If memory serves me correctly, he was fashionably stuck in the later 60’s, or maybe the early to mid-70’s. He certainly didn’t go beyond that. He typically wore snug, horizontally striped, often polo-style shirts, the color schemes of which were reminiscent of the palettes donned by the lesser aesthetic football teams, such as the Green Bay Packers or Cleveland Browns. His hair probably qualified as a flattop, and he wore horn-rimmed glasses. A thick, creamy string of spit generally flapped between his lips as he talked, somehow refusing to break and managing to last the entire year. (My older sister, three years ahead of me in school, was subjected to the very same strand of spit!) Mr. Schulz was fond of forcing his students to chant mantras such as “Do it! Do it right! Do it right now!” or to respond to his “Get it?” with “Got it” so he could say “Good.” He prided himself on his ability to outrun any one of us, the fact that we were half his height and one-fourth his age making no difference to him whatsoever. He had a reputation for picking his nose, and was generally referred to by students as “Mr. Pic-n-Save.”

The foremost Schulzian memory in mind is the day I left school with a couple of friends and walked past a fight that was just beginning to brew on the playground. A couple of kids were yelling at each other, and it may be that they even started hitting each other. I don’t remember distinctly. What I do remember very distinctly is Mr. Schulz exploding out of the school in a rage. I’m sure he must have stopped the fight, but that doesn’t even stand out to me. My memory is too caught up in what he did to me, the student minding his own business. (Apparently that was the problem.) Mr. Schulz chided my friends and me for not actively seeking to put an end to the fight that was taking place. In fact, he made us go back into his classroom and read a construction paper sign he had hanging on his classroom wall. Little did I know at the time, but what he had me read was Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” This was public school, mind you, and while I was too young to think much about the inappropriateness of reprimanding a child by making him read scripture, I felt violated that I had been punished for avoiding a violent situation. This memory has forever bothered me.

The reason I am bringing up Mr. Schulz today is that, a couple of nights ago, I had the unpleasant misfortune of dreaming about him. I actually had a dream about him once back in elementary school. I dreamed that he put my sister and me in a cage, and he wasn’t going to let us out until one of us was dead. One of us had to kill the other before either of us would be released. Well, the dream from a couple of nights ago was also a violent one. I dreamed that, for whatever reason, I was in his classroom, organizing some papers in the back corner. I wasn’t part of his class, but I was there for whatever reason. At some point, he said something like, “What are you doing, girl?” and in my head, I had a suspicion that he was talking to me. I wasn’t looking his way, however, and so I ignored it. Then one of his students said, “Ben!” to get my attention and let me know that Mr. Schulz had been addressing me. I turned around and said, “Oh, that’s very funny. Ha ha ha. Hey, Mr. Schulz, do you have a vagina? Did your penis fall off?” as I approached him. I then proceeded to beat him mercilessly, including slamming his head multiple times into the chalkboard.

It’s strange how people, places, and things show up in your dreams so long after they’ve disappeared from your life.


  1. Thanks for bringing back all of the repressed memories. I hated that guy. He was the first teacher to give me a C, and it was in social studies?? I feel bad that you had a dream about him but at least it ended pleasantly......

    "I knew a girl from Mexico..."
    "She bought her gas at Texaco..."
    as he made us march around the playground.

  2. Chad has told me many stories about this Mr. Schulz. I knew he was crazy, but your stories have painted even a better picture of how crazy he truly was. I'm sorry you had such an awful experience, but it's sure a funny story.

  3. well, I finished the blog laughing.
    That man was a psycho...there are numerous stories about him, just in our own family. Other parents as well, have stories, I happen to know for fact.

    I am so delighted by your dream. I hope it means you have found resolution about that horrible time in your life. Do you remember that you and I were in his classroom for p.t. conference I guess, and I very sternly asked him, "Just what did you expect Ben to do about that???" Those boys were older/bigger than you were. He seemed to settle down a lot after that.

    And remember we moved just before it was Khrystine's turn to go into his class? I wish I'd been more keen to his ways long before you got there. We should have done some serious taking-it-up with higher authorities.

  4. I started the blog in laughter, but ended in tears. Sometimes angry dreams feel good, as a sort of resolution. But sometimes, it just shows the hurt and anger that is there. How sad that this long later, he is still there. I'm glad you told him off though.
    My memory is the special field trip he took us on for those of us who earned his special hall of fame award. He made us RUN UP CAPITOL HILL! Can you imagine. My friend and I were way behind and he was sitting on the capitol steps waiting for all the kids. That seems pretty irresponsible, to say the least, to me.
    What a jerk!

  5. I definitly lucked out. That dream sounds cathartic. What a strange, perverse, little man he was. I really can see him killing someone one day. Or worse. ~shudder~