shutterstock_68311354_lrApril Fool’s Day can be a risky holiday for teachers. Thinking about a fake pop quiz?  Not so funny for the kid with test anxiety. Or how about an “official” announcement that there are added days to the school year? This joke falls flat on the ears of the student who only gets to see his parent over vacation.

It may be wise to think out your April fool’s Day pranks before the big day. Try these 3 questions:

Does your April Fool’s Day prank…

  1. …respect and dignify students? Any April Fool’s Day joke inherently calls the recipient a fool.  Does the joke you’re about to play on your students compromise their dignity or diminish your respect for them in any way? Feeling emotionally protected from embarrassment and humiliation is key to any safe classroom environment. If this safety is compromised, not only can academic performance suffer, but students can get angry or hurt.
  2. …build trust? Most pranks work because they take advantage of some element of trust.  Your students believe you because you are their trusted teacher.  Students need to trust their teacher in order to feel welcomed, valued, and respected in the classroom.  Does your April Fool’s plan honor that trust?
  3. …build a strong, positive relationship? April Fool’s pranks, by design, are pretty one-sided.  One person is in on the joke and the others get taken for fools.  That is not the kind of teacher-student relationship that promotes concern and care for one another.

If you honestly have to answer “no” to any of the above, consider how you can alter your plans so that you can still have some fun without damaging your classroom environment or your relationship with your students.