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

The 2005-2006 school year is in the books...and now (after a few day's rest) your thoughts shift to how you will start your classes next fall. The following is one person's suggestions...but note it is for mathematics professors...classroom teachers would never do such things!

  • Wear a hood with one eyehole. Periodically make strang gurgling noises.
  • 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 you are asked a question, walk silently over to the student, hand him your piece of chalk, and ask, "Would YOU like to give the lecture, Mr. Smartypants?"
  • Pick out random students, ask them questions, and tiume their responses with a stop watch. Record their times in your grade book while muttering "tsk, tsk."
  • Ask the class to read Jenkins through Johnson in 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.
  • 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.
  • Announce to the students that their entire grade will be based on a single-question oral final exam. Imply that this could happen at any moment.
  • Turn off the lights, play a tape of crickets chirping, and begin singing Peter, Paul, and Mary songs.
  • Announce that last year's students have almost finished their class projects.
  • Tell your students that they must do all their work in base 11. Require them to use a complicated symbol (name it after yourself) to denote the number 10.
My note: Remember this is the humor page...even though you masy recognition some of your colleagues' actions in the above list.

Source: American Mathematical Monthly, 1998, p. 169.