Joe Pagano

Rookie (03/22/60 / Brooklyn)

Help, Please Help, Teacher! - Poem by Joe Pagano

Algebra, algebra—it doesn’t make sense,
Numbers and variables combined in strange ways,
With symbols and signs—parentheses too,
My footing is lost, I feel stuck in glue,
Help, please help teacher— I’m depending on you!

Then there’s those lines, formulas strange,
Point-slope, slope-intercept, that many the days,
I sat there and wondered, why do this to me?
I’m clueless, I’m fried, I’m ready to flee,
Help, please help teacher—I’m going to scream.

Absolute value, never negative we’re told,
But inser a variable and I’ve lost my hold.
It’s x—no it’s negative x—c’mon what’s the deal?
I must be dreaming, this can’t be real!
Help, please help teacher—help me to feel.

Onto the galleries, where radicals repose,
Irrational demons whose nature confirms,
The essence of difficulty, why try to fight?
We struggle, we labor, their cause to make right,
Help, please help teacher, I’m losing my might.

Then came the quadratic, with roots complex and real,
B2 - 4AC the discriminant we learned,
It baffled the ablest, the roots to extract,
Others sat paralyzed—and this is a fact!
Help, please help teacher, keep us intact!

Polynomials—those creatures, they lurk in the dark,
Harassing and scaring, no walk in the park.
Add them and multiply, exponents confuse,
Like terms, unlike terms, how dare you refuse?
Help, please help teacher—give me some clues.

Then all of those monsters, we find in some words,
Whose meaning we labor to extract from their core,
We scream, we yell, we can’t take any more,
These word problems kill us, they rankle our brain,
Help, please help teacher, spare us this pain.

Thus onwards we toil, this subject to learn,
Our pencils are sharpened, our notebooks secure.
And learn it we must—no sense to rebut,
Alternatives unpleasant—why sink in this rut?
Help, please help teacher, help us make your first cut.

So on go the lessons, the learning stops not,
Our wounds bathed in dressings, our pain masked with salve,
The teacher’s emollients, applied with such grace,
That none of us ever, could ever lose face,
You’ve helped us dear teacher—we’ve finished the race!

The world we now enter, secure in its mists,
We shout with such glory, we clench tight our fists.
The math that you taught us has helped us to see,
How good we’ve become and how good we can be.
Thank you great teacher, you’ve filled us with glee.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 22, 2006

Poem Edited: Saturday, July 17, 2010


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