The Burning of the School

The Burning of the School

"The Burning of the School" (not an official title) is a parody of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", [cite news | url = | title = Where the Sidewalk Begins | author = Michael Dirda | date = November 6, 1988 | pages = p.16 | publisher = The Washington Post ] known and sung by schoolchildren throughout the United States and in some locations in the United Kingdom.

Like the Battle Hymn itself, the parody is sung to the tune of John Brown's Body. In versions known to have appeared in print, the opening line always changes the original 'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord' to 'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school.' Also, the first line of the refrain, 'Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!', seems always to be followed in the parody by the line 'Teacher hit me with a ruler.' (A few versions have been collected that change 'Hallelujah' to 'What's it to ya?', but most leave the first line intact.)

The rest of the lyrics vary with time and place, but generally involve the children inflicting various types of mayhem on the school and its staff.

In their 1959 book "The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren", the British folklorists Peter and Iona Opie recorded that 'Glory, glory hallelujah/Teacher hit me with a ruler' was frequently sung by children in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. An eleven-year-old girl whom the Opies quoted on the subject identified the song as a parody of John Brown's Body. The Opies did not record whether the Market Rasen song had additional lyrics. [Iona and Peter Opie, "The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren". Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1959.]

The American indie band Death Cab for Cutie have been known to perform "The Burning of the School" at their concerts.

Tom Glazer and the Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus recorded a version of this song under the title of "Battle Hymn of the Children". It was released as the B-side of their 1963 hit, "On Top of Spaghetti".

ample lyrics

Typical lines are [cite book | title = Stick This in Your Memory Hole | author = Tristan Clark | year = 2007 | isbn = 0980335124 | pages = p.166 ]

:Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school:We have vanquished every teacher - we have broken every rule:We plan to kill the principal at quarter after two:The school is burning down!

:Glory, glory, hallelujah:My teacher hit me with a ruler:Met her up in heaven, back in 1327:And she ain't my teacher no more NO MORE!

:Glory, glory, hallelujah,:Teacher hit me with a ruler,:Ruler broke in two, :So she hit me with her shoe:Now she ain't a teacher no more!

There are many variations of this song, which nearly always leave the first two lines of the verse and chorus intact and change the third, with some variations to the fourth.

Examples of variations of the verse:

Glory, Glory halleljah,My teacher hit me with a ruler,I hide behind the door with an AK-44And that was the end of my teacher.My dad was mad, My mom was sadMe and my my brother were laughing like mad.

:We have tortured all the teachers - we have broken every rule:We have even drowned the principal in the local swimming pool:And we'll go marching on!

:We have tortured all the teachers - we have broken every rule:When the principal tried to stop us we just flushed 'em down the stool:Our truth is marching on!

:We have ruptured all the teachers and we've broken all the rules,:And we'll go marching on!

:We have sliced the English teachers and have drowned them in their blood:And we'll go marching on!

:We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule:We have barbecued the principal and hung the janitor:Our school is burnin down!!

:We have forgotten our multiplication tables, eaten our teachers and their families,:And we'll go marching on!

:We have shot the secretary and we hung the principal:Us brats keep marching on.

:We have smashed up all the blackboards, we have thrown out all the books:The school is burning down.

:We have wandered down the halls writing cuss words on the walls:The school is burning down.

:We have bound and gagged the principal and tossed him in the pool:The school is burning down.

:We have barbecued the principal, destroyed the PTA, :Our school keeps burning on.

:They sent us to the office, so we hung the principal,:Our troops are marching on!

:We are killing all the teachers, we are breaking all the rules:We broke into his office and we murdered the principal:Our troops go marching on!

:We broke into his office and we tickled the principal

:We have tortured every teacher and we've hung the principal.:We have broken every piece of chalk as well as every rule.

:They have taken all the teachers out and broken every rule.:They have painted all the toilets black and all the lockers white.:There won't be school no more!

:We have tortured all the teachers, we have broken all the rules.:We're marching down the hallway for to kill the principal.

:We have tortured every teacher. We have broken every rule.:We have spit in every corner of the dirty, rotten school.

:We have shot the secretary and destroyed the PTA!:Us kids are marching on!

Examples of variations of the chorus::Met her at the store with a loaded .44...

:So I hit him in the bean with a rotten tangerine...

:I hit her in the butt with a rotten coconut...

:I hit her in the bean with a rotten tangerine...

:Met her in the attic with a semi-automatic...

:Met her at the gate with a loaded .38...

:I hid behind the door with a big ole' two-by-four

:I stood behind the door with a loaded .44...

:I bopped her up the bean with an atomic submarine...

:Shot her up to heaven with an AK47...

:Shot her in the bean with an M-16...

:Shot her out the door with a Magnum .44...

:Shot her in the head and the teacher dropped dead...

:Met her at the bank with a loaded German tank...

:Reform school here I come!

:And there ain't no teacher no more

:Now the teacher is no more

:And s/he ran right out the door!

This was the version sang in Southern California in the 1960s:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher, we have broken all the rules
The boys are playing poker and the girls are shooting pool
As the school is burning down

Glory, glory hallelujah
Teacher hit me with a ruler
I hid behind the door with a loaded .44
And my teacher ain't teachin' no more

Another Southern California variation, from the early 1970s:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule
We have bombed the nurse's office we have hung [sic] the principal
Our troops are marching on

Another version of this song is
glory hallelujah
teacher hit me with a ruler
the ruler snapped in half
and we all began to laugh
on the last day of september

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord
"He is coming round the corner in a green-and-yellow Ford
"He has one hand on the throttle and the other on a bottle
"Of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer."

The chorus would follow as:

"Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!
"Teacher hit me with a ruler
"I bonked her on the bean
"With a rotten tangerine
"And she kicked me out of school!"

Here's a version of the chorus sang in Western Australia in the 1970s:

Glory, glory hallelujahTeacher hit me with a rulerI hid behind the door in 1964And I ain't comin' out no more

Here's a new english version and if you're not english a wellie means a rubber wellington boot or a gallosha and a headmaster means a principal.

Glory, glory how peculiarThe teacher hit me with a rulerThen she missed and smashed a tellySo she hit me with a wellieSo the headmaster shown her the doorNow she aint coming to school no more

Anthologies containing versions of the song

* Josepha Sherman and T.K.F. Weisskopf, eds., "Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood". August House, Atlanta, 1995.
* News from Lake Wobegon by Garrison Keillor, Highbridge Audio, 1991. ISBN 978-0942110388

ee also

*Children's street culture



External links

* [ List of variations] from
* [ Concert review from Filter magazine] mentioning Death Cab for Cutie's performance of the song.

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