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?
[SOUND OF TEACHER TALKING]
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: 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.
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!
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!
[SOUND OF BELL]
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.”