When you think of school, it's likely that "fun" isn't the first word that pops immediately to mind. No, you probably associate it with words like "homework" and "tests" and "behave, or you'll get sent to the principal's office." But there's usually an exception to every rule, and you might be surprised to learn that many teachers love April Fool's Day precisely because it gives both them and their students a chance to break the rules and have a good time.
School is stressful for everyone involved. Kids spend hours studying, sit through painful standardized tests, and create countless projects involving trifold poster boards and glitter glue. Teachers stay up late planning lessons, take up side hustles to pay the bills, and develop ulcers during classroom observation days. Is it any wonder they jump at the chance to let off a little steam during a day historically devoted to silly pranks?
As a preschool teacher, I consider April Fool's Day to be everyone else's version of my average working day. But my kids have come home over the years with hilarious stories of teacher and student pranks. My son once memorably enlisted a teacher's help with what may be the most brilliant April Fool's school joke of all time: using a school communication app to send his classmates a "homework" link that turned out to be a Rickroll. I don't know who laughed harder: my son or his teacher.
When I asked a number of teachers to give their opinions of April 1, the answers were both fun and fascinating. While some of my fellow educators aren't into April fooling, others take full advantage of the day, and still others have been the victim of their own students. The answers I got tended to fall into one of several categories. See what you think, and don't be surprised if your child comes home from school on April 1 with tales of how their class turned topsy-turvy for a day.
1. We Say: Bring It On!
"Every year, I always have fun little tricks and pranks for my students. I've always thought it important to bring laughter into my classroom. It's okay to have fun at school!" — Tricia, 5th grade teacher
"I love [playing April Fool's jokes]!" — Kim, kindergarten teacher
2. We Love Pranking Our Students (Especially With Brownies)
"Every year, I have the kids put their heads down with their eyes closed, then ask them if they want a big brownie or a little brownie. Then I give them a brown paper E and have them open their eyes. (But I give them real brownies afterwards!)" — Candy, kindergarten teacher
"I'm going to give my kids brown E's, with real brownies later. The looks on their faces are priceless!" — Sheri, kindergarten teacher
"I prank them every year. When I put up the homework to copy, I put up a very lonnnggggg list." — Dana, 2nd grade teacher
"When I taught 6th grade, I used to hide their stuff. They'd retaliate by stealing my chalk. We had a great relationship." — Kimberly, kindergarten teacher
"I've used cellophane wrap to wrap my students' desks together. One year, I moved all their desks in the morning; they moved them back, and then I moved them again at lunch. Once, I handed out a test similar to something a professor of mine did at college: I instructed the kids to read all the questions before starting, and the last question was: 'Only answer question 1,' which was to write their name at the top of the page. The other questions were things like 'Bark like a dog' and 'Say the alphabet backwards.' So you knew who didn't follow directions!" — Tricia
"All the teachers in our school are going to wear our pajamas, which will be funny, since it's our first day back from our spring break. And the kids get to wear their clothes backwards. I love the chance to rock my Harry Potter PJ's!" — Mary, elementary school teacher
3. We Prank Each Other, Too
"Our office manager likes to send out emails that say, 'You got a phone message from Harry Lyon, and he wants you to call him back.' Then she leaves the number for the Portland Zoo. She picks a new person to do this to every year, and it's hilarious." — Tara, kindergarten teacher
"I stole the bust of Edgar Allan Poe from our library and left a ransom note for the librarian. She had to complete an 'escape-the-room' type of task to find the key to the closet where he was hidden. I also had a prank war with a colleague of mine for more than two straight school years! He put selfies of himself in and around my desk; I got a yearbook picture of his frenemy and posted it on his board; he put up a 'Happy 40th Birthday' sign outside my room... on my 36th birthday. The list goes on." — Dena, high school teacher
4. The Kids Trick *Us* (And Creepy-Crawlies Are Usually Involved)
"My students used to bring in rubber snakes and cockroaches and hide them for me to find." — Miriam, elementary school teacher
"My kids know I hate bugs. One year, they put fake roaches in everything I had to open that day. I gave them bags of BeanBoozled jelly beans [a candy with gross flavors] at snack time." — Tricia
5. We Turn It Into A Teaching Opportunity
"I like to emphasize the letter X on April Fool's Day. We talk about how X is 'all mixed up' and only makes its sound at the end of words. We make an X book and eat Twix bars. I also like to mix up the classroom — putting the kids' supply 'tool boxes' at the wrong tables, moving my chair to the back of the rug instead of the front." — Janette, kindergarten teacher
6. We're Not Into It
"April Fool's isn't really a thing for me." — Alison, pre-K teacher
"I never really use April 1 for pranks, because most kids are wise to it, and the gullible are too traumatized for me to deal with." — Myles, elementary school teacher
"In 15 years and five schools, I've never seen anyone do something special with the day." — Kevin, high school teacher
"I've never done anything. My kids are still recovering from the leprechaun's visit on St. Patrick's Day. But now you're giving me ideas... !" — Lisa, pre-K teacher