High school students reach Al by phone, get advice
Christan Bush is teaching ModPo in her high school class. Which is to say: she and her students are doing ModPo together. Yesterday afternoon they reached Al by telephone in his office at the Kelly Writers House. We think they called almost on a dare—just to see if he could help them with an assignment. Their teacher transcribed the interaction as follows:
We are following along with ModPo in my AP LIT class, but I also have to cover poetry from other movements. I assigned students a villanelle in small groups and have them becoming “experts” on their poem to make a Modpo-style video to teach the rest of the class. As they were working, the following ensued:
S1: Can we call Al?
S1: (phone ringing) Can I speak to Al?
Person on the other end: Can I ask who’s calling? He’s just finishing a meeting.
S1: Turns beet red. Mumbles “this is real life”, and hangs up.
Other students: OMG! YOU HUNG UP ON AL! You have to call back.
S1: (phone ringing) Can I talk to Al?
Person on the other end: Sure. Can I get your name?
S1: turns beet red. Hands phone to S2.
Al: Hi. Can I help you?
S2: We’re doing ModPo in our AP LIT class, and our teacher is making us do ModPo-style videos to teach our poems. Can you help us?
Al: I love this! (Asks some things about where we are and what we’re studying and students answer). Here’s my email address. Please email me your questions. I’d love to talk to you, and can we post your video on the ModPo website?
You took time to talk to my kids and praise their efforts. You could have dismissed them, but you didn’t. You didn’t act put out or bothered in the least. Even better: my kids were “fan girling” over an English professor. Al, you are a rockstar.