Teachers accumulate quirky oddities


Jess Zsiga

Business teacher Mr. Mattheus is one of the teachers who has unusual curios.

Despite what you may believe about teachers being evil overlords whose sole goal is to ruin our lives with homework and quizzes, teachers are human just like the rest of us. As the odd things in their classroom show, teachers have their fair share of quirks and interesting stories. Take Mr. Mattheus, for example, the Business teacher who has a collection of knick-knacks on the shelves behind his desk. According to Mr. Mattheus, the novelties were all gathered from giveaways at Rays games; the collectibles include Mr. Potato-head toys, a toy chameleon, a toilet pencil sharpener, and a miniature TARDIS from the BBC science-fiction show Doctor Who. “It’s just fun,” Mr. Mattheus said of his collection. “Some students come and talk to me about it.” As for why he keeps his trinkets in the classroom, Mattheus explained, “Some of them would get lost and ruined at home. They’re just fun to have and talk about.” Mr. Mattheus also cited the fact that some of his oddities make noise and “freak people out.”
In other cases, students see items that are more out of place than unusual. An example is Psychology and Drama teacher Mr. Pace, who uses a pair of Mickey Mouse ears as a hall pass. Not surprisingly, the hat came from Disney World, with Mr. Pace also pointing out that he got the hat embroidered with the words ‘hall pass.’ The reason for having this item is quite simple: “I just really like Disney,” Mr. Pace said. As for why Mr. Pace has chosen to use the hat as a hall pass, he explained “I really like Disney, and it’s fun to watch my students wear it.”
However, perhaps the most morbid items owned by a teacher are three dead animal-related objects owned by Biology teacher Mr. Schwartz. First, Mr. Schwartz keeps by his desk a stuffed squirrel, the “zombie squirrel” as Schwartz calls it, that he says he takes out “on special occasions.” Schwartz said the squirrel came from an upstart taxidermist he used to know, with the squirrel being one of the early and cruder creations. Schwartz also has a skull that he uses as a hall pass. “A student actually gave me that,” Schwartz began, explaining that it came from a deer the student’s father had shot. Mr. Schwartz also used to have an alligator skull, which was broken by a student last year. The current skull isn’t in much better condition, with only the top part of the skull remaining. As for why Mr. Schwartz uses the skull as a hall pass, he explained “because it’s unique and it’s good for a Biology class,” adding that he doesn’t like using the regular orange pass because it is “too ordinary.”

Needless to say, no one can accuse Mattheus, Pace, or Schwartz of being too ordinary.