50 Fun Things for Professors to Do on the First Day of
Classby Alan Meiss,
- Wear a hood with one eyehole. Periodically make strange gurgling
- After confirming everyone's names on the roll, thank the class
for attending "Advanced Astrodynamics 690" and mention that
yesterday was the last day to drop.
- After turning on the overhead projector, clutch your chest and
scream, "MY PACEMAKER!"
- Wear a pointed Kaiser helmet and a monocle and carry a riding crop.
- Gradually speak softer and softer and then suddenly point
to a student and scream, "YOU! WHAT DID I JUST SAY?"
- Deliver your lecture through a hand puppet. If a student asks you
a question directly, say in a high-pitched voice, "The Professor
can't hear you, you'll have to ask me, Winky Willy."
- If someone asks a question, walk silently over to their seat, hand
them your piece of chalk, and ask, "Would YOU like to give the lecture,
- Pick out random students, ask them questions, and time their responses
with a stop watch. Record their times in your grade book while muttering
- Ask students to call you "Tinkerbell" or "Surfin' Bird."
- Stop in mid-lecture, frown for a moment, and then ask the class
whether your butt looks fat.
- Play "Kumbaya" on the banjo.
- Show a video on medieval torture implements to your calculus class.
Giggle throughout it.
- Announce "you'll need this", and write the suicide prevention
hotline number on the board.
- Wear mirrored sunglasses and speak only in Turkish. Ignore
- Start the lecture by dancing and lip-synching to James Brown's
- Ask occasional questions, but mutter "as if you gibbering simps
would know" and move on before anyone can answer.
- Ask the class to read Jenkins through Johnson of the local
phone book by the next lecture. Vaguely imply that there will
be a quiz.
- Have one of your graduate students sprinkle flower petals ahead
of you as you pace back and forth.
- Address students as "worm."
- Announce to students that their entire grades will be based on a
single-question oral final exam. Imply that this could happen at
- Turn off the lights, play a tape of crickets chirping,
and begin singing spirituals.
- Ask for a volunteer for a demonstration. Ask them to fill out a waiver
as you put on a lead apron and light a blowtorch.
- Point the overhead projector at the class. Demand each student's
name, rank, and serial number.
- Begin class by smashing the neck off a bottle of vodka, and
announce that the lecture's over when the bottle's done.
- Have a band waiting in the corner of the room. When anyone asks a
question, have the band start playing and sing an Elvis song.
- Every so often, freeze in mid sentence and stare off into space for
several minutes. After a long, awkward silence, resume your sentence
and proceed normally.
- Wear a "virtual reality" helmet and strange gloves. When someone
asks a question, turn in their direction and make throttling motions
with your hands.
- Mention in passing that you're wearing rubber underwear.
- Growl constantly and address students as "matey".
- Devote your math lecture to free verse about your favorite numbers
and ask students to "sit back and groove."
- Announce that last year's students have almost finished their class
- Inform your English class that they need to know Fortran and code
all their essays. Deliver a lecture on output format statements.
- Bring a small dog to class. Tell the class he's named "Boogers
McGee" and is your "mascot". Whenever someone asks a question,
walk over to the dog and ask it, "What'll be, McGee?"
- Wear a feather boa and ask students to call you "Snuggles."
- Tell your math students that they must do all their work in a base
11 number system. Use a complicated symbol you've named after yourself in
place of the number 10 and threaten to fail students who don't use it.
- Claim to be a chicken. Squat, cluck, and produce eggs at irregular
- Bring a CPR dummy to class and announce that it will be the teaching
assistant for the semester. Assign it an office and office hours.
- Have a grad student in a black beret pluck at a bass while you
- Sprint from the room in a panic if you hear sirens outside.
- Give an opening monologue. Take two minute "commercial breaks"
every ten minutes.
- Tell students that you'll fail them if they cheat on exams or "fake
- Announce that you need to deliver two lectures that day, and deliver
them in rapid-fire auctioneer style.
- Pass out dental floss to students and devote the lecture to oral
- Announce that the entire thirty-two-volume Encyclopedia
Britannica will be
required reading for your class. Assign a report on Volume 1,
"Aardvark through Armenia," for next class.
- Ask students to list their favorite showtunes on a signup sheet.
Criticize their choices and make notes in your grade book.
- Sneeze on students in the front row and wipe your nose on your tie.
- Warn students that they should bring a sack lunch to exams.
- Refer frequently to students who died while taking your class.
- Show up to lecture in a ventilated clean suit. Advise students to
keep their distance for their own safety and mutter something about
"that bug I picked up in the field."
- Jog into class, rip the textbook in half, and scream, "Are you pumped?
ARE YOU PUMPED? I CAN'T HEEEEEEAR YOU!"