Director of Tickets
Norfolk Tides Baseball Club
AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles
Math has generally come very naturally to me so that was the primary reason that I enjoyed it. I liked that there was only 1 right answer - not typical subjective grading. It brought out the perfectionist in me. Personally (although they are terrible to use in a classroom situation), I loved the competitive games like Around the World, a prime number game called Buzz and other things like that. I don't remember too many individual lessons that stood out, but I have several teachers that did. Mrs. Noomer (nicknamed the numerator) made a sheet each day that had half of her lesson plan on there. Our job was to pay attention and fill in the missing words, numbers, symbols, equations etc. as she taught. We all had a binder and were responsible for keeping every sheet. It forced the entire class (those that liked math and those that didn't) to stay engaged with the lesson and provided us detailed notes to reflect back on throughout the year. I was never a big fan of manipulatives as a teaching tool when I was younger. I was the kid that wanted to play with the base 10 blocks instead of using them the correct way! Some kids benefit from tactile learning, but they were a little too much of a distraction for me!
Math is most definitely a huge part of what I do. After each game, I am responsible for generating all of the financial reports that reflect ticket sales and attendance as well as merchandise and concession sales. When looking at attendance in comparison with merchandise and concessions, I am able to figure out a per cap to see an average amount of money spent by each person in the ballpark. Compiling all the figures also gives us a current look at revenue generated year to date. For each paid ticket, we are also required to pay the city an entertainment or admission tax. I have it built into the price of a ticket already so the prices for the customers are round numbers. For example a $10, I pay the city $0.91. Understand we sell tickets under 14 or 15 price levels and sell over 300000 anually. I don't have to use a lot of higher order processes in my job, but anyone looking into this field has to have a decent math background. Trying to set a yearly operating budget for my department would be difficult without some knowledge.
I always wished teachers would show us the practical side and utilization of math. Instead of telling me that I will use it one day, SHOW me how I will. Pardon me for a minute, I am jumping back up to the first question again. I do recall a certain lesson now. We were all given a fake bank account, checks and a Christmas catalog and had to do our "Christmas shopping". I don't remember all the certain specifics, but I don't think we were responsible for figuring in sales tax. Lessons and situations like that made math a part of what to expect as we got older. It prepared us for "real life". I still tease my best friend that when we would go out once a week for drinks she would bring all her receipts and I would balance her checkbook for her!
I actually did have the power to change the way math is taught. I was actually a teacher prior to getting into baseball. I taught Title Reading and Math after graduating with a degree in education and also did private tutoring. A lot of my students felt ashamed to be pulled out of class for math. I had to be creative and come up with ways to make it fun, educational and not a straight drill and kill type of situation every day. Yes, they needed to master the basics, but you can't make them like math if they aren't using the skills and having fun with it. Every Friday was kind of a Friday Fun Day. Some of the class favorites: when calculating averages we had an activity calculating the class average of how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop; conversions meant a trip outside to throw a ball X number of feet and turning that into inches, yards, meters, etc. Not only were they learning the lesson, but to have kids that are behind grade level actually WANT to go to math was great.