When I was hired by Corwin Press and learned that, in addition to marketing Corwin Literacy, I would also be marketing the company’s new sister imprint Corwin Mathematics, I was both excited and, quite frankly, a bit anxious.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have experience marketing mathematics, because in a previous position I was part of a team that introduced a new line of math professional development books. It wasn’t that I didn’t welcome the challenge of launching a new imprint, an exciting challenge for any marketing expert and one I had led successfully earlier in my career for two large trade publishers.
It was more that I just didn’t feel as well versed in mathematics as I did in literacy. I had always been the student with her nose buried in a book, scribbling daily in a journal, and I tutored students in English during my college years. Although I was a good math student throughout high school, I was one of those students who celebrated when my high school courses in Statistics and Advanced Calculus counted towards college credit, meaning I didn’t have to take a math class in college.
I enjoyed math classes, but like so many students was always faced with the fear of getting the answer wrong in front of my classmates and suffered from many sleepless nights before years of math tests. I just didn’t feel as confident with mathematics content as I did with literacy content.
My father, who had a Ph.D in mathematics, taught mathematics at all grade levels from elementary through college for almost 60 years. He loved math, and was one of those teachers who passed along his love of his subject to his students, including me. He helped with my geometry homework by providing me with real-world examples, often based on objects on the dining room table where I did my geometry homework. And we were always both excited when I got it. Then my Dad would smile and say, “Good work, sweetie.”
I accepted the marketing position at Corwin Mathematics shortly before my father died. When I told him that I would be promoting books and digital products that would help math teachers improve all of their students’ math learning, even those who might at times be a bit math-challenged like me, he smiled. He had the best smile in the world. He told me that he was so proud of me and that he thought I was just the right person to market a series of math books meant to show teachers how to make math accessible and sensible to all students. And now when I sit down to create back cover copy for one of our math books or explain in an email how that same book addresses a common math challenge, I imagine my Dad smiling and telling me, “Good work, sweetie.”