There was a person in my ‘Researching and Writing a Novel’ class who I was concerned might have the impression that I didn’t think too fondly of him. As such, I thought it would be a good idea to give him a Christmas card to show that I did indeed like him and my friend Chloe Ward was also keen to sign it. The plan was to bring it in and sign it just before the final class and then give it to him in the class.
Sadly, things wouldn’t work out quite so easily. It turns out that there was actually one less lesson than we thought there was and so, when we thought we’d have a final class, we actually had tutorials where we got back the grades on a piece of work. She and I were two of the very first to have our tutorials and so we came up with a new plan: we’d give the card to the teacher and then he could hand it over to our fellow student when it was time for his tutorial. It all went perfectly; we were outside the classroom, the card was signed and enveloped and there were only about ten minutes left until the tutorials.
Then I realised something dreadful: this plan wasn’t ethically sound! I imagined it playing out.
“I have this card here…” I’d say, with the plan of ending the sentence with “…which I’d like you to hand over to somebody.”
But before I could finish he’d probably cut in with “A card? Oh, thank you so much! You’ve made my day. I’m so happy right now.”
And then I’d have to break his heart with the truth.
Therefore we realised we had to give the teacher a card too. We rushed down to the student shop and bought two boxes of cards (they were buy one get one free) and then, while Chloe had her tutorial, I hastily wrote a card for the teacher. As I was doing the writing, I heard somebody come in behind me.
“Hasn’t the class started yet?” they asked. It was the student we wanted to give the card to. The whole plan was now no longer needed. For a second, I thought it might be best just to give the teacher the card to hand over anyway; we’d done all this preparation after all. Then I realised that was ridiculous and gave him the card and explained that there were tutorials instead of a regular class.
This anecdote has quite a happy ending really: the other student got his card and seemed pretty happy about it, the teacher got his card and seemed even happier (“You should have given it to me sooner, I’d have given you a higher grade!”, he joked), Chloe and I both got good grades and then we had a lovely lunch with Oscar Taylor-Kent who also got a good grade. How fitting for a Christmas story.
(Don’t miss this week’s Finger Puppet Show.)