Math parents

Parents have been known to get somewhat heated while watching their children play sports. But what would happen if parents were spectators in other areas of their children’s lives?



A: Let’s go Algebra… Let’s go Algebra…!

B: You have a kid in here?

A: Yeah, up front, second over, with the glasses. You can do it, Makayla! You?

B: By the window, chewing on a wad of paper. Dylan, pay attention!

A: Oh yeah, I’ve seen him. He’s… er, coming along.

B: He really nailed that graph function the other day. Drove the numbers along the X axis and then up the Y. Beautiful arc!

A: I guess you could say he’s improving… exponentially.

B: Huh?

A: Exponent-ially…

B: Oh… Hand up, Dylan! Hand up! That’s it. Get in there!

A: Nice move.

B: Oh wait, he’s just asking to go to the bathroom.

A: Still, good form. That arm was straight up, solid wiggle on the hand-wave.

B: Look at that. The teacher’s totally ignoring him. Come on, teach! He’s got a leaky bladder! How do you expect him to concentrate if he’s thinking about peeing! Ridiculous!

A: He’s really got that going-to-the-bathroom move down nicely.

B: Oh, and now this. Seriously? He has to pee and you’re asking if a dam releases 120 gallons of water per second when 30 percent open, how much water would be released at 40 percent open? How about teaching fair for once! Teach to the test!

A: Come on, Grade 8! You can answer this! Solve. For. X! Solve. For. X! Get those variables in there, Makayla!

B: Get your finger out of your nose, Dylan!

A: Yes! Good problem-solving, Makayla!

B: Oh! He nearly had that one.

A: Nice try. “Lots” was a pretty good answer.

B: He doesn’t know this! How is he supposed to answer if he doesn’t know it! God…. So, did you do math as a kid?

A: I’ve been known to plot a quadratic function or two back in the day. Used to be able to run circles around pi. I don’t like to brag, but I was recruited.


A: YMCA. They needed a bookkeeper. But then I tore my inverse tangent and that was it for me.

B: What! Are you serious!

A: It’s true. I can barely get by with a graphing calculator now.

B: No, the teacher. He just called a pop quiz! Boooo! Hey, teacher! Why don’t you adhere to Piaget’s theory that children have difficulty with concepts due to passing too quickly from the qualitative structure to the mathematical formulation, for Pete’s sake!

A: With only two minutes left? Makayla! You gotta bring your A game! No wait: you’re A-plus game!

B: Dylan, it’s not worth crying about! Oh no, this is just like inverse proportional situations all over again.

A: Wait, look at that kid. Hey! That’s not a No. 2 HB pencil. What’s he writing with? Aren’t you going to call a foul on that? Why do we only have one teacher? How can they properly invigilate without a student teacher? Makayla! You’ve got to nail this! You’re this close to going into the lower Math and your life will be ruined. Stay focused! No pressure.

B: Oh no, Dylan’s hit the wall.

A: Exhausted?

B: No, he went to sharpen his pencil and walked into the wall. Yeah, he’s down.

A: Come on, Makayla! A minute left. Look on your neighbour’s paper!

B: What?

A: Elbow in there!

B: Hey, can I get a make-up test over here? Hey!

A: Ten seconds left! A negative exponent becomes positive when placed in the denominator! Negative! Positive! Denominator!

B: Three! Two! One!


A: Noooooooo!

B: Great effort out there! You’ll pass next time.

A: Man… Well, it’s only a core subject, not like it’s hockey. See you in History?

B: Oh yeah. Dylan kills in the French Revolution.

A: All right. Oh — here they come. Let’s line up and shake hands, everyone: “Good class, good class, good class…”


A version of this piece originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.”


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in Family - whadya gonna do?, Turn that radio on! and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Math parents

  1. franhunne4u says:

    Did you have some secret Math-training to write this?

  2. Ned's Blog says:

    Even though I hate math, this added up to something really funny. Thanks for making me feel better about getting a “D” in high school algebra. That’s what you were going for, right?

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    “tore my inverse tangent”—Ha! That’s a really tricky injury to rehab from.

  4. Sounds like there could have been more Weapons of Math Instruction in that classroom.

    Just sayin’

  5. Amy Reese says:

    Very funny. If only we all so enthusiastic about math. Maybe it would be a really good thing. People could get jobs here. 🙂

  6. Thank for you this, Ross! I laughed and then got all warm and fuzzy…my 15-year old doesn’t get near as excited about parabolas as I do.

  7. I stopped being able to help my kids with math long ago. The day my son sat down and began showing me a new way to do long division that looked a lot like guessing I gave up. I would be the parent in the stands saying, “Don’t do that…oh, that worked? Okay, good work.”

  8. markbialczak says:

    What a classy post, Ross.

  9. Hilarious! I won’t even try to make a humorous comment. Funniest post I’ve seen in awhile!

  10. Have you discovered discovery math yet? I got completely lost. No kidding.
    Great piece. 🙂

  11. ksbeth says:

    you’re a pain in the axis at times, ross, but i like you anyway and find you to be a really good/funny writer. )

  12. List of X says:

    Honestly, a high school student probably has a better chance of getting into college on a math scholarship than on a football one. Although I think that the risk of head injury is about the same between the two.

  13. Are these the same scoundrels who did the Christmas broadcast as well? And who were you? A or B? Not bad, Ross. I think you might be getting a handle on this humor thing.

  14. Letizia says:

    And I can imagine the teacher’s parents in the corner cheering him on too!

  15. God – wouldn’t that be a nightmare if parents REALLY did watch during each class on the sidelines? Great piece ~

  16. pinklightsabre says:

    My sphincter puckers over math. I can’t even make jokes about it. And it’s true, my fourth grader is doing stuff I have to whip out my phone to compute. Why do we do math? Is it like push-ups or some kind of physical pain we enact upon ourselves just to prove we can?

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I know certain books like that. 🙂
      I like the order of math, the constants. Yet at the same time, infinite numbers. INFINITE! There’s something elemental in there, some answer to the universe.
      Plus, math makes it easier to build bookshelves and make a double-batch of muffins.

  17. Paul says:

    Written on blackboard in Math classroom:
    “Dear Sir: Please stop asking us to find your X. She is gone and won’t be coming back.”

    Ha! Funny Post Ross. It was the Mobius Strip that blew my mind.

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