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Moot Points: A Computer Teacher's Christmas

December 11, 2018 Ray Suchow, Special to the ATA News


‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a ROM chip was stirring, not even a mouse.
All the thumb drives were hung by the computer with care,
In the hopes that St. Nicholas would soon access them there.

The tablets were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of upgrades danced in their heads.
And mamma in her visor and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long VR nap.

When outside my lab there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to my window I flew in a flash,
“Oh, please,” I prayed, “not a hard drive crash.”

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to the database below.
When what to my wondering eyes should I glimpse,
But a miniature processor and eight tiny RAM chips.
With a little old hacker so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than input his RAM chips all came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now Python, now Perl, now Java and C,
On Cobol, on Snobol, on Scratch and Ruby.
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall,
Hack away, Hack away, Hack away all.”

And so up to the housetop the RAM chips soon flew,
With a sleigh full of output and St. Nicholas too.
On the roof they soon landed; it made my heart skip.
Then came the prancing and pawing of each little chip.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the bitstream St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed quite cool from his head to his shoes,
In Red Bull swag and Bluetooth headphones too.
A bundle of software he had flung on his back,
He looked like a hacker just opening his pack.
His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like Spock’s; angular, not scary.

His cute little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the fuzz on his chin was beginning to grow.
The glitter of braces encircling his teeth,
And Coke-bottle glasses, oh my — how sweet.
He had a broad face, but a round little belly,
From too much Nintendo in front of the telly.

Overall he was thin, like a six-foot elf.
And I laughed when I saw him, for he looked like myself!
With a wink of his eye, at the computer he sat,
And upgraded my system in one minute flat.

He spoke not a word but continued his work,
And filled all the thumb drives, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
He gave me a nod and up the bitstream he rose.

He returned to his processor, and examined his chips.
A power-user he was; “This work’s not for wimps.”
And I heard him exclaim as he booted out of sight,
“Happy hacking to all, and to all a good byte!”

Ray Suchow teaches computers, religious studies and ­information processing at Christ the King School in Leduc.

Moot Points is your chance to write about a funny ­incident, a lesson learned or a poignant experience related to ­teaching.
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