A DIALOGUE BETWEEN SERIOUS EDUCATORS
Aubrey: I’m going to begin by asking you some questions. These are important questions. Questions that prove the significance of what is being accomplished via this website. Don’t screw it up.
Emily: Does that mean I have to be serious?
- Hemingway or Fitzgerald?
Emily: Humph….that is a tough one. I think I enjoy reading Fitzgerald’s writing more but can more closely identify with Hemingway. I am sponsoring the Cat Club at my high school this year and one day aspire to be such a regular at a local bar that I have my own stool remaining as an effigy of the stories I wove. Plus, I like how blunt he is…I think we could be soulmates.
Aubrey: Hmmm. That would be difficult as I’ve would fight you to the death in order to be Hemingway’s “soulmate.” I think that it should be enough that I named my dog after him. Now that I hear how that sounds I worry about the level of crazy necessary to make that choice. However, while Fitzgerald has beautiful prose no one can compete with Hemingway.
Emily: Hemingway’s the man.
Aubrey: Just not yours.
2. News website you can’t get enough of?
Emily: TMZ.com. They are clearly the leader in accurate and timely information dissemination. I check it at least 3 times a day and carry the app on my phone. If it isn’t on TMZ then it isn’t news to me. You should see the features material they have on Moammar Gadhafi. Pulitizer prize-winning stuff.
Aubrey: NPR’s website. They have everything I would ever need. “Tiny Desk Concerts.” “This American Life.” Linda Holmes and her zany “Monkey See” Blog. Man, I love that blog. It’s pop culture goodness with a keen wit wrapped in good writing.
Emily: Figures you would say something scholarly. Now I sound like a Hollywood-obsessed zealot…I’m okay with that though. I like how your description of “Monkey See” makes me think of a Snickers bar.
3. Favorite internet discovery? Other than the internet itself?
Emily: “David Goes to the Dentist.” You can’t recreate that goodness. That kid brightens my day more than a student handing me a $50 gift card to Arby’s.
Aubrey: Does The Washington Post “Capital Weather Gang” blog count? They are really good at predicting the weather. And they’re funny. And they have a Snow Lover’s Crystal Ball which provides me with incredibly accurate information about whether or not school will be cancelled at any point during the winter. I depend on this information more than I can even say.
Emily: “Snow Lover’s Crystal Ball”? I didn’t know such a thing existed. What a dream for teachers!
Aubrey: Especially for teachers who don’t want to go to school.
4. Survival Mechanisms?
Emily: I guess the most responsible answer is seeing the students master challenging tasks and reaching their highest academic potential. OR…sleep. It’s not beauty rest; it’s necessity rest. Mama ain’t happy with less than 6 solid hours of REM.
Aubrey: Reading The Washington Post online. Excessively. Putting all manner of shoes in my shopping cart at Zappos. Using imdb.com and Wikipedia to look up the ages of famous celebrities in order to determine how old they are so that I, myself, can determine how old I am. And you’re wrong about 6 hours. It should be 8-9 hours.
Emily: Now that you mention it, I’m obsessed with imdb.com as well. I study the “trivia” tab on every movie, actor, television show, director, and even songwriter. Now if only there was some kind of financial compensation for being able to identify that the coon dog cemetery used in Sweet Home Alabama is in the hometown of Helen Keller. I’d be rich with all the useless knowledge I have accumulated from imdb.
5. Why blogging?
Emily: I’m hoping it transitions into a lucrative book or blogging deal that brings in the kind of money that allows me to be a “stay-at-home mom” who isn’t married and has no kids. Wait…I mean it is to help teachers identify new and exciting ways to execute the tried and true lessons in an English classroom.
Aubrey: Same. Oops. I’m married.
Emily: Don’t forget that you are capable of being a stay-at-home wife.
Aubrey: While true, I think I would feel bad about the number of hours I could spend trying to watch 21 Jump Street on Hulu.
6. Why Aubrey?
Emily: This is a trick question. Why not? I’m really jealous that her husband gets to hang out with her every day for free. I have to trick major corporations into paying for our travel for us to see each other. Like all major partnerships (Huck and Jim, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Ahab and Moby Dick, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth), Aubrey is the yin to my yang. The real question is which of the character is you and which is me?
Aubrey: I suppose I’m expected to reverse this question and praise Emily for dependability and the vast and amazing catalogue of lesson plans she has created. Or perhaps, I’m expected to compare us with great literary friendships like that of Harper Lee and Truman Capote. Instead, I would like to say our relationship is because I don’t know any other teacher who could come up with a Kanye West Tweet lesson that made me literally pee my pants. I mean laugh out loud. A lot.
Emily: You are definitely Truman Capote. I claim Harper Lee in that friendship. And I claim Lady Macbeth because she is awesome.
7. Favorite book?
Emily: Eek…so tough…so tough. It’s like choosing your favorite child, which I know parents do. I’m clearly my mom’s favorite. If we are talking all time classics I have to include The Awakening, several dozen Shakespearean plays, and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass However, some recent goodies include Netherland, Unaccustomed Earth, Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, and anything by Harlan Coben. Okay, I’m teasing on the last one…or am I?
Aubrey: My American Unhappiness. Listen, I know I just read it and that it was just published but I have to reread everything every year for school so that I can be prepared to answer the minutia posed to me by students. That means most of what I vividly remember is what I’ve just read. That and anything by Philip Roth. Everything he writes is burned into my consciousness forever.
Emily: That sex scene in American Pastoral is burned into my consciousness. Graphic and vivid….unforgettable in a shocking, haunting, extreme kind of way.
8. Favorite author?
Emily: Philip Roth is a dirty, seedy, twisted, old man who describes a view of American life that rivals the scum I scrub off of my bathtub. And I love him for this.
Aubrey: I feel as if the two of us are going to get into a fight via our very “real” and very “serious” dialogue about very important educational issues. You can’t have him. He belongs to me.
Emily: You can’t get both Hemingway and Roth. Not fair.
9. Purpose of this blog?
Emily: To become Mr. Keating and encourage all followers of this blog to rip out the “instructional” pages of their teacher textbooks.
Aubrey: To become Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds and teach followers the importance of poetry by taking them to an amusement park.