You know, April Fool’s Day doesn’t fall on a school day for another three years, so my co-teachers and I planned a memorable day for the students.
First, the tired and trodden students ambled sleepily into the hallway only to be met with a Barrage of Large Objects in Their Path, and found themselves ducking under the high jump bars, around a very large caged bunny, moving past a fake tree, hoisting themselves over a massive, ten foot long, two foot high long jump mat, and proceeding down the hallway, filled with a roll-y cart, a commercial vacuum cleaner, and a table supporting a large bowl of…. onions. And a broom was sticking out of the library book return receptacle.
As students streamed into school, they asked our secretary who filled the hall.
“You tell me!” she retorted.
Confused, the high school students turned to our “slightly annoyed” high school teacher.
“Who filled the hall?”
“Well it was obviously some of the older ones, either the seniors or the youth group who rented the gym last night!” he sighed, irritated. (Our prank wasn’t just the hall-filling, but also convincing the students that we hadn’t done it.) The surprised students immediately began denying their involvement; THEY certainly didn’t want to be held responsible or have to clean up the mess. (We as teachers VOWED that the responsible parties would put everything away.)
“I wonder who it was,” the ornery students asked, in awe.
Students who attended the “offending” youth group’s gym night immediately began protesting.
“I’m sure it wasn’t us! We didn’t even have keys to the school! They school renter unlocked for us!”
The high school teacher brushed them aside.
“You could have easily gotten a key!”
“But it wasn’t us! You have to believe us!”
One conscientious student, on his way to class, approached the teacher and said penitently, “I just want you to know that it wasn’t me. You can call my parents. I was definitely home last night and there is no way that I did it.”
Meanwhile, the seniors headed to their second class and stopped the principal.
“Who was it? Who filled the hall?”
“Well it was obviously your youth group!” he retorted.
“It wasn’t us! We promise!”
“Well then maybe it was the senior girls!” he hurumphed.
The senior girls were getting visibly upset and started protesting louder,
“IT WASN’T US! Why do we always get blamed for everything?!”
“All right, come here, I need you to help me with something,” our principal said. He disappeared for a few moments, and then pulled up to the school’s front door with his car, of which he had taken off the side mirrors.
For the seniors, it suddenly clicked what was going on. They greedily helped him ease the car into the hallway. Just yet another Large Object in the Path.
Around this time, we teachers released the three BABY GOATS into the gym.
The poor little kindergarten class, whose classroom is right next door to the gym, heard a bleating sound. One small student excitedly announced to his pregnant teacher, “I just heard your baby make a noise!”
Next, our secretary asked a senior girl to “go get me something from the fridge.” A few moments later we hear screams of terror as she returns.
“MISS MILLER, MISS MILLER! THERE’S BABY GOATS IN THE GYM! THEY’RE RUNNING AROUND AND THEY SCARED ME SO BAD!”
Meanwhile, in the junior high classroom, we were having a surprisingly fun class. We had just played a game in celebration of finishing our annual research papers and had settled in to a monotonous grammar review. Midway through the review, I stopped.
“Did you all hear that? I heard a cell phone.”
“I was sure I heard a cell phone,” I said. “Does anyone have one in your desk?”
I cocked my head at a seventh grade boy and bored into him with my gaze. I marched over to him.
“I’ve talked to you before about having your phone in your desk instead of keeping it turned off and outside in the hall in your backpack.” I put my hands on my hips. “You’re going to have to give me your phone.” I returned to the front of class and threw the purple cell phone on my desk. I put my hands on hips and sighed angrily. Suddenly, I whipped a hammer out of my desk and began smashing the phone to pieces! Up and down and up and down I raised the hammer, hitting the phone to bits! Tiny pieces of glass spread over my desk and onto the floor. The phone nearly slid off my desk, but I reached after it smashing it over and over with my mallet.
Out of the corner of my eye, I grew startled by junior high students’ scared, apprehensive glances. THEY WERE IN LITERAL SHOCK.
I could hardly contain myself. I fought not to laugh, but all of a sudden I grew pained because I realized that my students were actually afraid of me in that moment, terrified at the monster I had become.
I gurgled and giggled nervously. “Uh, April Fool’s, guys.”
Only two students kind of giggled. The rest stared at me strangely, not believing what they had just seen. They sat in solemn terror. I tried to lighten it up by laughing and explaining how I had planned this at the beginning of the day with the seventh grade boy. He, of course, was smiling behind his hand. Once I was sure that they all got that it was a joke, we resumed English class, but they were all still a little shaken! They all sat quietly through the rest of grammar class, even as I kept giggling at the front of the classroom. By the end though, they were smiling shyly and me and each other.
Student 1: “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I thought: ‘She is WAY overreacting.’”
Student 2: “I was SOOOOO scared! I was shaking!”
Student 3: “I was pretty sure a guy wouldn’t have a purple phone.”
Student 4: “I knew he didn’t have a phone, so I was pretty sure it was a joke.”
Student 5: “I thought you had literally GONE CRAZY.”
Down at typing class, our secretary had created her own fun by changing the autocorrect on all the computers so that whenever the students typed the word “candy” (a word from their typing exercise for the day), it would automatically change to rude name-calling names. How would you like it if the words you keep trying to type change to “Stinky Face” or “Liver-witted Hiney Squeegee”? (Tears are rolling down my cheeks right now.)
One high school teacher gave a test, with regular questions interspersed with IMPOSSIBLE questions that the students could never be expected to know.
A particularly conscientious student, quite confused, reasoned, “Mr. Yoder, I’m SURE we never went over these in class! And I KNOW they weren’t on the review sheet!”
“Are you sure?” he answered, calm and surprised. “Keep working; maybe you’ll find a question later that can help you with this one.”
That question being the last question on the test: “DO YOU REMEMBER THAT TODAY IS APRIL FOOL’S DAY?!”
Not wanting to leave out the little ones, we even got the youngest students in on the fun. Our kindergarten teacher passed out little packets of Cheerios labeled “Donut Seeds.”
“Take these home and plant them, and you can have your very own donut tree!” she said.
Most of the young ones knew it was a joke because she had carefully explained to them about the prank in the hallway and had even read a story about April Fool’s Day. But one young man somehow missed it all because later he was still talking about taking home his donut seeds so that he could grow his own donuts.
Back in the high school classroom, our math teacher was explaining the kindergarten prank to some students in one of his math classes. Which prompted the math students to ask:
“So what’s YOUR April Fool’s day joke? What’s YOUR teacher prank?”
Mr. Dave squinted his eyes and said, “Well, actually, I was the one who put the stuff in the hall.”
“No you didn’t!” they crowed. “That’s your prank, is you getting us to THINK that you put the stuff in the hallway! But you actually didn’t!”
By this time, we as teachers are just howling because of how many levels of prank-ness there is by now.
“No, this time I really did it!” he laughed.
By this time, the students decided to get in on the fun. They successfully sequestered the high school teacher’s fancy, cushy, office chair, awkwardly lugging the large rolling chair, from end-to-end of the school, in panicked rush, to avoid being seen by the high school teacher on the warpath to find his chair.
Ninth and tenth did a great one on me. I breezed into class ready to give them their vocabulary quiz, going off about the absent students and chirping about who should and shouldn’t take the quiz today… I began passing out the quizzes when I realized that all of them were smiling strangely at me. Then I realized: they’re ALL in different seats! (I have assigned seating in that class.) I hadn’t noticed at all!
One last April Fool’s Day prank came from the junior high students. Our student council planned a beautiful Easter meal today. We set up in the back of our classroom. We had fancy decorations of tulips and pearls, and ate off those really nice fake silver plasticware sets, and had grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, jello, and the most especially divine white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. (Mother who made the cheesecake: it was superb, as always!) Before we prayed our Easter prayer and ate our meal, the student council made an announcement.
“Since it’s Easter, we have a gift for each of you! BUT: you have to wait til everyone gets a present to open one!” One seventh grader ceremoniously handed each student a nicely-packaged gift bag.
“Okay! You can open them!”
We dove into our bags, clawing, and giggling with glee. And we each unwrapped…. a rock.
A dumb ‘ole rock.
Boring gray lumps of stone.
“What.” we intoned.
“APRIL FOOL’S!” the Council yelled.
We all laughed together and then our class president led us in a special prayer of thanks.
Probably one of the best April Fool’s days I’ve ever had.
Later in study hall, the junior high girls and I dissected the rest of the cell phone. So, obviously, we had fun.