“The first part of the ruse was to get this CELTA certificate, which is real by the way. I just went along to this course for a month, listened to these lessons, wrote some essays and pretended to be a teacher for a bit and they gave it to me. Seems a little lax.”
I’m interviewing Danita Harris, who is pretending to be a teacher.
“Anyway, that’s how I got the job. Now, for my costume, this jacket is from Topshop! It’s the same thing I used to wear when I was an IT support worker, but no-one’s figured out that these aren’t real teacher’s clothes! I googled pictures of teachers and the first few who showed up didn’t seem to have done anything particular with their hair, so I haven’t either. I swear the students haven’t twigged.”
With an amused smirk she begins emptying out her pockets. “These pens? They’re just ordinary pens. I don’t know where real teachers get their equipment but you can just buy these ones at any stationary shop.”
“So, I just went in the class and introduced myself – didn’t even make up a teacher name or anything – and then starting doing this activity,” she forms air quotes with her fingers, “which was just something I’d found on the Internet.”
She chuckles with devlish glee at her own deviousness. “After that, we listened to this conversation – actually just two people talking and nothing to do with learning – and I got the students to answer some questions about what they’d heard. Then – get this – they talked to each other! Just ’cause I’d told them too! And I just stood around looking all serious and listening.”
Realising she’s been getting carried away, she looks around to make sure she hasn’t been overheard and continues in a whisper. “There was this, Learning Objective that I’d written on the board, We will be better able to give and understand directions. I asked them if they thought we’d done it …and they said yes! Can you believe it? Not only do they believe I’m a real teacher, but they can’t tell the difference between my lesson and a real one!”
A bell rings above, prompting her to shove the pens back into her pockets and make her way back towards the classroom.
“I’ve got another lesson now. How long do you reckon I can keep this up?”