I had an assignment in a 2nd grade classroom at the country club school. Of course, one of the first questions I get on a day when I come is usually: "Where did Mr/Ms Teacher go and when will he/she be back?"
This is my opening for an icebreaker and a demonstration that I am not as scary as I look. I will usually respond with some outrageously unbelievable retort like: "Ms Teacher had to attend race car driving school this morning and it's her turn on the track. She'll be in tomorrow and you can ask her all about it." Most kids "get" that I have made up an obviously silly answer instead of the standard "I don't know" response.
(...Some of the teachers I have subbed for comment that they look forward to hearing what they were supposedly doing while they were away.)
Students will sometimes try to "turn the tables" and try one of their own on the substitute teacher. Second graders usually aren't good enough to make it believable but it's fun to hear what they come up with.
Laura is an exception. The lesson plan says that she is a recent arrival from a private school across town and might have difficulties with some of the math they are currently doing in class.
While the rest of the kids are plowing through the math pages on their own, I work with Laura. As we're working, Laura tells me that she's new in this school as they just moved into the country club.
Yep, that sounds right. Even though this is a public school, I know the developer donated the land and built the school with the express stipulation that school enrollment be reserved primarily for the kids of parents living in the country club. From what I can see, it pretty much is.
Laura tells me that her family bought the biggest house at the top of the hill in the country club. They have a big pool and playground. Her dad is a musician and she has three brothers.
L: We're going to see my grandma this weekend on the family farm.
Me: Sounds like a nice drive.
...There are many farms and vineyards about an hour's drive south of here.
L: No, it's too far to drive. We're flying.
Me: Oh, so you have to get up early to get to the airport?
...The grandparents must be out of state.
L: No, we have our own plane. My dad's a pilot.
Me: Wow, that must be fun.
...Six passenger private plane! Impressive!
L: It's a jet. It used to belong to my grandparents but they passed it on to my Dad.
Hmmm...Lear jet? Ok, family money. Lots of it.
L: It's been in our family for generations--since WWII!!
Ok, she got me. Got me good.
At this point I suppose I should have pointed out that Germany had the only jet powered aircraft in the world during WWII and it was dicey for even the single seat pilot to land the thing.
The teacher came in at the end of the day to see how my day went. I related how Laura had me going. The teacher laughed and then confided, "Did she also tell you that she has seven toes on her left foot?"