I’ve infiltrated fewer than hostile bunkers in my life. I’ve never disguised myself and slipped into areas I’m not allowed. I’ve got almost no experience in espionage. However, my total inadequacy as spy-material has not stopped me from hiding in plain sight among a crowd of people who suspect nothing. I’m sitting outside my next class with my students, and I don’t think they know I’m their teacher.
I’m not insulted, but I am a little surprised. I don’t really dress like a student which means I’m not wearing a hoodie and there is no telltale gleam of sweat on my forehead as a hangover leaves through my pores. I’m also older than they are, but I’ve been sleeping almost every night lately so I only vaguely resemble the withered wretch that I will inevitably become as the semester progresses. I’m also a little disappointed that none of my students have noticed someone openly staring at them while clearly writing about what they see.
So far, the conversation from my unwitting students is quite boring. I’m sitting next to one who is wearing denim pants and a denim coat, and I feel like it is my duty as his teacher to tell him he just isn’t pulling it off as well as he thinks. A student farther down the bench is talking about her last English class. Apparently, it was very easy. I wish I could walk up to her and yell something like “just because you said that I’m going to make this class super hard,” but I won’t partially because I don’t actually want the class to be that hard and because I don’t want to blow my cover.
Another student just asked someone else what this class is like. The guy she asked actually gave a really good answer, and I wanted to walk over and give him a pat on the head or some other positive reinforcement, maybe a treat. But I didn’t. Instead, I waited, biding my time hoping someone would start talking trash about the class or say something unkind about the thing I love more than anything else: writing. From my snooping I have gathered this important observation: my students are kind of boring, and they also wish the class before mine would have ended on time.
The class just got out. I’m going in. I’m tempted to make some dramatic reveal of my teacherly identity, but I can’t decide on the proper way to do it. Should I wait, silent, until somebody says something mean about the teacher they haven’t met, then I can slowly stand, stare down upon their meek physique, and book “you mean me?” No, I don’t think I’ll do that. The classroom is empty. I’m going to stand, open the door, and say something casual because I’m a pretty relaxed teacher. Maybe “come in when you’re ready,” or “hurry up, losers, we got writin’ to do.”