A wonderful Redditor asked college professors the most bizarre thing they've ever seen students do in class and the answers are glorious.
We've culled some of the choice responses from more than 500 comments.
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, 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 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 seven 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%.
A student in my pottery class slipped with an 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…he gagged a little and proceeded to throw up what looked 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. Anyways 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 threw up again. Classroom looked like there was blood orgy.
Respect the modeling tools.
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.
At the end of lecture, he stayed behind to apologize and show me his new ADD meds. Apparently they weren't working that well. So, beautiful woman makes the guy climb out a window, but science brought him back!
I teach a freshman zoology lab. More like gross I guess, but a student dissected a fetal pig while eating a turkey sandwich. One hand in the pig, one hand on the sandwich. Had to kindly tell him to finish eating in the hallway while trying not to vomit. He didn't seemed bothered at all, and actually seemed kind of confused as to why I wouldn't let him eat while he did the dissection.
Mind you these fetal pigs had been out for a while so they smelled like rancid meat.
[M]y teacher would love to go on and on about the things that would happen back at Evergreen in the 60's. One example that stood out was that one of his professors loved to smoke, as in constantly. He would sit cross-legged in the middle of the room and smoke on his pipe, letting the smoke lazily rise out of his mouth. When a student would answer a question he would open one eye to answer them and then closed both eyes again and resumed smoking. One day the students were listening to a lecture of his but unfortunately he didn't seem to be making a lick of sense. A student finally interrupted his ramble with "I'm sorry but I have no idea what you've been trying to say" and he responded bluntly "that's because you're not high!". He proceeded to pass the pipe around the classroom.
In my biological literature course (mostly juniors and seniors) 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 the 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'd mermaids was real. How he made it so far as a biology major still baffles me.
I don't think I've ever felt more uncomfortable.
Student not lecturer. Last year in my introductory psychology course, we had a student come in and stare down the professor in a full killer psycho clown mask, wig, jumpsuit, and shoes. She stopped mid-lecture and asked the clown what they were doing and the two of them just had a full on Western standoff for 5 minutes before the clown walked out without a word. This wasn't a small lecture either, it was over 1200 people in it and we were all dead silent. My prof was so flustered after that she couldn't continue and just dismissed us all.
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 two 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 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.
Reddit posts edited lightly for clarity
Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.