This is a slightly different one.
Many moons ago, I went to a private school in the UK with an academic scholarship. The scholarship is not important in itself for this tale, but it was expected that kids who earned them were to maintain top grades and represent the school in a well rounded, exemplary manner. Among other things, I was the Stage Manager for the school productions and a prefect. For those of you not in the UK, a prefect is one of the older students (sixth formers at my school) that has duties such as managing the lunch queue and supervising the library. Sixth formers (ages 16 – 18) wore suits rather than the school uniform. For girls (for that is what I am) this meant a fitted blazer, blouse, trousers or skirts (preferably a pencil skirt) and leather shoes. Female students were also encouraged to wear a bit of make up and heels, but this was in no way a mandate. On top of this, prefects (and teachers) wore gowns when going about their duty. That was one of the reasons locals to the area called the place Hogwarts.
Onwards – I loved sixthform. I did subjects I actually cared about and was a senior member of an awful lot of societies, and I really, really liked wearing a suit. I will admit, I spent a lot of money on those clothes and I looked good in them. I am not especially pretty but suits gave me an androgynous flair and I was finally allowed to wear heeled lace up boots. Another thing about me is I have a very loud and quick walk – the clipped beat that is generally used to signify a scary female teacher is bearing down on the heroes of teenage movies is exactly what I sound(ed) like. On the one hand it was embarrassing, and on the other I did have the power to silence the head of mathematics just by walking up the stairs. Two final points, I was the head of Debating and therefore spoke with an accent that had been trained to sound like it should not be challenged (ie, posh and confident), and due to the quirks of the UK private school life, I was addressed by my last name (here I shall call myself Miss Brown).
All told, people thought I was a teacher. Just with a really young face.
Prospective parents, teachers applying for jobs, new students… As a prefect it was part of my duty to lead them around the school, showing them a selection of classes and extra curricular activities. Conversations often went as such,
“And what do you teach?”
Me: “I don’t, I’m a student”
Leading to an awkward silence as long as the English corridor.
Somehow I feel that I was a disappointing tour guide.