From the forums

21st June 2013 at 01:00

When did you last play a prank on students?

Have we lost this (ability to prank) amid all the targets and improvement agenda? Last time for me was 1 April 2009 when I had the whole school (including staff) with their shoes and socks off for a foot inspection. Where has the fun gone?


I did try one prank on a residential trip. We spun the students a yarn about it being a top-secret military thing so we needed to collect all mobile phones. We collected, bagged and tagged them. Unfortunately, one student still had their phone and called their mother, who called the headteacher, who phoned up asking what was going on. I kept my job, but it is a bit risky to do pranks nowadays.


On past April Fool's Days I have had the students lying out on the school field making patterns so that the Google Earth satellite can photograph them. I have also had them lining up to carry out "eye exercises" so that they would not need to wear the spectacles when watching a 3D film.


I told a student that if he didn't return his two English literature books by Friday, he would find myself and the head of English waiting outside his house with a large dog and a clawhammer. "Sir, you can't do that!" he said. He thought I was being serious for a good 10 seconds.


A number of times, not long before exams, I would do the mock test. You know the one: 20 questions, with the first instruction being "read all the questions before you begin writing". The questions start off quite normally and then the become a little more strange - for example, "Go and sit in the nearest empty chair." Of course, the last question is: "Answer questions 1 and 2 only."


I set one group some extra work when they had failed to hand in their homework. It happened when Radio 3 was playing the whole of Wagner's Ring Cycle back to back. I told them the start time and instructed them to take notes on the use of harmony, texture and structure. What I failed to tell them was just how long the whole Ring Cycle lasts. Only one student listened to the whole thing.



Join the debate at www.tesconnect.comforums.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today