Even lecturers love to have a laugh and joke on April Fools' Day!April Fools’ Day could possibly be one of my favourite days of the year. From the wild and wonderful to the satirical and silly, it’s always a laugh to read the newspaper or watch the news to see what clangers they have come up with this year.
My favourite has to be the BBC’s Flying Penguins prank back in 2008. We should have guessed really - it was narrated by Monty Python’s very own Terry Jones! Click here to see it!
At university it’s no different - in fact some would argue it’s worse. And its not always the students. Our lecturers, while upstanding members of the community on the other 364 days of the year, have arguably the best brains in the country and so are known to have created some super pranks.
Here are a few classic university pranks to have happened in recent history, as told by lecturers*….yes REALLY!
* All identities have been withheld to ensure they can continue to prank us all this year!
Languages Lecturer, Nottingham
"In our German lessons, the language is quite phonetic, and there are few exceptions to pronunciation. When my students see English words in German, which are normally pronounced exactly as they are in English, they just read them as they normally would. However, every once in a while, say April Fools’ Day, 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, Mahntaeenahbeake. They then reread the sentence, correcting themselves.
Yes, eventually I will let them in on the joke……but not before they have repeated it several times over, much to my amusement.”
The fake test
Business Law Lecturer, Southampton
“At the start of a lesson I announce students will be taking an impromptu test. After all the grumbling and the annoyingly whiny "Really?" complaints, I tell them "April Fools!” They then relax only for me to make them take the test anyway!”
The missing assignment English Lecturer, Edinburgh
“I start class with a sad expression and tell them all, "I am very disappointed that only a few of you handed in last week’s essay. The best part is enlisting the help of a few good students to help make the joke work even better - “Hey Rob, I really appreciate how hard you worked on that essay, good job!" Watching the look on everyone’s faces is priceless, and helps remind you that money isn’t everything... power is! (followed by an evil James Bond villain laugh!!)”
Targeting the sleepy student Psychology Lecturer, Bristol
“I had a student who had a bad habit of sleeping in lectures. I don’t know if he was just lazy or if he had a night job but it was really starting to get on my wick. On April 1st last year I set the clock ahead about thirty minutes and took the whole class outside the room. I then went back in, waited a good minute or two and walked up to the student. I shook his shoulder and quietly said, "Peter, the lecture ended 2 hours ago, it’s time to leave." His face when he woke up was a picture but not half as good as when he was greeted by the rest of his class as he ran out the door! He didn’t fall asleep in one of my lectures again, thats for sure!”
History Lecturer, London
“A regular April Fools’ Day joke that never fails to amuse me - we get to about 10 minutes before the end of the class and I announce to everyone we have a surprise guest coming in. I got them to close their eyes and wait for the surprise. I snuck out the door and had a nice relax for a few minutes before they realised I had actually left them. Over the years - and it has been quite a few - I’ve made it a competition (with myself!) to see if I can finish an entire cup of coffee before anyone notices.”
And its not always the lecturers who are to blame. Us students get up to some very silly pranks too. Here’s an oldie but a goodie. In 1958 a group of students at Cambridge University managed to get a car on to the top of Senate House. It took a week to get the car down and left officials scratching their heads as to how they got it up there for months afterwards. The people responsible, along with their ringleader Peter Davey, have since attained somewhat legendary status. We aren’t suggesting anyone try this again, although they did recreate it a few years back - if only to see how it was done!
So there you have it - many would argue that making the most of April Fools' Day jokes can actually relieve stress, create camaraderie between students and lecturers as well as creating lasting memories. And they can go a long way in building relationships and creating solidarity in class. We just need to remember to bring our sense of humour to all lectures taking place on Monday April 1st!
So, what are you waiting for? Perhaps you can even get ahead of your lecturers this time and prank them! Just make sure you remember to lock your bedroom door before heading to lectures this April Fools' Day. You never know what your flatmates might get up to!