College Professors Share The Most Bizarre Things Students Have Done In Their Class.
These Redditors responded to the question, "College lecturers of Reddit, what's the most bizarre thing you've seen a student do in one of your lectures?"
We can't believe all this stuff actually happened in college classrooms. Check it out!
[Source listed at the end of the article.]
First day of class, January. Just finished the syllabus with the schedule for tests in the rest of the term. "Any questions?" Guy puts his hand up and comments on the date of the midterm test: "But that's St. Patrick's Day!"
I was impressed.
I was a TA for a calculus class a few years ago. With just under 10 minutes to go in a 50-minute midterm exam, a student bursts into the classroom dressed in a taco costume, sweating, completely out of breath. He grabs a test from the front desk and starts to frantically write.
At first I thought it was some prank and I tried to kick him out. Turns out he was enrolled in the class and apparently just passed out at a Halloween party the night before and woke up with no time to change clothes. I let him take the test in the remaining 7 or so minutes.
Grade distribution was average of ~75% with one guy scoring 18% and the next lowest at 54%. Plot twist: Taco dude didn't score the 18%.
TA here. Some guy who we thought was a student came in to a class and pitched to the entire class about selling a trip to go on a cruise for a really low price, with the proceeds going to charity.
Some people paid him in cash for it and he even had a portable credit card scanner. In the end they found out he was a scammer. As he was leaving the professor called security. He tried to run, but they caught him and he had to return all the money.
One of my students came into my morning class about 45 minutes late and looking pretty rough from partying from the night before. He proceeded to stumble to his desk and attempted to sit down. Instead he missed the desk, fell on the the floor and then threw up.
I'm an adjunct professor at a few different schools in the NYC area. One spring semester I was teaching an astronomy course. I had a particularly . . . enthusiastic student. He interrupted class about as often as he contributed, so it balanced out. One day, he saw a young woman outside that he wanted to talk to. So, he walked over to the window and climbed out.
Fortunately, the classroom was on the first floor. I was so shocked, I just watched him do it. He climbed out the window, walked over to the girl, chatted a bit, and then (I take this as a testament to his interest in my class) he headed back towards the window to return to class. I waved him off and told him to go use a door like a human being. He came back and I went on with class.
So, beautiful woman makes the guy climb out a window, but science brought him back!
One semester I would hear a loud booming noise every so often while lecturing. We were near the science lab, so we figured it was some kind of harmless experiment. One day there were a lot of particularly loud explosions and the students were concerned, so I went into the science wing to investigate, and a staff member there explained the cause.
Apparently someone was doing research on how explosive shock waves effect the human body and we were hearing them blow up cadavers.
Just a TA, but there was a kid who attended my professor's Multivariate Statistics class that would roll joints under his desk.
I caught him multiple times and told him he couldn't do that here, he was really polite and apologetic but he never changed his ways.
A student once showed up to my freshman chemistry lab shirtless. This was well after the talk I gave about wearing PPE [personal protective equipment] at all times.
I handed him a pamphlet about PPE and sent him back to his dorm to get a shirt.
A friend sat next to a guy who took out a little baby saw and over the course of the semester cut his desk in half.
He left the two sides just connected enough so that one day near the end of the semester, it finally split in half with a loud crack. Everyone just stared in shock, including the teacher who had no idea this was happening until that moment. The student just sat there taking it in, grinning at his accomplishment.
I'm a psychology TA and on the last day of class this past year, something amazing happened. In the middle of class this dude's phone goes off, and he answers it all nonchalantly. He then gets extremely serious, changes the tone of his voice and says,
"The city is in trouble? Why of course Mr. Mayor, I'll be right there!"
He then rips open his shirt exposing the superman insignia and full-on sprints out of the lecture hall. The prof is pissed, but he keeps teaching. About five minutes later this kid bursts into the lecture hall clad in full superman attire. He proceeds to yell at the top of his lungs,
"The city is in trouble, Justice League, ASSEMBLE!!"
Like five other people stand up and begin tearing off their clothes. The prof starts yelling at them as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aqua Man, The Flash and others sprint out of the room to go save Metropolis. It was amazing.
Not a lecturer but a student. A guy next to me pulled out a George Foreman grill today, set it on his desk, and put his notebook on it.
He didn't actually use it to cook. Just took notes on it.
Three times during the term, in the middle of my lecture, I noticed that two young ladies who always sat in the front row were "petting" each other's legs under the desk. Nobody else could see it because of the slope in the room, but standing at the front of the room I could see underneath the desk because it was raised up a bit from the floor. Very distracting. The "Am I really seeing what I think I'm seeing?" kind of thing.
Also a situation where you couldn't exactly say to them "Stop doing that" in the class, or even talking to them after the class. I tried to think of a way to discreetly ask them not to do it in class without it being supremely embarrassing to them and to me. I could never figure out whether they were trying to secretly let me see what they were up to, or if they somehow thought I wouldn't quite notice it.
The lectures that term required some real concentration.
When I was a student, I took an Intro to Bio class that was traditionally a weed-out class for medical school. Lots of pre-med kids would bring in voice recorders to record the lectures. One day in class I start hearing this jumble of words like someone is talking over the professor.
I look over and this girl has a collection of like 40 of those "record a message to go with your picture" picture frames, and is holding them up to record. Bear in mind these things hold max maybe 30 seconds of audio each. So she just keeps holding them up one after the other and recording the lecture 30 seconds at a time and every now and then hits the playback button to make sure it's working. It was the weirdest thing I've ever seen.
If I have a student who chronically sleeps in class, and who I've had to talk to before and made sure they don't have something else going on that's making them sleep in class, and they sleep until the end of class, here's what I do. I'll just signal the class to leave without making a lot of noise. If they're still asleep, I'll turn off all the equipment, close the doors and quietly leave so that the student wakes up all alone in an empty classroom.
Our school is open-enrollment, meaning there's no admissions process to get in, and accordingly it has a program called the "Freshman Experience," which basically means we have an "academic coach" who sits in on freshman courses and works as a partner with the lecturers. The problem is, they're supposed to be present in the room and help students with homework, but in practice they just yell at students who slouch.
Once a student came into my class and the coach immediately told him to remove his hat. Just a normal cap that people wear in class all the time. The student told him off and walked out of the class. Frankly, I probably would have done the same.
While taking attendance on the first day of classes, I told students to let me know if they have a nickname or something else they liked to be called. A student with a difficult last name--let's call him John Smith--says, "My name is John Smith, but my friends call me Tails." So I say "...should I call you Tails, then?" to which he replies "No." Apparently I'm not his friend.
As he was walking out, I noticed that he had a 3 foot long raccoon tail pinned to the back of his jeans.
I was in a CS class and a guy I didn't recognize came in halfway through and sat down next to me. The professor was coding on his laptop, which was projecting on a screen in the front of the lecture hall.
All of a sudden, the guy stood up, pointed at the screen and exclaimed, "There's a bug in the code! A bug!" The professor calmly stated, "Oh, he's right. I missed a semicolon." The guy then walked out of class and the professor just said, "Huh. I guess he came just to point out that one bug."
In my biological literature course (mostly juniors and seniors) we were given over 2 months to prepare a 15-minute lecture to be presented in front of the class.
One of the students did his presentation on "mermaids" and used scenes from an Animal Planet mockumentary as part of his presentation.
This was not a joke. This kid absolutely did not realize that the mermaid documentary was fake. He honestly thought that various scenes of the CGI mermaids were real. How he made it so far as a biology major still baffles me.
I don't think I've ever felt more uncomfortable.
Dude in my class brought his parakeet to class... the professor didn't notice until it started making bird noises. Gave the student one of the most wtf looks I've ever seen.
A guy was taking my AP US Government class as a "Pass/Fail," meaning his grade would not be recorded on his transcript and he simply needed to pass the class.
I heard him tell a friend he had already been accepted to his first-choice law school, and had done well during the first 2/3rds of the class, so he literally needed a 4% on the final exam to pass, graduate, and go to law school. He watched "The West Wing" every day in class with subtitles on for the last month or so. He also left about 45 minutes into the 3-hour exam. To be fair, "The West Wing" is actually a pretty good source for studying US government and politics.
On the first day of class, I always ask students who use laptops to move to the back of the room. Why you ask? Because of an incident I have since named "The Funnel of Doom."
There was a student a few years ago who sat in the center of the room and proceeded to play the video game Doom for the entirety of the lecture. Everyone behind him was not taking notes, they were watching this kid play Doom. He single-handily distracted three-quarters of the students in a 100-student lecture.
Hence, "The Funnel of Doom."
Some girl in my friend's biology lecture had a pet flying squirrel or something like it. The professor is an expert in bats and was showing one to the class that was being cared for in the veterinary school wing.
He said, "I bet none of you guys have a pet this interesting." And this girl just pulls a friggin squirrel out of her cleavage and shows it to him.
Student here. A kid in my class got up in the middle of a lecture and interrupts the professor. He goes, "How can everyone sit here with that beautiful sunset happening right now? I have to go watch it."
He gets up, leaves all of his stuff, and goes outside. He comes back 20 minutes later and stops the lecture again to show the professor pictures of the sunset on his phone. The professor couldn't stop laughing.
Once I was proctoring an exam and had these two students sitting right next to each other. I knew they were either dating or just kind of seeing each other, but I figured it didn't really matter; they were both doing well up to that point.
Twenty minutes into the exam the guy stands up and brings his test to me, and it looks fairly stellar (it was basic mechanics, but still). He then proceeded to sit down next to his girlfriend, give her a peck on the cheek, take her test from her, and begin filling it out. I was like...10 feet away. I just stared at him, waiting for him to look up. It didn't happen. He just powered through the entire exam again while she sat there happily staring at him.
Fifteen minutes later he got up and handed the exam to me again, still before anyone else had finished- though I suspect there was a good amount of just everyone else noticing and staring too. He handed in the first two exams, but one with his girlfriend's name on it. The two of them got up, held hands, and walked out.
The next week for recitation the two of them just sat there and gave me this puzzled look when I gave them back to them with 0's on them, and never let them sit next to each other again. Neither of them pushed the issue further. Seriously though...wtf?
I'm a student. There's this one student who acts like he runs the class and like he's on par with the professor. He'll just get up in the middle of class, while the professor is talking, and just walk over to the window and look out of it. He'll stand there like he's Jay Gatsby. Or he tries to engage the professor in off-topic political conversations. I cringe so hard.
My macro-economics class, about 40 people total. Everyone typically sat in the same places and I felt like I had a handle on who everyone was. One day a guy came in a bit early, sat down towards the middle of the room and put a brown paper grocery bag down underneath his seat. He never took off his hood and never took off his sunglasses. I had never seen him before and he was sitting in a seat typically occupied by another student.
One of the more vocal students, we'll call him Bob, was sitting 2 seats away from this guy. About 15 minutes into the lecture, Bob started in on a rather lengthy question. While he was talking, the hooded mystery man stood up, picked up the grocery bag... reached inside... and proceeded to pull out a banana cream pie and throw it in Bob's face! It was a good hit too, stuck to his head for a second before falling off, clinging to his glasses. The hooded guy ran out and one of the ex-military students got up and chased after him, ready to fight.
No one ever found him, or heard about what happened. Bob had no idea who the guy was or what the motivation was. It was the perfect crime.
A student once got up running and screaming, and had his shirt off before he got to the door. For a few minutes everyone just sat there not sure what just happened or how to react. He came back about 2 minutes later saying a bee had gotten into his shirt and he was severely allergic.
Someone in my political philosophy class started watching porn on his laptop in a large auditorium. A girl behind him yelled "Can you stop that please? It's really distracting."
The professor was a really nice old lady, and said, "I'm so sorry." She thought the girl was referring to her pacing around a lot while she lectured.
I'm a Fine Arts T.A. at my college. A student in my pottery class slipped with edged scoop tool and removed a large chunk of his finger flesh, but I didn't know that at the time.... I guess he was embarrassed and didn't want to cause a scene, so he quickly stuck the cut finger in his mouth and swallowed the blood.
This must have continued for a few minutes until I made my rounds to see how the class was doing. I noticed he was trying to work with one hand, so I asked if everything was alright. Of course his finger was in his mouth, and his mouth was full of blood, so he couldn't give a verbal answer, but he looked up at me with concern in his eyes. I quietly asked "did you cut yourself" and he humbly nodded yes. I prompted him to go to the shop bathroom where there are first aid supplies, thinking it could be patched up with some gauze.
Just after I dismissed him, he gagged a little and proceeded to throw up what looked like a gallon of gelatinous red-black blood all over the linoleum floor. It was an instant crime scene. Everyone freaked out, most left the class because they were close to fainting or puking at the sight of it all. I mean it was a comical amount of blood on the floor.
At this point, the kid's finger was still very much cut and was just shy of actually spraying blood. I grabbed a shop rag and wrapped it as tightly as I could around his finger and told him to keep pressure on it. The rag went red in less than a minute. Ambulance was called. Kid was finally taken to the hospital. When he left, the classroom was like a bloody Splash Mountain.
Respect the modeling tools.
[These responses have been edited for readability.]
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.