Ironically, as a math teacher I hardly needed to use any math at all. Now that I’m starting a business, I’m keeping track of hours, money, and stock shares & options, and using all that boring stuff I hated teaching.
It’s straight out of a precalc text book, actually:
- “How long can Riley afford to work on his own if he eats $4.5 worth of food every day, pays $60 a month in utilities, $2000/year in taxes, and $4/day in drinks?”
- “How many hours per day does Riley need to work to finish by December if Riley estimates he has 100 hours left, doesn’t want to work on Sundays, and usually underestimates how much work there is to do by 50-70%?”
These make really boring textbook problems, but I tell you what, they get more interesting when you might not eat if you’re wrong. Talk about intrinsic motivation. I’m lucky enough to have learned to do these kinds of calculation in school (a lot of them only after I started teaching, btw), and I simply couldn’t start a business without being able to do them. It feels like running in the dark even when I can grapple with pretty complicated models.
I always felt cheesy as shit saying things like, “you might need this if you ever want to xyz,” and avoided using that kind of motivation whenever I could. But what about the kids who will want to xyz?