Wednesday was April Fools day. I had all these ideas of jokes to play but they all got foiled. My students, on the other hand, got me twice.
1. One of my students in my 7 person calculus class was not in the room at the start of class. I told all the students that they should each have one of their English or History papers ready to hand in, because in the middle of the class I was going to exclaim “Oh my! I forgot to collect your reports on the mathematicians important to the development of calculus.” And then everyone would go in their bags, rustling their papers, and one of them was going to say how they didn’t have a stapler… The student who was late was going to totally freak out, about this huge assignment that he clearly knew nothing about and didn’t do.
It didn’t work. Why? The student wasn’t late. He was absent.
2. I finished class 5 minutes early, so I sent two students to the math office to get the department head, or any teacher who wasn’t teaching. They were supposed to say something about how I got angry and threw a calculator at a student, and it hit the student in the head and now the student was bleeding and I was freaking out, and they didn’t know what to do so they thought they’d get the department head. Then I would yell APRIL FOOLS when she came into the room.
It didn’t work. Why? Because the department head wasn’t in the office, and the teacher who did come knows me too well. Plus the students were being overly histrionic and said that I was sobbing in the corner. She knew I wouldn’t sob.
However, students in the same class pulled two jokes on me.
1. We’ve been working on integrals involving inverse trigonometric functions, including . Literally 30 seconds after reviewing this, I put up a new smartboard page and I put on the board the question:
One student raises his hand and says he wants to try to solve it. He then proceeds to do a really convoluted substitution, which basically led us down the worst paths possible. Each step he takes, I start cringing some more, but I don’t want to give it away that this is just lunacy, and that we can solve this problem SO easily. I want him to come to the conclusion that whatever he’s doing won’t work. Finally, after we take up 5-7 minutes going down this path, and he suddenly shouts out “APRIL FOOLS! IT IS OBVIOUSLY !”
2. Later in the class, I’m working out some harder problems at the board, and I notice that one of the students is seems like he’s closer to me. I continue on, and every few seconds, I’m thinking “something is off in this room.” About sixty seconds later, I look at this student, who is sitting at his desk, which is now literally 2 feet away from me. He had slowly been inching his desk towards me. APRIL FOOLS MR. SHAH.
However, I did get a small prank in today, April 2nd.
In my OTHER calculus class (17 students – and 10 of them were absent for a field trip), I gave a 3 question pop quiz and 8 minutes to complete it. Well, two minutes before time was up, I told everyone “don’t forget to do the problems on the back.” Frantic students flipped over to see what they still had to do. (Of course, the other side was blank.) Then I shouted “APRIL SECONDS!” They said “Good one Mr. Shah.”
And it was. And it was.