Be vigilant on April 1

April Fools Day Pranks, pranks, april fools pranks, april fools day, school pranks, april fools day jokes

TEACHERS, be warned. Tuesday is April Fools’ Day. And, mind you, it is a school day! Therefore, you can expect to be fooled at least once on that day. If you have enterprising students, be vigilant and be prepared for anything!

It amuses me – you know, this whole April Fools’ Day thing. Even as early as 5am (the time I usually get up) I have to be wary of what may be waiting for me on my innocent trip downstairs to the kitchen, or on my writing desk, or in the bag I take to school. With two giggly daughters at home, anything is possible.

But, at least, with them, there’s one thing I don’t have to worry about. Their pranks aren’t the harmful type. As I write this, I recall what I’d read about a precocious boy who had wrapped the toilet bowl with Saran wrap and waited to see his father’s reaction when he went to the bathroom. The joke worked because the son could bank on his father taking a leak without looking down, or switching on the bathroom light!

Who started it this April tomfoolery?

Hoaxes and jokes

On a website for creative ideas for teaching, Megan Crandall, herself a teacher, clarifies in a history lesson online that the celebration of April Fools’ Day is believed to have begun many years ago in France. The celebration dates back to an ancient New Year’s festival held on the vernal Equinox, March 21 – when nature “fools” mankind with fickle weather.

As she puts it, “This was the beginning of the new year according to the pre-Gregorian calendar. In France, when the implementation of the Gregorian calendar was changed, by Charles IX in 1564, the beginning of the new year was changed and celebrated on Jan 1.”

But, as we now know it, some people continued to celebrate the day on the first of April and over time, it became known as April Fools’ Day.

Meanwhile, ever reliable Wikipedia states that the traditions of April Fools’ Day are marked by “a commission of hoaxes and practical jokes” which include sending people on “fool’s errands”, the purpose being to “embarrass the gullible”.

Question: Are you the gullible type? If you are, then you’re very likely to be a victim of your students’ “errant” ways come Tuesday. As I said earlier, be prepared.

Even as I say this, I could very well add, “Look who’s talking!” You see, I have, despite my vigilance, been made an April Fool before and will, in all probability, get fooled again this year by my mischievous brats at school.

Of course, it doesn’t happen when the day starts because then, I am at my vigilant best. But, when I get caught up with lessons, that’s when I drop my guard and inevitably get fooled. Truly, by 10 in the morning, there will be times when I’d have clean forgotten what day it is.

Here are some things that have happened to me before.

Once, I went to my car after a student whom I did not teach (why did that make him so much more believable?) came up calmly and told me that my car lights were still on. Of course they weren’t.

Another prankster told me that the principal wanted to see me, and I rushed to the office. (At the back of my mind, I knew it could be a hoax. But what if it wasn’t? My frontal brain cortex refused to face the consequences of that.)

Good with details

I got news that my class register was wanted, and I believed it. Another time, I was informed that my husband was waiting to see me in the office. I ran down, wondering what had happened to one of my girls. (Students are very good withdetails – they’ll tell you the exact make of your husband’s car, etc, so how not to trust them?)

I was even informed about a fictitious meeting after school and given an acknowledgment form to sign. A girl student even came up to me once and quietly whispered that one of my buttons was undone.I quickly checked my blouse.

Oh, those pranksters. How they laugh when they catch you out! Their incorrigible faces!

One thing I have noted about students. They’ll play their worst pranks on teachers they don’t like, but they won’t dare to laugh in front of their victim. Neither will they own up to their prank.

So, if they pull a fast one on you and dare to laugh right in front of you, you can be assured that you’re in their favour. You’re supposed to be the sporting type. Hah!

Still, come Tuesday, I’ll be on my guard. For instance, I’ll be suspici-ous when students choose to crowd around my desk (purportedly to have some concept explained to them). I’ll be cautious about turning my back to them (in case they stick some silly stuff there). And yes, I will check my chair before sitting on it.

Talking about guarding my back, I was rather aghast when I read that the French traditionally celebrated April Fools’ Day by placing dead fish on the backs of friends!

According to Wikipedia, in France the person fooled is known as poisson d’avri, a term derived from the fact that the sun quits the zodiacal sign of the fish in April.

A fishy story indeed! I guess that’s how the expression, “something fishy”, came about too.

Fortunately enough, the practice in France today is for children to stick fish-shaped paper cut-outs onto the back of their friends’ shirts. That’s so much better, don’t you think, than having smelly fish on your back?

Well, all I can say is this: “Forewarned is forearmed.” And, as I pen off, I certainly hope Mark Twain was not right when he defined April 1st as the day when “we are reminded of what we are on the other 364 days. God forbid!