The dedicated readers who have persisted through the horrific recent lack of blogginess on my part, will recall that at the start of the semester, I told my students that if their cell phone rang in class, I would answer it and cause them some slight embarrassment that they may wish to avoid.
Well, Friday, I got the chance to put my money where my mouth was.
We were having a (rather sluggish) discussion about the causes of the Civil War, when one of my favorite student’s phone rang. The whole class looked at him, then they looked at me. He looked at who was calling, rolled his eyes, and said, “It’s Jane,”* and smilingly handed the phone over to my outstretched and eagerly awaiting hand.
“John’s* Phone,” I said.
In a slightly bitter and hostile tone, a young woman’s voice replied, “Is John there?”
I said, “He’s in class right now and can’t talk. He’ll have to call you back.”
She said, in an increasingly bitchy tone, “Well, he can’t call me back. I’m not at a place where he can return the call. Can you just tell him that Jane called?”
I said, “Sure.” Then I paused for dramatic effect and said, “This is his professor.”
Dead silence. And then, ” OH…. MY…. GOD….”
I cheerfully told her I’d give John the message and then handed the phone back to John, who was clearly getting a kick out of the whole thing.
The other students were looking on with varying degrees of amusement — since John was ok, it was clearly fine. And, I have to say, it was probably the most fun I’ve had in a sluggish discussion on the Civil War. The other students got a kick out of it, and John was definitely enjoying himself too. And, then, they all jumped right back into discussion.
It was clearly a good technique for dealing with this issue. But, without a doubt, the best part was the fact that Jane thought I was “Another Woman” with access to John’s phone while she was busy on a trip out of the country and then realizing that she had been treating a Professor like a skank who was trying to steal her boyfriend.
*Names have been changed to protect the slightly innocent.