How to Torture Your Students

by Jane Pomazal and 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 and 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.


The Story Behind the Poem:
I once visited a school in Illinois, where a teacher had written a poem about how teachers can torture kids. I thought it was funny and expanded it. Now when I visit schools, it gets lots of laughs—especially from teachers.

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