gmarquardt has an M.A. in history and German from SWTSU and has over 30 years teaching experience at public high schools.
Not everyone enjoys a good prank, but how else are you going to blow off steam with all those kids pranking you? As a teacher, you know that certain students are constantly fooling around in class, not paying attention and generally missing the overall greatness that is your lesson. Whether it’s April Fools' Day or not, it’s time to strike back with a well placed prank. Here are ten more excellent pranks to pull on students:
What a bouncy mess!
10. Fill your favorite student's locker with ping pong balls or some other type of ball. If you can afford it, get those bouncy balls from the gumball machines. Get the locker list from your principal and find their locker number and combination, open it and fill the entire locker with those balls. (You’ll have to be inventive enough to figure out how to fill it and close it properly. You’re educated, figure it out)! Be sure to stalk the student long enough to figure out their daily routines so that you’re not caught filling the locker. That should take about two days, what with teenagers being creatures of habit. Have janitors and assistant principals on hand to help you, because when those balls go flying out of the locker, you have to keep strait faces while you force the student to clean up their mess! Watching them chase after loose balls should keep you happy for the rest of the afternoon. Be sure to film the whole incident and put it on the student news.
Want more pranking stories?
What's a corner kick?
09. Start your class off by asking them if anyone knows anything about soccer. Get a little more specific, asking about when one would get an indirect free kick versus a direct free kick. Ask if there are more than just yellow or red cards, and what do they signify? How do you score a goal, and is the goalie really the only one who can use their hands? Just pretend to know as little as possible, and that you received all your information from the television. (Pick whatever sport is most popular or one you know the most and do this in the class that has the most athletes in it). Continue to avoid answering their, "why do you want to know all this?" questions and just keep them coming. "What is this offside rule I keep hearing about?" "Do they have to wear shin guards all the time?" When you can’t avoid it anymore, just let them know that starting next week you are no longer going to be their teacher because Coach Jones just quit and you received an email stating that you are to be the new soccer coach.
Large, loud and in your face!
08. As technology becomes ever more prevalent in the classroom, use it to your advantage. Most teachers now have projection devices and large smart boards. Use the smart board for some of those scary internet memes easily found on youtube or facebook. You know the one where you are forced to stare at an image to find the red dot, and on the very last image, whereby the red dot is really, really small and you have to concentrate intently to find the dot. After a few seconds, a scary face pops up onto the screen, complete with a loud scream. Put those on the smart board, have students stand in front of it and enjoy. I would recommend turning your sound way up, but only if you don’t have any students with heart conditions as this might just not turn out the way you wish! Maybe this one should be avoided all together....
The detention note.
07. This one takes a little planning and should only be used on a student who can handle a good joke. Start the day off by having a fellow colleague give the student a d-hall. Make something up, there are enough petty rules at school to come up with something. Then, the next period, have the hall monitor stop the student and ask him about another petty rule, like headphones are shown, or his hair is too long, or his pants are ripped, or some other rule that is totally ridiculous that all the other students are breaking but the monitor stopped him. Now, by third period, have your best teacher buddy get angry with said student for talking in class, and write him another D-hall. That shouldn’t be too hard, by now he’s all upset about the first two incidences and can’t shut up about it. By fourth period, have the principal call him in on some trumped-up petty charge, like parking in the wrong spot, or "Mr. Smith says you’re not completing your assignments," or something else that is totally untrue. Be sure to have the administrator not actually do anything, just give him a warning and stern lecture. By now, the student is spinning and probably pretty angry, so it’s time to cut this short. Hopefully he’s made it into your class, pretty upset but still one of your favorite kids. Completely act out of character and be a complete dictator in your class, handing out D-halls for any minor infraction until you can finally get to him. Yell, "Get out! Get down to the office" to him and when he storms out, have the hall monitor, the principal and your teacher buddy all waiting for him in the hallway, ready to scream, "April Fools!" I would suggest you have a nice present for him for being such a great sport!
True Stories From Teachers
Where's what now?
06. This is a general assignment where most of the answers in the word bank are wrong. For example, give a blank map of Europe, (or whatever country you are working on) but have a word bank with all the countries of Asia. Some ought to be crossovers, like Russia, Egypt or Turkey, just to make it more realistic. This works great in lower level foreign language classes where they are not exactly sure of the language nor the geography! As they continue to struggle, make some disparaging comments on their generation’s academic abilities.
The artist formally known as you!
05. Take a picture or two of your student’s doodling work. You know, the one who always turns in every assignment with doodles and drawings, pictures of people shooting one another or using curse words. Be patient and wait for the perfect picture, where the student doodles some character smoking or doing some other elicit activity, and then frame it and write a nice academic artsy review. The small touches make this all the more amusing, describing the tools, medium and historical style adds to the facetious ambiance you are creating. For some, add a nice price tag of about $3000.00 or so! Or perhaps, like my example, a small price tag is better:
Japanese Stoner, Rüdiger DeLaPu medium: pencil on papyrus
Similar to the great Japanese Anime artists of the 20th Century, DeLaPu takes his viewers on a fantastic ride through the discourse of agricultural law of the early 21st Century. Relying on previous Japanese painters, DeLaPu’s art is, unfortunately, one of a plethora of styles to signal visually the radical change in feeling toward a return to traditional medicinal usage. His use of wispy smoke, illuminated by his use of a dry brush, completely illustrates the transcendence of American values. Fortunately, DeLaPu’s pedestrian style was quickly snuffed out, as for some unforeseen reason he stopped caring about everything. R.D. 2012 $1.28
Don't lie, just exaggerate ... a lot!
04. One time we had a cell phone tower go down in our community, and everybody in the entire school lost reception. No one could text, send photos, call their boyfriends or look up the latest basketball scores on espn.com. Most students started believing that the school had set up some sort of electronic device that could block out all cell phone reception in the school. I kept denying it and told them how ridiculous they were and that such a device would not only be prohibitively expensive, but completely unconstitutional. They simply did not believe me, and so desperately wanted to be right, so that they would have something to complain and protest about. Right before the bell rang to dismiss them, I broke down and told them that the government had, in fact, detonated a small EMP device nearby which wiped out all service in the county. After all, they surmised, it had to be true as no one was getting any reception anywhere!
This prank is almost too easy. Just find something they desperately want to believe in, and go with it. You don’t even have to invest much energy here, because rumors simply feed on themselves; Canada is preparing to invade, that one teacher really is carrying a concealed handgun, Ms. Thompson and Mrs. Smith are having an affair, the state is going to increase the amount of math needed to graduate, you really do drink too much....
I gotta go!
03. This is an easy classic, but it still works. You know that one student who has to go to the bathroom every single day. It doesn’t matter what day out of the week, the month nor the season, he’s always asking to go to the bathroom. It’s time for payback. Just make up a nice, simple yet very difficult quiz. Talk to your students when he leaves and tell them to simply circle any answer they want and that you are pranking Steven. Be sure a few of them work until the bathroom student comes back, then tell him, "We had a quiz. I couldn’t wait for you; go sit in the back and finish it, hurry." Grade a couple of them right then and there and tell a few students how well they did on the test. Call out a few excellent grades, perhaps one B or so, all the while the student in the back will have a look of terror on their face. After a few minutes, remind him that leaving class just doesn’t pay. More than likely he won’t even ask for his grade and a few days later his friends will let him know it was all a prank. Or not.
What up Homie?
02. Start talking completely in their language. This one takes a lot of work, so prepare, prepare, prepare. Don’t take this lightly, it can and will work, but you have to put in lots of energy and time. Here’s an example:
Teacher walks into the classroom:
"Yo Home Skillet, let’s get crunk wit math!!!" (You really have to invest in your hand gestures and body language. Do not take this lightly, this is half the battle.)
Have a question prepared on your powerpoint slide, already written in teenage. (Yes, that’s the official word for this language; teenage).
Justin Bieber is trying to race his rented Porsche in Miami. He’s just taken a few selfies with a couple of Bielebers and girls are crying and getting turnt up as he departs. As Justin leaves the scene with his usual swag, he loses control of his car and crashes into a street signal. Acting like a wanksta, he takes off and is soon arrested for reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. The judge sets his bail at $350,000 dollars, which he quickly pays, cause he’s loaded with cheddar. He tweets how it took forty-five minutes to get out of jail and gives thanks to his supporters. On average, every thirty-eight seconds this is re-tweeted among his Beliebers, and quickly becomes viral. For every minute Justin is back out in society, people become more livid by a factor of three. Graph how exponentially the public’s anger toward him will increase in the course of three weeks until some other extremely stupid event catches their attention.
Be sure to take this seriously and have the students work on the problem. Make it real and be sure that it actually is solvable and pertains to the curriculum. As students begin to work on said problem, you should be walking around commenting on their work and offering assistance, in teenage, of course:
(If they get the right answer):
"Yo, dem skills is righteous!"
"Check out dis fool right here!" (Stand next to the student). "He’s dope."
"Git it!" Say this one with complete enthusiasm, with a deep voice.
"Yo, dat’s tope!"
"Quit flexing, you’re right."
"Dat’s right, you can chillax now."
(If they get the wrong answer):
"Wat a ratchet answer. No more talking bra."
Say this one with rich, mean girl attitude: "OMG, you totally can’t solve it that way. Ugh!"
"Yo, you trying to solve like that? That’s cray!"
"Wrong again!" Then walk away and mutter under your breath, "What a derp!"
If the answer is odd, just say, "What? I can’t even."
As the students leave the classroom, just yell out, "YOLO!" (For you unhip types, that stands for "you only live once").
Just remember to be strong and stay in character the entire period. This is a tough one and requires total commitment, but the look on their faces as they leave the classroom is priceless!
01. I once had a student who completely understood my loathing of cell phones. Phones have caused more headaches in my class than pretty much any other item; more than gum, ignorance, lack of supplies or even testing. In my humble opinion, they are the root of all evil in the classroom. But I digress, because the following is the greatest April Fools' joke I ever played on my class.
So this student and I set up a ruse. And even though it was April 1st, it worked perfectly. He had been working hard to win the Congress Bundestag Scholarship, whereby he would be hosted in Germany for one year free of charge, and he was going to find out whether or not he won the scholarship on the 1st. He came in and everyone asked whether or not he had won. When he said, "no!" everyone believed that was his April Fools joke. He said, "no, really, look, I’ll show you the text on my phone." He took out his phone and started to pretend it worked, but nothing happened. Students started telling him how to fix his phone. "Take out the battery and put it back in." "You have to push the two buttons together." "Give it to me, I’ll show you."
With that, I got up, muttered emphatically but quietly under my breath, "I. HATE. CELL PHONES!!!" I grabbed it out of his hands, took a step and threw it as hard as I could at the far wall. It could not have gone any better, as the phone completely shattered into about twenty pieces. There was complete silence for about ten seconds as I stormed back to my desk; until one student figured it out and started chuckling, somewhat unsure of himself. That’s when everyone else finally started laughing and realized it was our April Fools' joke.
There they are, ten more pranks to keep you happy and those ragamuffins on their toes. Nothing keeps a teacher happier than thinking about how to pull off a great prank on some bratty teenager, especially any prank that won’t get us fired! Teenagers need to be put in their place before they go off and conquer the world, settle down with their own families, go to work and pay taxes and start to pay for our retirements ... and ... um ... hmmm ... maybe we shouldn’t prank them after all!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on May 07, 2014:
LOL I'm afraid my exposure to such "teen talk" dates all the way back to the days of the "Valley Girl" fad..(when my kids were young!) "Like, that's so moded--like gag me with a spoon" LOL Every statement, it seemed, was prefaced with the word, "like."
I thought this was hilarious. Voted up and funny.
FlourishAnyway from USA on May 07, 2014:
Yo, you so cray-cray. I loved the teen talk example in particular. Dude, I bet you are like one righteous teacher. Seriously, I cannot imagine being surrounded by these darlings all day. There must be an easier way to make a living. ;-). Voted up+++.