How to Torture Your Students

by Jane Pomazal & Bruce Lansky
Start each day with a surprise quiz.
Don’t dismiss the class for recess
until you’ve finished the lesson you’re working on.
At the end of the day, hand out a huge assignment
that’s due the next day.

When a student says, “I have to go to the bathroom,”
say, “You should have gone this morning before you left home”
or “You’ll have to hold it in; it’s time for the kindergarten
to use the bathrooms.”

Never call on students who have their hands up.
Only call on students who have no idea what’s going on.

When a student asks you a question,
say, “Look up the answer in a book.”
Don’t bother to mention the name of the book
in which the answer can be found.

When you read, go as fast as you can.
Skip a line or two, then ask questions about the passage
to see if the students were listening.

When it’s time for the students to read,
call on someone who doesn’t have a book.

When you hand out pencils,
make sure they’re dull and don’t have erasers.
When you hand out books,
make sure they’re torn and tattered.

When preparing the students for a test,
write all the information they’ll need to know on the board.
Then stand in front of the board so they can’t see what you’ve written.
As soon as you’ve finished discussing the test information,
turn quickly and erase the board.

On the last day of school, hand out a surprise final exam.
Tell your students if they flunk it, they’ll have to attend summer school,
And if they flunk summer school, they’ll have to repeat the grade.
Tell them you hope they all flunk because you like them so much
and you wish they could be your students again next year.


Text © Jane Pomazal & Bruce Lansky, reprinted from If Kids Ruled the School published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Stephen Carpenter. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.

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