Possessing strong capabilities in mathematics is life-changing. Knowing this, the instructor works very hard to give students the best instruction and the most possible support to accomplish what they might otherwise feel to be unattainable. But for this to happen, I need your constant support for the duration of the school year. Specifically, if you encourage your student(s) in the following ways, it will help to expedite and secure lasting progress in the subject:
1. Students must correct all problems on homework, quizzes, and tests, even if those corrections do not contribute to point recovery on a particular assignment. Learning from and correcting mistakes is critical for success in any challenging endeavor—whether our goals are academic, athletic, musical, or dramatic.
2. Students must identify concepts causing difficulty and consult with the instructor both in and out of class to work towards complete comprehension via Q and A, as well as working as many practice problems as it takes to obtain a breakthrough. And the relevant practice work may necessarily span many days or weeks. The time element is often contingent upon point number 3.
3. Students must put forth their personal best at all times: a strong work ethic, a relentlessly positive attitude, and the best behavior—all these things are critical, even when things are not going as well as one might wish (or expect).
4. Students should endeavor to always work the grade-level and/or above-grade-level and/or the SAT-level bonus problems appearing on quizzes and tests. This is especially critical for obtaining the fastest and most solid level of improvement. And students should learn to enjoy the challenge of figuring out problems which cannot be immediately solved—problems which have solutions that are not readily apparent—problems which require many steps to arrive at the correct answer.
5. Parents should oversee number 4, above, and number 6, below.
6. Parents should encourage the student to engage in "teaching to learn" activities. This would include having your student teach an audience using quiz and test prep materials. The ablity to explain concepts in plain English to others will make a considerable difference in comprehending material on a forthcoming quiz or test. And doing this across an entire school year will make a monumental difference in the overall ability of your student. See the blog article on this topic:
7. Any student scoring below 80% on a quiz or test should immediately begin regular math lab attendance and/or private tutoring until a better grasp of the concepts is permanently achieved.
8. Parents must be a source of encouragement. Teachers and parents are all "coaches" in the students' corner. And if students are consistently giving their best effort, success will certainly come. It is most often not a matter of "if," but "when." So when parents apply undue pressure towards their student getting an "A," it is not nearly as effective as challenging that student to give his or her absolute best effort at all times. Setting goals of continual improvement and building a strong(er) work ethic are worthy motivators which can make progress in a particular endeavor an enjoyable challenge instead of a dreaded burden.
We often revel in the heroism of a team that can rally from a significant deficit and win the game in the very last moments of a sporting event. It is an adrenaline-packed atmosphere that strikes a chord deep within the heart of all those routing for the competitors—whose grit resulted in an outcome that would not have been otherwise possible apart from their sheer bravery and unbreakable determination. In the same way, the student who develops stronger abilites in math must also foster these same character traits. Whenever this occurs in one of our learners, the results are not only life-changing for that young person, but they may well rewrite history.
Please join me in helping to orchestrate the approach outlined above as we work to instill these things in the hearts of all our students. Authentic love and support are absolutely essential for infusing success in the classroom, but they are not given much "air time" in college courses designed to train teachers. All students deserve to realize they are far greater and much more capable than they might think.
Yours in education,