50 Fun Things for Professors to do on the First Day of Class

by Alan Meiss

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

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

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. 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, Mr.

8. 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".

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

10. Stop in mid-lecture, frown for a moment, and then ask the class whether
your butt looks fat.

11. Play "Kumbaya" on the banjo.

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

13. Announce "you'll need this", and write the suicide prevention hotline
number on the board.

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

15. Start the lecture by dancing and lip-syncing to James Brown's "Sex

16. Ask occassional questions, but mutter "as if you gibbering simps would
know" and move on before anyone can answer.

17. 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.

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

19. Address students as "worm".

20. 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.

21. Turn off the lights, play a tape of crickets chirping, and begin singing

22. 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.

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

24. Begin class by smashing the neck off a bottle of vodka, and announce that
the lecture's over when the bottle's done.

25. 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.

26. 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.

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

28. Mention in passing that you're wearing rubber underwear.

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

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

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

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

33. 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?"

34. Wear a feather boa and ask students to call you "Snuggles".

35. 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.

36. Claim to be a chicken. Squat, cluck, and produce eggs at irregular

37. 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.

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

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

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

41. Tell students that you'll fail them if they cheat on exams or "fake the

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

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

44. 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.

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

46. Sneeze on students in the front row and wipe your nose on your tie.

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

48. Refer frequently to students who died while taking your class.

49. 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".

50. Jog into class, rip the textbook in half, and scream, "Are you pumped?