The Trending Prof

Anita Woods Ph.D., University Educator

Prank the Teacher?

I had my first prank in lecture at the end of the school year.  A savvy student (or group of conspirators) placed a smart phone inside my podium timed to go off with a song, ten minutes into lecture.  I figured out pretty quick what was going on, but I had to stop the lecture to find and disable the device.  Funny? Yes, it was.  Disruptive.  Wow. I could not find my groove and get back into the presentation.  I was already pressed for time and bumbling over a few slides really caused the panic to rise.
Lectures are not easy to give as I am sure all teachers would agree with me on that point, no matter how many lectures I have given.

And although I don’t memorize what I will say, I have planned every transition and the first 5 minutes really set the tone.  So although it was haha funny, it probably wasn’t the best prank to pull because in the end.  A carefully crafted lecture completely tanked and for that, students lose, which was not fair to the class.

The 12 year old me starts to wonder if these students like or dislike me.  I can see both sides, that this directed prank is because they think I can handle it, and that I would laugh it off.  But I can also see it as the prank to get at the prof they can’t stand. I really hope it is the former, and I can definitely take a joke.  However, those little insecurities definitely do rise up in situations like these.

Today, another prank showed up.  Today was funny.  A cute little meme referring to the busy day I was going to have collecting student interview requests for our thesis supervisors.


Funny? Yes, very.  Appropriate and no one was disrupted/hurt/offended.  Touché.

Have you ever been pranked?

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