Posts Tagged ‘Classroom management’

“What’s you parent’s phone number?!” I’d demand in my stern teacher voice.

“I don’t know.”

“It’s gonna be a lot worse for you if I have to go to the office and look it up.  And if they tell me that you DO know their number, you’ll be in deeper trouble than you are now!  So, what’s it gonna be?”  At this point, they’d usually break and give up the number.  I’d write it down and usually not call.  This created the leverage needed.  Besides, if I actually called, the parents might want to meet with me to discuss John’s grades and behavior.  Usually after school.  I don’t get paid enough to stay late.

In 1985, during my student teaching experience, my supervising teacher told me, “When your class comes to your room the first day of school, don’t smile until after Christmas break.”  He was right.  It worked.  I became a stone cold image, king of my classroom throne, and dictator in my little world.  I was proud of the control and thought of myself as a success on that level.

I had a list of rules posted.  The first week was run like boot camp.  I’d break them down.  I trained the students how I expected them to enter my class.  We’d actually practice entering each day.  No teaching, just training.  No talking, touching, or thinking.  I was told this was good classroom management practices.  It is, if you want to break people like a wild animal.  Robotic motions.  Absurd rules.  This made my handlers happy.

English: AIESEC Students

Here’s a few more tools that helped me in my early years of tyrannical teaching:

  • Create an atmosphere of fear.  Be unpredictable and intimidating.  A state of suspended terror.
  • Play mind games. Psych-Ops.
  • Take away rights.
  • Extend privileges.
  • Teach them to never question authority.  Especially yours.
  • Belittle and browbeat as necessary.  Legal bullying.
  • Punish rule breakers.  Make consequences harsh.
  • Teach dependence based on my superior knowledge. Never teach them so much that they can do without you.  Become their Moses.
  • Completely crush rebellion.  Leave no embers burning. Annihilate the spirit.  I’m just doing my job.  They pay me to “teach” whether you learn or not.
    Anthems of Rebellion
  • Keep students in suspended terror.  Students are creatures of habit and love the familiar.  Be unpredictable and intimidating.  Keep them off-balance.
  • Make students play with the cards you deal.  Make them feel as though they have choices.  It make the victims happier.  The house always wins.
  • Tap into the fantasies of the masses.  Yes, you can all be NFL players and win American Idol.
    Former logo of American Idol from 2002 to 2008.


  • Subdue the ring leader and control the herd.  Single out the leader/trouble maker and make an example of him/her by harsh punishment

I know this may sound absurd and ridiculous.  I’ve given up these techniques and chosen not to be an instrument of terror.  There’s great pressure to practice these techniques in government-run schools.

My name is Bartleby Scrivener, and I am an ex-torturer of students.

Bartleby the Scrivener