Syllabus For Calculus If Your Professor Is Justin Timberlake

By: Rick Stoeckel


All homework is due at beginning of class. I will not tolerate tardiness. When I was a member of *NSYNC, each member was responsible for turning in a fresh set of lyrics at the beginning of practice on Mondays. Lance Bass used to stroll in late and hand in some last-minute napkin scribbles about flying to the moon. Nuh-uh! Not gonna fly with JT. I’m all about punctuality.


I’m not just going to straight up teach you The Maclaurin Polynomial of a differentiable function. I may break out into dance midway through lecture, and that may teach you more about this subject than me writing on a blackboard ever could. And maybe, just maybe my falsetto vocals are not for your pleasure alone but also to impart a valuable lesson on rationalizing substitutions.


I may bring my girl into class, and she’ll sit in the corner and admire my lecturing. Don’t act all crazy because she’s some famous, hot lady in your class hall. Treat her normal. I’ve noticed a lot of times students try to make big deals out of little things. Last semester I asked my girl to pass me an eraser for the blackboard, and she got some chalk dust on her dress and rolled her eyes at me. Rumors spread around campus that we were breaking up. Guys! It is like you need to make up juicy stories for your own amusement. Can’t we just be a superstar couple, one who teaches calculus and the other who sits in admiration, without it generating gossip? Maybe this semester, if you’re all cool, I’ll call on my girl to act out a solution to a difficult calculus problem! Maybe I’ll get her to demonstrate vertical asymptotes. You never know!

If a piano is in the classroom when you first enter the hall, please do not play on the keys. They have been specifically tuned for me! If you do disturb the tune, then I’ll have to fly Maurice back in from France and he’ll have to retune the instrument. This will frustrate me, and there are two consequences. One: my calculus lesson may not be as entertaining as usual. Two: It may inspire me to write a song about how my calculus class broke my heart that will eventually earn me a Grammy nomination.

Sometimes I will play pranks on you guys. For example, I might put an eraser on my head, and then use my acting skills to pretend I don’t know where it went. And I may ask you, “Where is my eraser, guys?” It is just me acting loose and crazy. Please don’t take any pictures or video of me with your cell phones while I’m clowning around. The paparazzi would use the photos to cook up some insane story — probably say I’m on drugs and that I just got through impregnating someone. If you do take a photo of me in a compromising position such as with an eraser on my head, and I find out it was you who did so, this will result in the deduction of a full letter score from your final grade in the class.

If you guys don’t understand a particular equation, I may write the solution into the lyrics of a song. “I’m bringing sexy back!” could easily turn into “I’m bringing three-dimensional coordinates back!” Not only do I want you to learn, but when you do calculus I really want your body to be grooving. I want you guys to swerve and move your head and shoulders to the formulas I present.


It should be known that I highly value creativity. Sometimes I honor it above correctness. For example last semester, I put this question regarding implicit differentiation to my class: find dy/dx if

x2 + 3xy + y2 = 1

A student answered, “I don’t care, and it don’t matter.” Then he started tapping his desk and making this really ill beat. I lost it and had to break out some dance moves and cook up some fresh lyrics. He aced the class.

Much love,

Professor JT


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