April Fool’s Day, 1977

5 Apr


Growing up, the rule was that all April Fool’s pranks had to be played before noon. I don’t know who made that rule. My mom? Some teachers? I just thought everybody knew that.

April 1, 2016 saw me in a different school than I’d been in the year before. I’d enforced the April Fool’s Rule there, but I hadn’t said anything to my 6th graders about behavioral expectations for  any pranks they might be thinking about playing.

Apparently there was no need to worry. The only thing someone did was change the date I;d written on the board from Friday, April 1, 2016 to Friday, April 2, 2016. Sheesh, these guys were lame!

It brought me back to grade 7. My teacher that year was my least favorite then, and now. Mrs. Moore just seemed to have no rapport with us, I wonder now, if she chose to teach at our school or if she’d been moved there. She wasn’t a bad teacher,  even though we called her  “Massah Moore” after the evil plantation owner in Roots which had aired earlier that year. Mostly, she just seemed distant.  So, when Craig Pestell convinced our class to play an April Fool’s prank as a whole class,we thought we’d be OK.

We started every morning with opening exercises that involved singing O Canada,  among other things. Mrs. Moore would blow the note on her pitch-pipe and we’d start singing. Craig talked the class into singing a new song. When the note was blown, we’d all begin with the initial  “O” of O Canada, then transition the “O” smoothly into “Old” and sing Old Macdonald had a farm, instead.

I remember being excited as we  stood for opening exercises and it all came off without a hitch. Except we hadn’t anticipated Mrs Moore’s reaction. She was livid. She yelled at us like I’ve never seen anyone get angry at a whole class. She called us disrespectful and rude. Our innocent fun had flopped terribly.

Then, as now, I think her reaction was unwarranted. If she had chuckled, rolled her eyes and said “Very funny. Now, let’s do it the right way!”, I probably wouldn’t remember this April Fool’s Day almost 40 years later.  But she didn’t. She made us feel small. I’d like to think that if my students were to play this prank on me I’d be a better sport than Mrs Moore, who drove the wedge between herself and her students a little deeper that day.

9 Responses to “April Fool’s Day, 1977”

  1. lisaorchard1 April 5, 2016 at 5:36 am #

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. It’s interesting to see the different personalities who go into teaching. I’m betting this teacher didn’t have the patience or the stamina to really have a positive impact on her students. She probably should’ve made a different career choice. 🙂

  2. ldianereed57 April 5, 2016 at 5:41 am #

    Thank you for sharing your memory of a horrible reaction from a teacher. As a teacher you need a sense of humor; it keeps you sane. I describe myself as the epitome of a strict teacher. There are times when I let my hair down. Raising my hand to signal silence may result in an impromptu “Raise your hands in the air like you just don’t care.” This event has prompted dancing from my energetic students. I sometimes join in. Life does not always have to be so serious. Your 7th-grade teacher could have formed a bond with you and your peers that would have evoked fond memories. So sorry she could not see past her nose.

  3. Kelly Neylon April 5, 2016 at 5:58 am #

    Times sure have changed, haven’t they! I would hope we would all just laugh it off, haha funny funny and do it again. We (of the older generation) seem to remember the horrible a little more than the awesome. I’m sure that won’t be the case for your kiddos! You’ll help them remember the fun, too! Lovely slice today!

  4. Christine Baldiga April 5, 2016 at 7:12 am #

    What a great story to remind me that laughter is a bonding agent! And that we need to chuckle once in a while. Interesting that you recall this story forty years later – it really shows that it’s the small things!

  5. jhaworthoy April 5, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    That is too bad about Mrs. Moore. I wonder why she went into teaching? I remember I taught one class of 6th graders a class called social skills. I had a different group each quarter and as guidance counselor it gave me a time and place to get to know all students. On April 1st, I walked into a half full class. I figured the missing students were hiding in the closet so I sat down and said something like…I’d have to give detentions to all the students who came in late. (Of course, I didn’t even have detention slips so had to have one of the students go to the office to get me some.) Finally, the hiding students came out and said “April Fools” and I just continued writing out the detention slips muttering that there was no time for this kind of nonsense in school. The poor students were stunned. I couldn’t take it any more so passed out the detention slips, which of course, said “April Fools” . We all had a big laugh. Yes, teachers need to know how to laugh.

  6. terierrol April 5, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    I loved reading your story. A great reminder of the power of humor, not taking life too seriously and the importance of having fun with your students. Thanks

  7. vanessaw2007 April 5, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Ack.. I needed this reminder today…I’ve been way too serious lately!

  8. arjeha April 5, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    It is a shame that things got blown out of proportion when a little fun could have been had by all. When I was still teaching sixth grade the biggest prank was that my shoe laces were open. I would always thank them for telling me and then move on. They never knew what to make of it.

  9. mrssurridge April 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm #

    Such a great reminder that one of our students may remember us 40 years later! I want to make sure it’s a good memory. 🙂

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