Summary: A Teacher stands in front of a group of school children, writing on a chalk board. There are 3 or 4 children seated in desks, but only two (TOMMY and SALLY) have speaking parts. The kids are played by “adults” – and as the scene starts, they are doing typical bratty kid behaviors – thumping    spit balls, sticking their tongues out, etc. to let the audience know they are children, not adults. The teacher reads from a test booklet.
Style:  Light-hearted.   Duration:  8min
Actors: 4-5M/F

Teacher, Tommy, Sally, 2-3 other non-speaking parts.


TEACHER: Okay, children, settle down, settle down. We have a lot of work to do. Your third grade standardized exams are coming up in a few weeks, and the Math section is very important. Today, we are going to be reviewing word problems.

TOMMY: Ugh! I hate word problems!

SALLY: Ms. Hudson, Tommy thumped a spitball at Sarah!

TEACHER: Sally, we’ve talked about being a tattle-tale. If Sarah has a problem with Tommy, she should speak up.

TOMMY:That’s a fib! It was Martin. I was minding my own business...

TEACHER: (sternly) Children, that’s enough. Time for word problems. Write this down carefully as I read it aloud...
(The children settle in and prepare to write.)

TEACHER:(continues) “Mr. Smith and Miss Thompson are getting married in June. Mr. Smith has a job working as an electrician, earning $51,000 dollars a year. Miss Thompson is a part-time secretary, earning $17,500 a year. Once married, they will combine their salaries. What will be their total household income?”

SALLY: (raises her hand quickly) Ms. Hudson!

TEACHER: Yes, Sally?

SALLY: Why does the woman have to be the secretary? I think she should be the electrician. I like electricity. I could be an electrician.

TEACHER: I’m sure you would make a fine electrician, Sally. But I didn’t write the problem. Please just calculate the sum of their two incomes and...

TOMMY:You have to be smart to be an electrician. Girls are too stupid.

TEACHER: Tommy, Tommy. That is not nice. We don’t call anyone stupid. Now, back to the math problem.

SALLY: Ms. Hudson?

TEACHER: (sighs, growing frustrated) Yes, Sally?

SALLY: Can Miss Thompson be an electrician and a mommy?

TEACHER: (abrupt) Okay, kids. The answer is 68,500 dollars. Write that down. Next problem. (takes a breath) “After their marriage, Mr. Smith and Miss Thompson will need a place to live. Mr. Smith has suggested they move into a one-bedroom apartment in the city with a monthly rent of $975 dollars. Miss Thompson prefers that they purchase a small two-bedroom cottage in the suburbs with a monthly mortgage payment of $1240 dollars. What is the difference between the two options?”

SALLY: Ms. Hudson, will the cottage have a picket fence? My mommy says every home needs to have a picket fence. And a breakfast nook. And a bay window. Will the cottage have those things?

TOMMY: I think the apartment sounds cool! I bet there’s a swimming pool on the roof, and a weight room, and ... and... I bet it’s near the ballpark and the football stadium and the river and he can go fast in his speedboat on the weekend and ... and...!

TEACHER: Tommy! Sally! Please quiet down. Your questions are completely irrelevant to the word problem.

TOMMY: Ms. Hudson, what does irrelevant mean?

SALLY: It means that boys are cavemen.


SALLY: Well, whenever my dad talks about watching football games at the stadium with his buddies, my mommy calls him a cave man.

TOMMY: Well, my dad says my mom is an ice queen.    Ms. Hudson, what’s an ice queen?

TEACHER: Enough. Remember, word problems! So, what we want to do here is to subtract 975 from 1240 and the result is the difference.

SALLY: Ms. Hudson?

TEACHER: --The answer is 265. (exasperated, quickly) Question three. “Mr. Smith works 55 hours a week and Miss Thompson works 22 hours a week. Calculate the average of the two work weeks.”

SALLY: 55 hours sounds like a lot of work. My mommy says my daddy works too much.

TOMMY: My daddy says that my mommy shops too much.

SALLY: My mommy says that daddy should stay home from work so they can talk more. Daddy never talks to her—

TOMMY: My dad never talks to my mom either! Hey, we have a lot in common!

(They giggle and start to focus on each other lovingly.)

TOMMY: I like your pigtails.

SALLY: I like your freckles.

TEACHER: Ugh, I hate word problems.

© Copyright Paul Tate, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.