Phil Dunphy

"I’m the cool dad, that’s my thang. I’m hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face." - Phil Dunphy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dear Derek,

            Hello there my eleven year old self. Possessing the ability to view all events from your present time to your senior year, I have some advice I would like to give to you. Let us begin with the topic of girls. Firstly, do not talk to girls from now until the time you reach 11th grade. The definition of “talk” in this case, means to never make eye contact with people of the opposite gender unless over the age of thirty…seven. In all honesty, girls do not want to talk to you. I had the misfortune of not realizing this until too late. In fact, women to this day have no interest in interacting with me. With that in mind, you can probably skip Mrs. Rathbone’s second semester class (the reproductive unit) because you most definitely will not need that information for a long, long, long time. Now that we have that touchy topic covered, let us move on to advice about school, or more specifically, English class. To begin with, go out of your way to help out Mrs. Wallenhorst in any way possible; she is a saint. The following year, however, you will receive She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for your English teacher. Have fun re-enacting “The Diary of Anne Frank Play” for three and a half months. Yet try and persevere, because your English teacher your freshman year remains one of the coolest cats ever to walk the halls of Chagrin: Mrs. Ashkettle. Ask her strange questions about her daughter Frankie, and all that weird jazz you somehow tend to have a knack for. Finally, you will remarkably make it to junior year and meet the legendary Ms. Serensky. Fun fact for you: the seemingly hard to read, blunt and harsh Shakespeare professor actually spends her time angelically dancing to Zumba in her spare time. Remember this when a big fat 1 appears on the grade of one of your in-class essays. Another thing I should make known to you: some students actually obtain essay scores of 8’s and 9’s, you just suck too much to get such a score. In all honesty, I do not know why I have shared this tidbit of information with you since such information only further lowers your writing confidence. O well, humility is a virtue. Allow me to shift our conversation to the topic of style. When you feel like wearing something, wear it. Dress for comfort, if you would like. If a teacher one day calls you a name like, o I don’t know, a lumberjack for instance, because you decide to dress normally in a plaid shirt and jeans, let the comment bounce off your shoulder. Remember that only insecure people make fun of other people’s apparel. Good luck in the future and I hope this advice helps you out in your endeavors.


  1. Derek- I literally laughed aloud reading this blog post, particularly your oh-so-relatable advice regarding AP English rubric scores. I find your approach of reminiscing through the years of English classes particularly interesting, because each had such a distinct feeling to them. I too, fondly remember the saint-like Mrs. Wallenhorst, acting out "The Diary of Anne Frank," (I played Anne, which brings up a whole new set of problems), and of course each high school English class. The unique Chagrin Falls School District English Department has certainly played a huge role in shaping all of us into the students we have become, today.

  2. I too found your post making me laugh out loud, and I relate to the extremes of different English classes. I particularly liked the line about asking Mrs. Ashkettle about her daughter. Although I do not know if we shared the same freshman year English class, I remember we celebrated Frankie's fifth birthday, full of desserts, but lacking the birthday girl. Overall, I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic going through the highs and lows of English classes at Chagrin.