If my classroom had an official mascot, he would be it. I'd like to say that I've got a good, solid pedagological reason for having a rubber shrunken head mounted to my whiteboard, but the truth is that I just sort of like having him around.
Which isn't to say that he doesn't have his uses.
Yesterday, for instance, when I used him to silence a couple of 8th graders, who were heavily engaged in conversation and just couldn't bring themselves to break it off when my class started. Using Heinrich as a sort of morbid finger-puppet, I growled at each student in turn until the conversation faltered, then dropped off.
I set Heinrich down on the table, while I went to the front of the class and started to recap the high points from the previous day's class. I had just gotten started, when one of the girls at a nearby table raised her hand.
"Um, Mr. Fladd... Could you please put that gorilla head away; he's sort of freaking me out."
One of my other students turned to her in disgust to correct her mistake.
"Don't you know anything?! That's not a GORILLA!! It's Jesus!"
Going to be a long, weird year.