Classroom Management Funny Series #1 – Pretending to Work

Classroom Management Funny Series #1

  • These strategies are intended to be fun
  • They are not designed to transform classroom culture but may help a few students to self-regulate
  • After teaching how to pretend to work, it is fun and helpful to remind students about it occasionally throughout the semester (but don’t overdo it)

Why? (For Teachers)

  • Students require different amounts of time to complete assignments
  • Students who finish early sometimes act inappropriately when given free time
  • Teach students how to behave properly (in a fun way) when given free time
  • “Pretending to work” (self-regulation) is a key skill, both in the classroom and the work world

Why? (For Students)

  • “Pretending to work” should be used after finishing your work! (Not Before or During)
  • Enjoy the downtime so you can relax and re-energize
  • Be productive without constantly being bombarded with more new work
  • If you pretend to work, your teacher will give you less work to complete
  • How you come across to your teacher or employer (How they view you) is very important
  • Self-Regulation is a key skill, both in the classroom and the work world

Keys to Pretending to Work

  • Stay in your seat
  • Be quiet
  • Keep a low profile (do not draw attention to yourself)
  • Make yourself look like you are doing work
  • Have a tool (pen, binder, computer mouse etc.) in your hand or nearby to enhance the appearance of working (especially effective technique)
  • (Advanced Strategy) Put an angry expression on your face because busy people are angry about all the work they need get done

How this Applies to the World of Work


  • You have your first job working at at fast food restaurant. It is late at night and no customers have entered the store in over an hour.  You have 2 options…

Option A

  • You and your co-workers decide to have a food fight. Your manager hears you and suddenly find lots of items for all of you to clean.

Option B

  • Keep quiet, pick up a broom and look busy

Pretending to Work Guide