• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Math Geek Mom: 'Twas the Weekend Before Finals

With all Due Respect to Clemet Clark Moore

December 11, 2014

‘Twas the weekend before finals and all through the school,

The students were trying to just keep their cool.

Assignments were posted on our L.M.S.

Everyone hoped to do their very best.

Students were camped out in library chairs

where they tried very hard not to be scared.

It would be a long weekend, this they all knew

I, too, looked at a list of things I must do.

When out in the hallway I heard such a chatter

I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

I leaped from my chair and across the floor

Only pausing a second, I opened my door.


As evening descended the semester’s last week,

My students had gathered, my help so to seek.

I knew they had questions, and was ready with aid

“Come into my office,” I said with a wave.

They came inside, some sat and some stood

Bringing their notebooks and all they questions they could

They carried coffee, coca or a candy cane

Put out by the school to help keep them sane.


“Help us with calculus, algebra, stats”

They said as they took off their coats and their hats

“Integrals, regression, S.P.S.S.

Please help us make some sense of this mess.”

My office had moved when a tornado had hurt us

When winds had destroyed much of the campus

Still, they found me, in a basement suite

Past the library entrance, only a few feet.


I grabbed my black marker and began to write

“Here, see how this factors out when it’s right.”

A bell curve with a mean in the middle

“See, how this chain rule is not such a riddle!”


They were dressed for the task of studying all night

With sweatpants and jerseys and shoes not too tight

Backpacks fought against gravity’s forces.

Each had a laptop with notes from their courses.


I love all this math, be it old or new,

But sometimes I’m the only one with that view.

“Here, look, we can do this problem two ways

Yes, this IS the way I like to spend my days.”


The marker I used to write on my wall;

A white piece of plastic I purchased last fall

I know I looked silly to my students, so cool

‘Caus I was the “nerd” when I was in school.


I hope that I helped them, that motley crew

And left them with insights that were new

I hope that they learned something over this fall

I hope that they do well, do well one and  all.


They spoke not a word as they left my small space

The task  more than some  of them wanted to face

Back to their dorm rooms they moved in a huddle

A little less worried, a little less muddled

I waved to them as they walked down the hall

So proud of them, so proud of them all.

I called out to them in the loudest voice I could make

“Good luck on finals and have a great break!”


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