gmarquardt has an M.A. in history and German from SWTSU and has over 30 years teaching experience at public high schools.
Pranks to Play on Students
Schools around the nation are gearing up for the new year. Students are purchasing new backpacks and clothes, parents are getting tingly all over in anticipation of quiet houses, older people are giddy over the prospect of empty libraries and parks, and teachers are preparing diligently for eager students willing to learn. (Sounds of fingernails being dragged across the chalkboard!)
Nope! Teachers are steeling themselves against the onslaught of immature young people, and nothing prepares them more than the thought of a good prank. This article discusses the top ten pranks to play on students!
10. Dude, What Was That Answer?
For an entire period, give out wrong answers. When I taught geography, I said, "The capital of Texas is Austin," but on the board, I wrote, "Texas=Laredo." Then I would go around looking at notebooks, wondering who wrote it down incorrectly.
Sometimes you can just say the wrong thing as well, just to confuse students. In German, the language is quite phonetic, and there are few exceptions to pronunciation. When my students see English words in German, normally pronounced exactly as they are in English, they just read them as they usually would. However, every once in a while, I'll give them the wrong pronunciation.
For example, if they read a German sentence with the word "Mountain bike" in it (in German, it is Mountainbike, pronounced exactly like in English), I interrupt them and tell them it is pronounced, "Mahn-taeen-ah-beake." They then reread the sentence, correcting themselves, whereby I tell them I was just kidding. For some reason, this is pretty funny to everyone involved!
9. Where Are the Answers?
Make up an extensive word search with about twenty vocabulary words. However, don't actually include any of the vocabulary words. That should keep them busy for a little while.
Of course, almost any type of school work would be fitting for this prank; a quiz with no correct answers, a crossword where the obvious answers don't fit the number of squares, etc. If you've graded a class set of papers by the time one of your smart students figures it out, that's a successful prank!
8. The Fake Test
Direct your students to take a pop quiz. After all the grumbling and the annoyingly whiny "really?" complaints subside, tell them "April Fools!" or some other excuse why you were just joking around.
Then make them take the quiz anyway! Don't forget the golden rule of teaching: If they're upset about having to do work, you're doing something right!
7. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!
When you have about ten minutes left, tell them you have a surprise guest coming. Have them close their eyes and wait for the surprise. Go out the door and relax for a few minutes before your students realize you left them.
Make it a competition and see if you can finish your entire cup of coffee before anyone notices. If your blood pressure lowers five points or more, consider the prank a success.
6. Who's Your Favorite Student?
Robert comes into the classroom and as he reaches the door, I joyfully ask, "How’s my favorite student doing today?"
"Just fine," he cheerfully responds.
"Really...?" I ask surprisingly. Then, in a serious tone, I say, "...because Susie seems to be a little down lately."
Read More From Owlcation
Surprisingly, this works on students for weeks!
5. You Have a Life?
This prank can take a year or so to finish, so be patient. Use a video camera and interview single senior students out in the hall, using a made-up controversial topic that students wish to weigh in on.
"So, Robert, what do you think about prom being moved from the Hilton Suites to the local agricultural barn?" As the students are making their arguments against the local barn, have teachers move in behind them and dance, make faces, or have posters with positive or funny statements written on them.
Create simple, ten to twenty-second spots with the entire faculty and plenty of student interviews. Then show the completed ten-minute video at prom, which takes place at the Hilton and was never really going to be moved anyway!
Teachers Prank Students
4. Extended Time
Two weeks before school gets out for summer vacation, tell the students that the school board has extended class for three more weeks to make up for America's weak showing on the International Standards Test. (Just make something up, they won't know the difference. Tell them the results are in and the Japanese "handed it" to them again).
Then hand out a very difficult project that coincidently takes three weeks to complete. Remember, the louder the groans and complaints, the better you should be feeling.
3. What Assignment?
Start class with a sad expression and tell your class, "I am very disappointed that only a few of you handed in last week's essay." (A few good students can add to the enjoyment by letting them in on the joke).
"Hey Robert, I really appreciate how hard you worked on that essay, good job!" Throw a couple of students some candy and congratulate them on getting an "A" on their tests. Watching the look on their faces is priceless and helps remind you that money isn't everything...power is!
2. Arrested Development
We have plenty of students who go on to study criminal justice and work in law enforcement. Having graduated school and now working as a police officer, John returned to school to talk to some old teachers, as he had business in the area. (It's a public school, after all).
John came to see one of his favorite teachers, who had no previous knowledge that he was coming. However, being quick-witted as this teacher was, the practical joke played itself out. John walked into the classroom in full uniform and asked, "Are you Mr. Teer?"
"Yes, yes I am," responded Mr. Teer timidly and hesitantly.
"You need to come with me," the officer stated authoritatively. As he grabbed Mr. Teer and moved him against the wall, John searched him and then handcuffed him. Led out of the classroom, Mr. Teer lowered his head in shame.
The students looked around in disbelief, totally quiet. Three minutes later, the last bell of the day rang, dismissing the students. It wasn't until the following day, when Mr. Teer walked back into the school, that everyone figured out it was just a joke. In this small town, I'm sure the principal and the superintendent received more than a few telephone calls that night!
1. Make Time Move
There was a student who had a bad habit of sleeping in class. I don't know if he was just lazy or if he had a night job. Regardless, this student slept often and deeply. His class was the last period of the day, and one day, just to break up the routine, I set the clock ahead about thirty minutes and took the whole class right outside the room, around the hallway.
I then returned, waited a good minute or two, and walked up to the student. I shook his shoulder and quietly said, "Jaron, the bell rang some time ago; it's time to leave."
He looked around, pretty confused, and suddenly blurted out, "F&@$, I was supposed to ride the bus!"
There you have it, the top ten pranks to pull on students. But always remember, if students play a prank on a teacher, that’s NEVER funny.
© 2012 gmarquardt
kima jones on February 01, 2018:
Anonymous on March 15, 2017:
It's funnier if you pull one on a teacher
tebo from New Zealand on April 02, 2016:
Great pranks. Nice when the teacher has a good sense of humour. Enjoyed watching the video too.
Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on April 01, 2015:
We did prank our sub - during some film, when she went to the office, the whole class got up and left the room in a long rectangular building and peered around the side to see the startled look on her face when she discovered that the entire class had left! Another great prank was in orchestra class. We all switched instruments - what cacophony! Good old days :) :) ;)
David from West Midlands, England on October 22, 2014:
I love it. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.
jaijay on August 19, 2014:
Where can i find the steps of pranks for childrens????
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 03, 2014:
Thank you for taking the time to write this funny hub:) Have a great week.
Richard Parr from Australia on April 02, 2014:
Love it! You teachers deserve the stress relief, and the students-no doubt-deserve the payback. Voted up and button punched.
A Student on April 01, 2014:
One year, my math teacher told us that if we us told the cafeteria lady the code "31,415", we would get free ice cream. Needless to say, I never got my ice cream.
RobSawyer on May 16, 2013:
My professor told us a good one he pulled on the first day of class. He had another teacher pretend to be him while the actual teacher pretended to be a student sitting in the class.
Then the fake teacher starts the lecture saying something about moving at an accelerated pace, where he then starts teaching material that no one understands, except a few students he has planted information with. So some students are actively answering questions while the rest are completely dumbfounded, eventually the actual professor raises his hand to ask if he can move at a slower pace.
Then the fake teacher and him end up getting in an argument where the fake teacher storms out of the classroom saying something like, "If it was any easier you could teach it yourself!" So then the actual teacher says, "Well I guess I could give it a shot..." and starts teaching the class. I thought it was a pretty clever an in depth prank, confusing all of the students who weren't in on the prank.
ketage from Croatia on May 11, 2013:
LOL , sounds like it would have been fun to be in your class, coming from a highly disciplined school, there wasn't a lot of pranks being pulled by teachers or students.
Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 15, 2012:
Teachers just want to have fun......I love this! Voted up and away!
lucky2bealive from Maryland on August 26, 2012:
Very funny ! LOve it ...
Judy Specht from California on August 25, 2012:
Totally loved the controversy video. Bravo!
We totally punked a sub when I was in middle school. The first bell rang and the whole class without a hesitation gathered their stuff and left. If the VP hadn't come out of the office we would have been long gone. It stood me in good stead when I was a sub. You better believe I knew the bell schedules.
Rhys Baker from Peterborough, UK on August 25, 2012:
I've have sent many pupils on the search for a 'long wait' in another teacher's room. They think I am sending them for some physics equipment...Having the other teacher in on the act makes it much more hilarious.
Also the classics such as sending a pupil to get some glass nails/tartan paint etc is usually good for a laugh.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 24, 2012:
A teacher after my own heart! I pulled so many pranks I've forgotten many of them. Hey, a teacher has to have fun, right?
FreezeFrame34 from Charleston SC on August 24, 2012:
Very funny! Would love to try some of these, but would probably lose my job- nothing funny about that! Actually saw #10 in action when I was in Jr. High. I still laugh thinking of that kid's face, how quickly he ran out into the hall.....Just to realize we were all out there laughing. Teacher moved the clock an hour fast and closed all of the blinds! Student never slept again in class! Funny stuff!