“I’m a teacher and I know things so believe me when I say: I don’t know the whole story here.”

These are the words I was advised to use by one of my best students, whom I will refer to as Mr. “Bismouth Finkelburger” to protect his privacy and–dare I say–dignity. I must admit, he was only trying to help, in response to my pitiful cries from the writing lab today during project period, when, unable to produce an apt first sentence for today’s ‘blog entry, [Mr. Finkelburger] stepped in to render his assistance. As those of you in 2nd period know, [Bismouth] is always right, and so I followed his advice–and look how far it has gotten me: All the way to the the 9th line of the blog where I can, without further ado, begin my description of today’s activities.

I decided to conduct today’s blog entry in the form of an interview with [Mr. Finkelburger]. This entry will be a throwback to the old days, before the SuperwebNet MegaHighway, when people used to have to read stuff instead of logging on and looking at E-lectronic communiques. Anyway, here’s how our discussion went:

“So, [Mr. Bismouth Finkelburger], could you describe what we did in class today and why?”

“Today we watched some kind of Shakespeare film thing. What was that on again? To be or not to be… Hey! What are you doing writing all of this? Oh my gosh. You’re makin’ me look like a jerk!”

“No, nobody will know who you are!”

“Yes they will. I’m the only [Bismouth Finkleburger] .”

“Oh, come on. You’re not the only [Bismouth Finkelburger].”

“Yes I am, I looked on the computer.”

“Okay, but who else is going to look on the computer? Nobody is going to think you’re a jerk for helping me write my blog.”

“Um. Okay. I just wish I knew what you were trying to get out of this. I don’t know what you mean–you just make me talk and write down everything I talk about?”

“Well, I’m hoping that you’ll say something about class today.”

“Oh. It was funny. Um. (sighing) The film we watched made me laugh. And then I laughed, and I got bored.”

“Did you find that it had anything to do with Shakespeare?”

“Um. Yes, it did. It was, uh, interesting–I wish I saw these things before. Look at these. These are interesting! (Selects a tri-color radiant fill background for a PowerPoint Slide with a 104-point font title: “Mario.”)

“So, do you have any recollection of the title of the movie or of the point of us watching it?”

“How do you spell “carpenter”? Is it with a k?”

“Well, uh, you can spell carpenter however you want to. With a “k” would be a little bit less traditional, but I suppose it all depends on who you’re going to be showing this PowerPoint slide. You know, maybe you’re going to be showing it to uptight librarians who will have a fit if they see it spelled with a “k,” but maybe if you’re going to show your slides to some cool guys who like that kind of stuff they’ll think you’re cool and ask you to join their club if they see that you like to spell it with a “k”?”

“Are people really gonna read all this…? Interesting.”

“Yeah. Probably 5 or 10 people. You can say whatever you want…”

“Can I swear?”

“No. I’ll censor it. It seems like that’s always your first question, like you don’t get your swearing out enough. Don’t you have a swearing place?”

(long silence)

“What was the question?”

“Well, how come every time I say you can write about or say whatever you want, you always ask if you can swear?”

(He spell checks the word “polina” on a slide with biographical details about Mario.)

“Well? How come?”

“Because I want to make sure it’s spelled correctly.”

(Dani interrupts):”Matt, what are you doing? I hear you saying words and things but it doesn’t make any sense…”

“I’m writing my blog. You know, where I describe the day’s activities and stuff. But it’s not working out too well…. So, [Bismouth Finkelburger], please tell me you have some idea why we watched this film today in class.”

“Why WE watched it? Or… You put… Oh. I get it (reading what I’ve just written). We watched it because it is funny and because it learned me.”

“Wait–did I say ‘learned me’ or did you?”

“I said it.”

“Are you sure, because I thought I said it when I was restating my question and now you’re just saying you said it because you think it’s funny.”

(long silence)

“Can you send me those PowerPoint slides you’re making so I can attach them to this post?”

“Um, I guess.”

“Well, I’m just going to go ahead and describe what we did and why, and if you want to know you can look it up, or you can listen to me say it as I write it. The play is called “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged,” and we watched it because we’re learning about “adaptation” and thinking about ways we could adapt Shakespeare to make other kids like it and understand the deep ideas he’s playing with in a whole new way. Did you get all that? [Bismouth Finkelburger]?”


Jessica, entering: “Is there anything I need to make up in your class?”

“Probably. I’m going to stop writing my blog now. I wish that I could have found a way to tell all the nice people out there how we talked about “adaptation” and thought about all the useful ways to use adaptations of Shakespeare in film projects the students may work on in the future, and all of that kind of stuff, but I guess this dumb conversation will have to do for now.”

“Are you still talking?”


Downloads: Bismouth Finkelburger’s PowerPoint presentation


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