I do not teach math. To me, mathematics belongs in the same mythological realm as unicorns and mountain trolls–interesting to think about, fun in riddles and puzzles, but ultimately unreal. I mean, what is a number really, but a description of something that actually is.
Nonetheless, I recently made the mistake of doing math.
Last night I graded papers for four and a half hours, a regular occurrence for me. Most weeks I push a sixty hour work week, which in the overtime world would be awesome because I’d bank and probably own a yacht and drink martinis or some other silly nonsense. But mind you, I am a teacher–the noble profession.
Somehow I had the terrible idea to calculate how much money I brought home, considering the actual hours I work. Bad idea, teacher.
Bad, bad idea.
Put It in a Word Problem
Let’s say that I take home x dollars each month at a grueling, thankless, yet indispensable job. I am paid for working a laughable forty hours a week. Yet since I work sixty hours each week without overtime pay, what is discrepancy between the paid the dollar amount and the actual earned amount in terms of y in dollars per hour ?
I’m no mathematician, and my formula could probably be better expressed, but since math is mythological, it doesn’t really matter as long as the magical numbers balance in the end:
In any case, it wasn’t the difference in the pay per hour that mattered, but the fact that after working out the calculations, I realized that with as many hours as I work, I am pocketing less per hour than when I waited tables at The Olive Garden as a college student.
Would you like to sample our new Valpolicella? Soup or salad? I’ll get you some more breadsticks…