Pranking My Students Helped Me Solved Discipline Issues
I had a huge problem with my college students. They loved coming to class late. So if the class starts at 9 am, they will only be there at 9.30am. It was a problem, an annoying problem. That being said, it was not something that the disciplinary board would take any action on. So, I decided to hit back by pranking my students.
Like every class, most of my students came to class late. Most of them, except for about five who were there early. I stood up and addressed all five of them. To start off, it was pointed out that it was not fair for us to all wait for them.
I told them that I appreciate them for always being early. However, it’s about time that those who are late pay for it. So I asked everyone to play along. I wrote on the whiteboard that the submission date for the most recent assignment was moved up. I told all of my students to play along and look busy.
The plan was to look as if they were all busy. As the group trickled in, they will tell the rest of the class that the assignment date was moved up. They will then urge their friends to start completing the assignment at that very moment.
The prank worked better than I could imagine. As the latecomers trickled into the class, all those who were early sent them into a panic. All the latecomers began frantically completing their work. I kept the fear up, telling them that the college demanded that they submit their work today or it is an automatic failure.
As I was inciting fear, I could see some of the early comers smirking. If I had to guess, I think they were enjoying it too. After a good hour of mental torture, I finally broke the news to the class. I told the latecomers the truth. The reaction I got was surprising, they were actually happy that the assignment was not due on that day. Some even burst out laughing.
However, I decided to turn their attention toward the lesson at hand.
I had two lessons for the students. The first being that it is not nice to make others wait for you. Pretty standard I suppose, but the next lesson was something that I wanted them to remember. That lesson is that being a teacher, you don’t get to be late. Since most of them will be setting an example for the students, their current attitude is unacceptable.
It seemed like I have gotten to them. Their attitude improved dramatically. Most were early to class the following day. Some were not, but I guess old habits die hard. There was one student who ignored the lessons taught.
He did not want to come early to class despite repeated warnings and the prank. So, I took a more ‘direct’ approach. That is a story for another post.