Bluff, Called

Some years back, I was substituting in the senior civics (AP government) class. The students had a current events report due, and they were to give an oral presentation as well as hand in their written document. There were a few characters in the group, one of whom was (and is) fluent in Spanish.

So he gets up to present his paper, which is about immigration and the DREAM Act (this was 6-7 years ago or so). He looks at me, looks at the class, and begins in Spanish, announcing that since the subject of his paper is Spanish speaking, he will present in Spanish. He gave me one of those “What’ch ya gonna do about it?” looks and grinned.

I grinned back and said, in German, then in Spanish, “Fine, and after you give your report in Spanish, you will give it in English, and I will quiz you on it in German. Failure to answer in the proper language will be thirty points off.”

Gulp. “Um, OK, Miss Red, I’ll stay in English.”

Me: “Please do. In international diplomatic and business circles, it is considered the height of rudeness to speak in a language that others in the group do not understand, unless there is an interpreter or a true need to do so.”

Other students: quiet patter of golf claps.

The government teacher, upon hearing the story, was amused.