My English IV students have, over the course of the semester, picked up a bad habit of steering every conversation in the most inappropriate possible direction. Every time they do it, I remind them that my classroom shares a wall with the superintendent’s office, and it would be most unfortunate if she overheard some of their comments.
They are unbothered. They are also hilarious, but a girl has to draw the line somewhere, and I decided to draw it in a memorable but largely painless fashion: I talked my superintendent into coming in during class and convincing them that she had heard every word that had come out of their ornery little mouths.
While I tried (and mostly failed) not to corpse, she came in and delivered a stern lecture in a tone so calm and so icy, it unsettled me a little bit — and then, instead of tipping her hand and letting the kids in on the joke, she simply walked out, like:
It was GLORIOUS.
I pointed out that I had warned them, turned back to the board, and let them sit there for a few minutes in stricken silence while I continued reviewing for their final.
About a minute before the end of class, I told the kids I was going to let them in on a little secret. With a purely Slytherin grin, I said, “She’s never heard a single word through that wall. She just came in here to mess with you because I put her up to it.”
I wish I had video of their reactions. They couldn’t decide whether to be horrified, outraged, or delighted by my deception, so they basically did all three at once.
I reminded them that there was a moral to the story: Watch your mouth, because if your superintendent is that intimidating when she’s pretending to be mad, you probably do not want to see the real deal.
We’ll see if that works. Probably not, because seniors, but at least I tried.