It was lunchtime. I stood alone in my empty classroom on a Google Meet with two other teachers when the Bluetooth speaker came alive vibrating with the opening beat of a Michael Jackson song. Initially, I thought it was coming from the meet, then quickly realized it was in my physical space. I fumbled to turn off the soundbar, mute the microphone in the meet, and find the source.
I snort-laughed and wondered what was going on in absolute amazement at this cheekiness. I checked my phone in case a YouTube video was running in the background all the while full of doubt and believing this was some prank playfully being carried out by a former students. There was nothing that I could see on the small screen of my phone, but I shut it down, just in case. I turned off the Bluetooth speakers, and we closed out our online meeting.
Turning to walk out of the classroom for lunch “Thriller” pulsed from the speakers. Someone somewhere had turned on the speakers again, remotely, and I giggled while pulling the power cord. Clearly someone somewhere was trying to mess with me, and this was obviously all in the name of fun. And, it was suddenly a mystery to be solved.
I walked across the classroom and out the door. Students sitting beneath lockers, leaning against the concrete walls looked up at me questioningly from their phones and lunch boxes. I laughed and shared what had just happened asking them if they were playing Michael Jackson songs on their phones. Internally, I imagined a game show of student pranking teachers and then wondered if it might be a colleague in another room. But, no. It couldn’t be. They would have to have been in my room to pair their devices to my Bluetooth speaker – they had to be in range. But what was that “range”?
The students confessed it was not them, then helped me speculate, determine the possible range from which someone could perform this prank. Perhaps it was someone on another floor? Maybe it was someone in a room further down the hall? They searched for information about the ranges of Bluetooth speakers and we collectively laughed, but the mysterious prankster is still unknown.