Flashback, English-class style

Last night we watched Dead Poets Society for the anniversary movie countdown. I generally don't like dramatic movies because I get restless and twitchy, especially if my hands have nothing to do. And they didn't last night because I was still waiting for the last day of the knitting pattern to show up and I didn't have any other projects started. But I do like this movie first of all because it has Robert Sean Leonard in it, who is now on a TV show called House, which I like to watch.

After watching the movie, I got to thinking about English class. I had two memorable English teachers (well, two and a half if you count Mr. Skoy as the English teacher/croquet club advisor--a whole other post), one of which was Mr. Gulner. He was my 8th grade English teacher and at first we did not get along. I don't remember why. He kicked me out of class once for making an offhand jokey comment and I broke down crying (stupid hair-trigger waterworks). We had a chat in the hallway and after that he was my favorite teacher. He was tough, though. Mr. Keating (the Robin Williams character in Dead Poets Society) reminds me of Mr. Gulner. He encouraged the class members to think for themselves and to use language more effectively. It also helped that he told jokes in class. He was going to be laid off at the end of my 8th grade year (so the rumor went) but he quit at the end of the third quarter and we were upset that the school district had planned to let him go and keep the other 8th grade English teacher, who every 8th grader felt was quite inferior, on the payroll. While our intent to be true to Mr. Gulner was noble, we as a class were ignominiously brutish in our treatment of the substitute teacher brought in to replace him (I'm sorry, Mrs. Sorum. We shouldn't have pelted you with spitballs that day, or done any of the other thousand stupid things we did. Our anger was misplaced and it unfortunately landed on you).

Eventually Mr. Gulner returned to the school district, but I never had him as a teacher again, but we did talk occasionally when we saw each other in the halls in the high school. I wonder where he is now?


Jen said…
How wonderful for you to have such great memories of a teacher. I truly believe it's a talented teacher who can turn a student on to a lifelong love of learning. I had quite a few favorite teachers that changed my mind about certain subjects. I think Dead Poets' Society is a really good movie, too. I haven't seen it in years though.
Jenni said…
First, I have to comment that the WV is "fursts" on an English post because it is spelled wrong.

I never had Gulner either, but heard he was good. I hope that I'm not a horrid English teacher and that kids don't dread my class. I don't think they do. But when I'm around other teachers, I definitely think I'm the bottom of the barrel!