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Teaching & Advising > Getting Started - The First Week of Class

Fun Things for Professors to Do on the First Day of Class

By Alan Meiss

Editor's Note: With tongue in cheek.

  1. Wear a hood with one eyehole.  Periodically make strange gurgling noises

  2. 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.

  3. After turning on the overhead projector, clutch your chest and scream "MY PACEMAKER!"

  4. Wear a pointed Kaiser helmet and a monocle and carry a riding crop.

  5. Gradually speak softer and softer and then suddenly point to a student and scream "YOU! WHAT DID I JUST SAY?"

  6. 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."

  7. Pick out random students, ask them questions, and time their responses with a stop watch.  Record their times in your grade book while muttering "tsk, tsk."

  8. Ask students to call you "Tinkerbell" or "Surfin' Bird."

  9. Play "Kumbaya" on the banjo.

  10. Show a video on medieval torture implements to your calculus class.  Giggle throughout it.

  11. Wear mirrored sunglasses and speak only in Turkish.  Ignore all questions.

  12. 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.

  13. Have one of your graduate students sprinkle flower petals ahead of you as you pace back and forth.

  14. Announce to students that their entire grades will be based on a single-question oral final exam.  Imply that this could happen at any moment.

  15. Turn of the lights, play a tape of crickets chirping, and begin singing spirituals.

  16. As for a volunteer for a demonstration.  Ask them to fill out a waiver as you put on a lead apron and light a blowtorch.

  17. Point the overhead projector at the class.  Demand each student's name, rank, and serial number.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Wear a "virtual reality" helmet and strange gloves.  When someone asks a question, turn in their direction and make throttling motions with your hands.

  21. Growl constantly and address students as "matey."

  22. Devote your math lecture to free verse about your favorite numbers and ask students to "sit back and groove."

  23. Announce that last year's students have almost finished their class projects.

  24. Inform you English class that they need to know Fortran and code all their essays.  Deliver a lecture on output format statements.

  25. 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.

  26. Bring a CPR dummy to class and announce that it will be the assistant for the semester.  Assign it an office and office hours.

  27. Have a grad student in a black beret pluck at a bass while you lecture.

  28. Sprint from the room in a panic if you hear sirens outside.

  29. Give an opening monologue.  Take two minute "commercial breaks" every ten minutes.

  30. Announce that you need to deliver two lectures that day, and deliver them in rapid-fire auctioneer style.

  31. Pass out dental floss to students and devote the lecture to oral hygiene.

  32. Announce that the entire 32-volume Encyclopedia Britannica will be required reading for your class.  Assign a report on Volume 1, Aardvark through Armenia, for next class.

  33. Ask students to list their favorite showtunes on a signup sheet.  Criticize their choices and make notes in your grade book.

  34. Warn students that they should bring a sack lunch to exams.

  35. 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."

"Study is a specific kind of experience in which through careful observation of objective structures we cause thought processes to move in a certain way . . . When done with concentration, perception and repetition, ingrained habits of thought are formed."
-Richard Foster; Celebration of Discipline