Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Burning of the School (updated)

This is widely reported to be the most wide-spread of all playground songs. Personally, though, I never heard it as a kid.

The tune "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is, like most folk songs, essentially a parody itself, a rewrite of the marching song "John Brown's Body Lies a Mouldering in the Grave," which, after nearly 150 years, is still the catchiest song ever written about mouldering, and which, itself, was written to the tune of another song.

There's no official version of "The Burning of the School" - the first two lines usually go:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
we have tortured all the teachers we have broken every rule
we hung the secretary and we'll drown the principal
our truth is marching on!


The third line varies, but common versions are:

We have plans to hang the principal tomorrow after school
and
we cheated (principal's name) in a dirty game of pool

The fourth line, too, has a million variations, everything from "our truth is marching on" to "us brats are marching on."

The chorus is sometimes simply "glory glory hallelujah," but many change it to one of a hundred variations on:

Glory, glory hallelujah
teacher hit me with a ruler
I bopped her on the bean
with a rotten tangerine
and she ain't gonna teach no more
"*

This part I did hear - the version I knew ended with "her brains came marching out," and I learned it from my mother, who would have learned it in the 1960s. The first two lines were recorded in England in the 1950s.

* - the last line of this version connects it to the ww2 era soldiers' parody Blood on the Risers.


Of course, these are just a few. Kay Shapero collected SEVERAL variations, particularly to the "I bopped her on the bean" line:


Hid behind the door with a loaded .44
Met her at the bank with a German army tank
Met her in the tub with a German navy sub
Met her in the attic with a loaded automatic
Hit her in the seater with a .50 millimeter
I shot her in the butt with a rotten coconut
I shot her in the hand with a loaded rubber band
I met her at the door with a hungry dinosaur
Teacher came in late so we sent her to Kuwait


The last line of the chorus also mutates:

-And my Teacher don't teach any more!
-And my Teacher ain't a Teacher any more!
-And we ain't seen the ol' bitch since!
-The school is burning down!
-Our troops are marching on!
-As we go marching on!


When i started this site, I had assumed that there must be more verses of this song floating around someplace, but I've never found any. So I've written my own - here's my version (with a slightly revised third line of the first verse):


Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
we have trampled all the teachers and we've broken every rule
we won the deed and title in a dirty game of pool
our school is burning down  (that's the original schoolyard version, though the third line varies a lot)

my verses:
We pelted all the recess aides with bouncy rubber balls
and took three cans of gasoline with which we decked the halls
and they we played with matches and set fire to them all
our school is burning down

We hacked the school computer and erased our failing grades
We slashed at all the spelling books with rusty razor blades
And threw all that was left onto the bonfire that we made
our school is burning down

The records that they had on us were only dirty lies
We never made explosives from the janitor's supplies
at least not til this morning, now imagine their suprise!
our school is burning down

The fire alarms are blaring now, and this is not a drill
if you haven't heard our story yet, we guarantee you will
we're the ones who turned the gym into a charcoal grill
our school is burning down

The hopscotch court's the only way that anyone can tell
the school was ever standing here, we did our job so well
and now the hopscotch players can hop all the way to hell
our school is burning down

We made darn sure that everybody got what they deserved
we forced all of the lunch ladies to eat the food they served
when we go to trial, can we be graded on the curve?
our school is burning down



Get an mp3 at smartalecksguide.com:
BANNER PLAYGROUND tan2

35 comments:

  1. My mother heard it as:
    "hit me in the bean with a nazi submarine"
    (Colorado, 1970s)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Southern England, 1970s

    Glory, glory hallelujah
    teacher hit me with a ruler
    The ruler broke in half
    And all the class began to laugh
    and he ain't gonna teach no more

    ReplyDelete
  3. My father had the song recorded on a 45. It used to be one of my favorite songs sometime between 1981-1984.

    This version, complete with orchestra, went:
    I bopped her on the head with a rotten tangerine
    Her teeth went marching on.

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  4. In Lancaster Mass, in the 80's, here's how I remember it:
    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
    We have trampled all the teachers, and we've broken every rule.
    We are marching down the hall to hang the principle,
    Our truth is marching on.
    Glory, Glory hallelujah
    Teacher hit me with a ruler
    I met her at the door with a loaded .44
    She ain't my teacher no more.

    and

    I met her at the bank with a loaded army tank,
    She ain't my teacher no more.

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  5. We used to sing in the early 70's East Hartford CT.

    The teacher hit me with a ruler,
    My hand turned red,
    and the teacher dropped dead,
    The truth goes marching on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Forgot the first part.
    We used to sing in the early 70's East Hartford CT.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
    We tortured all the teachers, and we've broken all the rules.
    We hung the secretary and we'll drown the principal.

    Glory glory hallelujah
    The teacher hit me with a ruler,
    My hand turned red,
    and the teacher dropped dead,
    The truth goes marching on.

    ReplyDelete
  7. mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    we've tortured all the teachers and broken every rule
    we've barbecued the principal and destroyed the PTA
    We're marching down the halls

    ReplyDelete
  8. Suburban Boston, early '80s:

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
    We have tortured all the teachers, we have broken every rule,
    We are marching down the corridor to hang the principal,
    Our truth is marching on.

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

    Variation: Met her at the bank with a loaded army tank

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  9. My version was from the 1960's

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule.
    We are marching down the hall to kill the principal
    Our school is marching on.

    Glory, Glory hallelujah.
    Teacher hit me with a ruler
    Walked in the door with a loaded 44
    And teacher don't teach no more

    Dave, Connecticut

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  10. Minneapolis 1970's
    My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    we have tortured every teacher we have broken every rule
    we have plans to kill the principal tomorrow afternoon
    our troops are marching on.

    Glory, glory, Hallelujah,
    teacher hit me with a ruler,
    I shot her through the floor with a german .44
    our troops are marching on.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Los Angeles area, c. 1976

    Mine eyes have deen the glory of the burning of the school,
    We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule,
    We have beaten Mr. Bolton [the principal] ina dirty game of pool,
    Us brats go marching on.

    Glory, Glory Hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a ruler,
    Stand behind the door witha loaded .44
    And the teacher don't teach no more.

    ReplyDelete
  12. SF Bay Area, 1970's

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
    we've tortured all the teachers and broken all the rules,
    we have barbecued the principal, the secretary too,
    the girls are next in line.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    teacher hit me with a ruler,
    met her at the gate with a loaded .38,
    and set the teacher straight.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The only version I can remember is

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    teacher hit me with a ruler,
    The ruler broke in half,
    And we all had a laugh,
    On the last day of September.

    ReplyDelete
  14. San Francisco, late 1960s:

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
    We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule,
    We plan to hang the principal, the secretary too
    Our troops are marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a ruler,
    Met her at the door, with a loaded .44,
    And she bothered me no more!

    ReplyDelete
  15. NE Montana (rural) late 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 barbequed the principal, the secretary too;
    The school is burning down!

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a ruler.
    Met her at the door, with a loaded .44;
    (and) There ain't no teacher no more!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is what we had in the mid sixties – I still have the original hymn from 4th grade……..

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    we have tortured all the teachers and we broke the golden rule
    We’re going to hang the principal tomorrow after school
    our class is marching on!
    Glory, glory hallelujah
    My teacher hit me with a ruler
    The ruler broke in half
    And we all began to laugh
    She ain't gonna teach no more
    Glory, glory hallelujah
    My teacher hit me with a ruler
    I shot her in the butt with a rotten coconut
    And she ain't gonna teach no more!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was attending Hauli Kula elementary school in HAWAII on Schofield barracks from 1968 thru 1970 when we used to recite this song. Leonard Session @ Atlanta.

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  18. This may scare you. This one's from AUSTRALIA. I think I found it in either Roll Over, Pavlova!, or All Right, Vegemite!, which are both kiddie humour poetry books.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah.
    Teacher hit me with the ruler.
    Hit her in the chin with a rotten mandarin
    and her teeth came marching out!

    My idiot classmates then spent the next six months parodising that, so it ended up with (insert nam) hit me with the ruler.

    Oh, and here's another one, from my classmates this time.:
    Glory, glory, hallelujah
    My mum hit me with the ruler.
    I hit in the jaws, cause I had to do my chores,
    So she sent me straight to bed.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My father taught me a non-school-related one when I was young:

    "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
    He is driving down the mountain in a green and yellow Ford
    One hand on the throttle, and another on a bottle
    Of Grandma's homemade brew!"

    He probably heard it in Pittsburgh in the '50s or '60s.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Glory glory hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a rule-lah,
    I b-(?) her on the bum with a rotten piece a gum,
    and there ain't no school no more, shut the door.

    My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
    I have tortured all the teachers, I have broken all the rules,
    I'm marching down the hallway just to hang the principal
    and there ain't no school no more, shut the door.
    -Omaha Ne. 1970s

    ReplyDelete
  21. I wear my pink pajamas
    In the summer when it's hot,
    I wear my flannel nighties
    In the winter when it's not,
    And sometimes in the springtime,
    And sometimes in the fall,
    I jump right in between the sheets
    With nothing on at all!

    Glory, glory, what's it to you?
    Glory, glory, what's it to you?
    Glory, glory, what's it to you?
    If I jump right in between the sheets
    With nothing on at all.

    we sang this in 1993

    ReplyDelete
  22. My mom taught me this version in I think 1990 or so? She grew up in Memphis, TN so it might be from there, but I was born and raised in Oregon. However, I don't ever remember hearing this (or any, really) version in the schoolyard as a kid.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    We have tortured all the teachers, we have broken all the rules
    We are marching down the hallway, gonna shoot the principal
    Our truth is marching on

    Glory, glory hallelujah
    Teacher hit me with a ruler
    Stood behind the door with a loaded .44
    And the teacher don't teach no more!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, 1950s.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of my Pop!
    He is speeding down the highway being followed by a cop.
    One hand is on a bottle and the other's on a bottle
    of Pabst's Blue Ribbon Beer.

    ReplyDelete
  24. South East Missouri Early 60's. As told to me by two of my friends both of whom became teachers,

    Glory glory halleugha!
    Tea-a-a-cher hit me with a ru-u-u-ler.
    I met er' at th' door with a loaded 44
    and she don't teach us no more!

    I only remember that part of the song because it was catchy. We had a teacher at the time who loved to make all of us look like fools in front of everybody. Later we had a teacher who was strict, fair, but did not lower himself by poking fun of students. I remember that when we had him as a teacher I felt guilty even thinking about that song.

    ReplyDelete
  25. circa 1960, Tulsa...

    Glory, glory hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with the ruler,
    Met her at the door with a Colt .44
    Now there ain't no teacher no more.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for the blasts from the past. It was fun thinking about these silly songs I heard as a kid in the 60's, when no one could even conceive of school violence, let alone have it become a fact of our lives. I wonder if anyone else squirmed a little while reading these songs, now, even though they were totally harmless and fun in our day?

    ReplyDelete
  27. mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    we have tortured all the teachers we have broken all the rules
    we once had a principal but we run her out of school
    us brats are marching on

    glory glory halleluya
    teacher hit me with a ruler
    i bopped her in the bean
    with a rotten tangerine
    us brats are marching on

    ReplyDelete
  28. The version I remember from the mid-1970 around Randallstown, Maryland goes as follows:

    Glory, glory, hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a ruler.
    Turned out to be-e-ee
    The start of World War Three!
    The school is burning down!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Houston, Texas, late '60s.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule
    We have plans to hang the principal tomorrow after school
    Our truth is marching on

    Glory glory hallelujah
    Teacher hit me with a ruler
    Shot her to the floor with a loaded .44
    And she ain't my teacher no more

    ReplyDelete
  30. My mom always sang to me:
    My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
    We've beaten all the teachers, we have broken all the rules
    We have smashed up all the black boards, we've burned up all the books
    And the school is burning down!

    Glory glory hallelujah
    Teacher hit me with a ruler
    I met her at the door with a loaded .44
    And she an't my teacher any more

    ReplyDelete
  31. Glory Glory Halleluja! Teacher hit me with a ruler! I waited by the door, with a loaded .44, and there ain't no teacher anymore!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
    We have torchered all the teachers and we broke the golden rule
    We marched up to the office and we shot the principle,
    And now we're walking out

    ReplyDelete
  33. California 1990s
    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning oF the school,
    We've tied up all the teachers and we've broken every rule,
    We broke into the office and we shot he principle,
    The school is burning down!

    Glory glory hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a ruler,
    Broke into the classroom with a .44
    That teacher don't teach no more!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I heard the ones about school many times in the mid-late 80's in NJ.

    But there is this genre of the parody too:

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
    He was driving down the highway in a rusty yellow Ford
    One hand on the bottle and the other on the wheel
    Driving to Miami in his beat up automobile! <- This line doesn't fit the tune

    There are a number of other variations, like '57 Ford and changing the name of the city.

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE tell us where and when you heard your version (ie, "Chicago, early 1950s). And please be aware that the information may end up in a book sooner or later.