"Class, I'm TorontoPearl, and today I will be your substitute teacher."
Boos and hisses, grumbles and mumbles can be heard.
"Where's the regular teacher? Why is she missing? Did she give you a hint as to what she's up to?" calls out Rochelle Krich.
"Oh, Miss Manners is off on a holiday from blogging for this afternoon."
"Does this mean we have to listen to you?" blurts out Jackbenimble.
"Oh, Jack, be quiet!" says Stacey. "Stop behaving like the monkey you are."
"Who's talking, Shmatta Queen, ex-Clevelander? Why should I be quiet -- U2 have to be quiet!"
"Class, class. I don't have very long to teach you this lesson, so please pay attention. Pick up your notepads and start writing this stuff down."
"Can I use my Treo?" asks Doctor Bean.
And ball-and-chain, his best friend, is sitting beside him in some fabulous red leather chair that she brought from home. "I'll let Doctor Bean take notes for me," she announces.
"And I think I'll use my new pen with its vibrating tip," adds Psycho Toddler.
"Hey, guys, just listen to the nice teacher. You all sound like a bunch of noisy bees in their hives," says Treppenwitz.
"Okay, thank you --"
"Psst, Robert! Can you keep a secret?" whispers Karen in the back row.
(Robert looks over his shoulder.) "Y-yeah, I-I can," he stutters anxiously.
"I think you love me," announces Karen.
"I love you!?" blurts out Robert, suddenly realizing that everyone has heard. He feels a headache coming on.
The class breaks out in songsong: "Robert loves Karen...and he's gonna marry her... Robert and Karen, sitting in a tree, talking about movies, and the Lincoln Square shul, he's gonna marry her when they're well out of school!"
"Silence, class. As I said, I'm not here for a long time, so please show some respect. Be polite. And save your comments for after class. Now, I'd like someone to name me some tips that you need to know about being a blogger."
A young man raises his hand.
"Yes, A Simple Jew?"
He speaks quietly but firmly. "One should use fewer words to have the most impact. One should speak from the heart, and if necessary and available, use citations."
"Very good. Now that young man, over there... Neil. Please answer the same question."
"One should certainly consider his or her audience. Pretend you're a teacher relating to students or a rabbi relating to his congregants. A few jokes can't hurt, either, nor can some references to classic TV shows and books."
"And you, Mr. Rubin. Put down that CD of Matisyahu; now is not music class. So what do you offer the class?"
"Um, LIFE is what you make it."
"I'll drink to that!" pipes up Air Time. "L'chaim! Hey, if we're drinking, maybe we should be eating too. How about some barbecued kishka and steaks?"
OrthoMom, Still Wonderin' and Just Passing Through start talking amongst themselves in the corner of the classroom.
"You three are being very rude. Avoid inside jokes -- you're alienating the rest of the class. Now, Mirty...where's sweet Mirty?"
"She went to Israel," advises Stacey. "We're gonna miss her for a couple of weeks, aren't we, guys?"
"Ye...s....s..." is heard in unison.
"Does anyone else have a comment to make about today's topic of discussion?"
"Do you people like outspokeness? I like outspokeness...I like honesty...I like to rant about my parents and the people around me. I'm very tongue-in-cheek, but I think people like that, too," offers up Yettabettaboo.
"Very, very good, class. I like what you had to say. Now we will have a very quick spelling lesson, so please take notes:
"Your does NOT MEAN you are. Your is the possessive form of something belonging to you. YOU'RE means you are. Get that straight.
"Its is the possessive form of something belonging to it. IT'S means it is.
"But I think the bell just rang, so I have to stop here for now. I didn't get to ask everyone their thoughts on blogging today-- sorry, Ink As Rain, Ralphie, and as well, there were a few students, such as Sara, missing from this session. No doubt Five Years Later we'll see a new stream of students interested in blogging. And if we're lucky, perhaps RenReb will be a guest speaker at the next class. Class dismissed...!"