Complaint 71.8

Rise, Overrun
by Christopher Clauss

Let X equal the number of days of school before summer vacation
Let Y equal the severity of the behavior problems
Attempt to graph Y as a function of X

Nevermind, don’t.

Someone has put all of your graph paper
into the science lab sink
and turned on the faucet
during the one period you had a sub.

You know,

the sub who chose not to follow that lesson plan.

You know,

the one you spent an hour getting ready
instead of eating
or reading the email.

You know,

the one that will keep you from sleeping tonight
as you formulate all the things you wish you could have said
in response to that fire-spitting parent
but know you shouldn’t.

If A is the temperature of the classroom with no AC
in June
and B is the square root
of the number of times they have asked
to open the windows
when they are already open
calculate the maximum number of times
a class of 20 8th graders can tell me
how hot it is
in a single class period,
given 4 of them are absent
every other day
and will still be allowed to graduate
despite failing all of their classes
because they’re the high school’s problem now, aren’t they
and maybe we’re every bit as horrible as those parents say we are

Let Q be fatigue
Let Z be the sum total of
how much sleep we should have gotten
this week
Correlate it to the graph
of cusswords directed at us
vs cusswords shouted at other students
in the hallway
once you dry out the graph paper from the sink
and if the p value isn’t less than .05
it’s a million

There must be a better way to explain
that writer’s cramp than
all the detention slips you’ve been drafting
Some days you forget to tell them to wear
sunscreen on field day
because there’s just so much going on
But other days maybe it’s subconsciously vindictive
hoping they will spend their final days in the classroom
too crisp to move a muscle
but of course
teachers would never do something like that
(or would they?)

Let R be your blood pressure
and let L be the time the liquor store closes today.
Let F be the average grade on the last test
and no, that isn’t a variable.
It was open notes
we went over all the questions and their answers
in the previous class
and they still couldn’t pass it

Let M be the number of passees to the nurse this week
not because they are ill
but because the nurse’s office is air conditioned
and you do the math

I’d say you could use a calculator
but someone has punched out all of the little solar panels
pushed them deep inside each device
The batteries have all drained
and the one functional battery powered oddball was submerged over the weekend
in a 1000ml beaker
of what I hope was water
just to see what it would do

Let T be the reason we can’t have nice things

Every year is an asymptote
Where we get closer and closer to summer vacation
but never quite relax

Someone called this a noble profession once
Really
I set them straight.

Christopher Clauss (he/him) is an introvert, Ravenclaw, father, poet, and middle school science teacher in rural New Hampshire. His mother believes his poetry is “just wonderful.” His daughters declare that he is the “best daddy they have,” and his pre-teen science students rave that he’s “Fine, I guess. Whatever.”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.