Grade nine was an endless series of pranks played upon the teachers. Sometimes I don't know how we got any learning done at all. Oops. I guess we didn't. The main thing that strikes me about these pranks was the solidarity we had. It was US against the teacher. We planned these maneuvures at recess in the boys can. Very often the success of the prank depended upon the participation of every class member. And we all came through!
1. Spence's class. He faces the blackboard to write. 32 ballpoint pens click - nib in, nib out - under the desks, amplified by the hollow wooden interiors of those desks. As soon as he looks around at the class they stop. He sees 32 angels writing down everything he has written.
2. Spence or Mr Catinus walks in. As you know, when a teacher walks in the classroom, the students all have to rise. But we have it worked out with everyone in the class. We stand up "in ripples" (a technique we learned in sea cadets). The first person in row one stands, then the second..third etc, down to the end of the row. Then the last person in row two stands and the second last, third .. etc, all the way to the top of row two. Then the first person in row three, down the line. One by one. Clattering the seats as we stand. The hapless teacher looks on as this whole procedure plays out. Then the last person to stand, sits. And the whole thing is reversed, one by one. Clatter, clatter. The lesson never got off the ground after this. I seem to remember someone getting strapped, but it wasn't me.
3. A variation on number two happened when I was bell ringer. I had to ring the final bell - Ding - which told everyone class had begun and you were now late. The button for the bell was in the main hall. I rang it and proceeded to my class. Spence was ahead of me. He walked in but no one stood. He remained at the front of the class, waiting. They ignored him, as if they hadn't seen him. Just before the tension broke, I walked in. The class stood. I said: "As you were", and they all sat. I was strapped for this.
4. In FHR's class. One afternoon when the sun was streaming through the windows as we were studying geometry with FHR. We all had those tin geometry boxes which contained our geometry tools. Someone's open box accidently reflects the light toward FHR as he writes the proposition on the blackboard. Soon, all the geometry boxes in the room are aiming their reflected sunlight at him. He turns around to speak and BLAM, he is blinded and dazed by the flash of light. He covers his eyes. He realizes something is amiss and opens his eyes and looks at us accusingly. But we have closed our boxes and we are copying his proposition down like the good little students we are.