"How to Torture Your Students" Poetry Theater
A poem in nine voices

Adapted from the poem by Jane Pomazal and Bruce Lansky in If Kids Ruled the School, published by Meadowbrook Press.

Summary: Advice for a teacher looking to torment students.

Presentation Suggestions: Have the students read or perform the poem in front of the class. Have the students act out the different lines while they read them. The poem can be read with nine teachers as shown below or with three teachers, each reading three stanzas.

Props: Chairs or desks and a chalkboard would be great props. If these are not available the poem can be performed without props

Delivery: The lines of the poem need to be read with poetic rhythm. For more information on poetic rhythm and how to perform poetry in classroom, please read the Performing Poetry section under the Teacher’s Resources.

Teacher 1
Teacher 2
Teacher 3
Teacher 4
Teacher 5
Teacher 6
Teacher 7
Teacher 8
Teacher 9

How to Torture Your Students

Teacher 1:

    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.

Teacher 2:

    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.”

Teacher 3:

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

Teacher 4:

    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.

Teacher 5:

    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.

Teacher 6:

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

Teacher 7:

    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.

Teacher 8:

    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.

Teacher 9:

    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.



© 2004 by Jane Pomazal and Bruce Lansky. Adapted from the poem in If Kids Ruled the School, published by Meadowbrook Press. This classroom theater play version of “How to Torture Your Students” is © 2005 by Meadowbrook Press.

Permission is given for individual school classes to perform this play and to make as many copies of the play as are needed for the students’ use. All other reproduction and performance is prohibited under penalty of law. For use of this play outside individual classes, please contact info@meadowbrookpress.com for permission.

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