• Tucker Spolter


In many schools and for many teachers, Friday is ‘test’ day. Subsequently, many students considered Friday the first day of a “3-day-weekend-day’. Still, year after year the Chemistry Prof whips out a test and so do the English, Algebra and Biology teachers.

When I was a student, I hated Friday tests and pop quizzes. So early in my teaching career I decided to rattle a few cages with my own variation of the pop quiz. The following is one of my favorites, which I adapted from another teacher’s test who has an equally evil side and with a similar sense of humor.

I called this the speed test/or the following directions exam.

Please give it go.

Instructions: Please read each question carefully before proceeding. Then answer every question. Your time limit is one hour and 45 minutes. You will never be able to answer all of them. Pick your strongest suit.

Begin immediately.

1. PUBLIC SPEAKING: 3,000 riot-crazed aborigines are storming our classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek. 19th century Basque is acceptable. Interject pithy quotes from Sarah Palin, Donald Trump or Steven Colbert to make your essay more timely.

2. FIRST AID: You will be provided with a razor blade or a sharp switch blade, a piece of gauze and a bottle of bourbon. Remove your appendix. DO NOT suture until your work has been inspected. A full frontal Lobotomy may be performed as an alternative.

3. MUSIC: Write a piano concerto using only the black keys. Orchestrate and perform your creation with a ukulele and snare drum. A bagpipe or tambourine may be used as a substitute.

4. ECONOMICS: Develop a realistic health plan for the United States of America. Trace the possible effects of you plan in the following areas: cubism, and the Donatist controversy. Criticize your plan from a Democrat and a Republican point of view.

Extra credit: Explain the economic meltdown of 2009, apply your

explanation to the planet and then take whatever action you deem


5. BIOLOGY: Make a clone or create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture of this form of life had it developed 500 million years earlier. Pay special attention to this life form’s effect on the religions of the world. Prove your thesis.

6. PHILOSOPHY: Sketch the development of human thought; estimate its significance. Compare it with the development of artificial intelligence or any other kind of thought.

2018 Winter Variation - December contest: In 47 words or less: explain Santa Claus- and why he chose reindeer to pull his sled. Extra credit: Which reindeer was the first to learn to fly and why.

7. ENGLISH: Using only conjunctions and prepositions compare and contrast the works of Jung, Confucius, Lao Tsu, Shakespeare and John Lennon. Be prepared to Hum or Rap the first twenty bars of your essay.

8. COMPUTER SCIENCE: Striking only the top keys of the computer; define God, Love and Continental Drift. Use Word XP or Google Chrome in your definition.

9. PSYCHOLOGY: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and repressed frustrations of: Alexander the Great, Gregory of Nicea, Ramses II, Ming the Merciless, Hammurabi and your current Homeroom Teacher. Support your conclusions with quotations and personal experiences.

10. SOCIOLOGY: Define the sociological problems that will accompany the end of the world. Include racist and religious quotes to prove your theory.

11. PHYSICAL EDUCATION: Orally explain why there is fuzz on tennis ball. Snap your gym towel to the first twelve bars of La Bamba.

Extra credit: Explain why it is better to spend $4.5 billion dollars on a nuclear aircraft carrier then building an Olympic sized swimming pool in every school in the United States of America.

12. MATHEMATICS: Using only negative numbers explain a high school teacher’s paycheck to a plumber.

13. POLITICAL SCIENCE: Pick three sovereign nations. Declare war on each country. But, only invade the nations with oil reserves. Observe how the rest of world reacts and then start World War III.

Now that you’ve read each question carefully STOP! YOU HAVE COMPLETED THIS POP QUIZ SUCCESSFULLY! Kudos and congratulations. Few have come this far!

Please sign your name at the bottom of the exam paper and scream as loudly as possible: “I’ve done this. I’ve done this. I’ve done this.”

Rise and please return your exam to me. Dear reader how did you do???


I love teaching. I never go to WORK. I spend each day with people I love, living my passion. I often receive emails and Facebook messages from former students and colleagues.

A while back the powers- that- be told me I would be teaching an Economics class. A senior class. The original instructor departed under mysterious circumstances. For many students, Econ is a “GAGGER ” class, a term which evokes an image of a person sticking a finger or an entire fist down one’s throat to promote vomiting.

To avoid a new moniker “The Instructor to Gag for,” I created a married couple: Will & Sylvia Screw You. My economics class became a life survival course. The Screw You’s became:

a. landlords My students had to ‘pay’ for their desks.

Desk locations had different values

b. CEOs who could hire and fire on a whim.

c. politicians who could change the laws of our class

d. day traders My class played the stock market game.

Within days, several students hacked into the program, became millionaires, and

erased all my accumulated assets.

Although a team of students erased my entire fortune, I didn’t flunk them. Chicanery and skullduggery seem to be gaining traction in our society.

My final exam consisted of four types of contracts between students and the Screw You's. Each contract was based on a document that students might experience at least once in their life time.

Rental lease

Car Loan

Job application

Home loan

My students were asked to read through each contract and discover how and why Sylvia and Will Screw You were more than willing to screw them.

Contracts were written in legalese. I used terms we covered in class: though in class the fine print wasn’t this fine. On my final exam --- I wrote parts of the various contracts like this:

malfeasance: Doing something illegal or morally wrong. Malfeasance includes dishonesty and abuse of authority.

prima facie case: A case where, upon first look, the facts themselves prove the case.

tort: From the French word for “wrong,” a tort is a wrongful or illegal act,

if the party of the first part feels in any way that the party of the second part or even third part for that matter subsequently decides to renege on the contract signed below by the party of the fourth or fifth part it would be a tort bordering on malfeasance and subject to nulling etc………………

The above font I liked to call,

‘I know you’ll never read this,

‘Something this small can’t be of any importance.

As we all know (don’t we?) small print usually results in the reader flipping through pages and hurriedly signing the contract.

During the two hour exam, my students were asked to discover how each contract was purposely designed to screw them. The more faults they found, the higher the grade. I have had more positive responses from this test than any other exam I ever administered. Over the years I’ve heard that some of my students avoided bad leases, balloon payments, adjusted mortgage rates and enjoyed evading being economically screwed on more than one occasion. Success!

Ah, But I Digress……


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© 2019 Tucker Spolter