I teach Math Superstars at my kids' elementary school. It's a supplemental math program (as if you couldn't guess). This year I'm teaching both kids' classes: one Kindergarten and one 4th grade.

I wear a wizard's hat from an old Halloween costume, along with my old graduation robe (whaddaya know, it is good for something) and call myself a mathemagician. I think 4th grade is about the limit for this kind of thing, but at least I'm recognizable. In fact, they took my picture for the yearbook today.

But sometimes you've got to wonder if I'm smart enough to do this.

Don't get me wrong, I love math. I'm pretty good at it: I minored in mathematics after Differential Equations blew me away. But I understand all the algebra they're using, lots of the calculus they don't, and even some math history and weirdness that piques their interest.

The melding of math and computers is ideal, too. My wife and I (mostly her) made a beautiful Open Office spreadsheet that keeps track of all the scores, prints beautiful little star cards for each student, and tells me when they earn one of the prizes.

Unfortunately, sometimes there's a lot of work to do. Like this week. I had to stay up grading papers until midnight because I had two weeks of backlog. Naturally, that means a lot of kids have passed prize points, so I have a lot of certificates to fill out. And we had some trouble getting out of the house, so I'm rushing.

I print the star cards for last week, the summary sheets with points and prize list, and the star cards for this week. I drop off the kids, sign in, stuff my hat on my head, and rush to the library. I use their paper guillotine (the one with the giant chopping blade) to cut the star card sheets into their individual little cards. Shoop! Shoop! Shwop! Swish! Swap!

Then I start looking for my summary sheets. Of course, they were sandwiched between the star cards. They're now in convenient 4cm x 6cm squares.

I actually taped them back together so I could figure out what prizes I was supposed to get for whom. I wound up using all the tape on the librarian's desk. And I arrived in class only 3 minutes late.

If an idiot cuts an important sheet of paper into nine equal squares, how much tape will he need...