TikTok potato

Meanwhile on TikTok: Professor Turns Himself Into a Potato to Keep Students’ Attention on Zoom (But Now All We Can Think About Are French Fries…)

It’s hard to get students to pay attention in class under normal circumstances. When conducting lessons via Zoom, it’s near impossible. But one accounting professor has gotten creative – and is keeping his co-eds’ attention – by turning himself into a potato.

Professor Ryan Ball teaches at The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. On April Fool’s Day last year, he decided to appear onscreen as a potato to teach one of his classes.

“I’ll do anything to keep their attention. Within, like, 25 minutes I learned how to use the snap filter on a desktop and I actually had to start class 10 minutes late. To me, the best part is I did it the entire time,” Ball told Today of the prank. “I swear, I’ve never laughed so freaking hard in my life.”

The students also thought it was hilarious, and started sharing videos of the class on TikTok that soon went viral.

@amoneyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy0Professor Tato, Po… btw he proceeded to teach the material this filter#umich #college #universityofmichigan #rossschoolofbusiness♬ original sound – Amoneyyy

@amoneyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy0Reply to @chillyhang Po got back to me with the zoom recording of the full review session @ryantball #accountant @#umich #potato #college♬ original sound – Amoneyyy

Ball’s tuber alter-ego stuck, and now he appears regularly as a spud onscreen.

“In the time of a pandemic, everyone is just searching for some form of positivity,” Ball said. “There’s no formula (to teaching). In order to educate, you need to meet (the students) on a common playing field.”

Ball’s colleagues approve of his tactics, and even played a joke on him themselves, by changing his name plate outside his office to “Po Tato.”

We wish we had more educators with Ball’s sense of humor. It would make the dull, dry work of getting an education that much more palatable.

Cover Photo: TikTok