What is my responsibility as a student taking a math class?

It is important for parents and students alike to understand the pacing of a weekly class schedule.  In a classroom setting, it is important that each student be responsible for his or her own learning.  Students can accomplish this by completing homework assignments before class, attempting to rework any problems they do not understand, and coming to class prepared with questions of problems they do not understand how to solve.

Each class will begin with a time to answer questions.  Because this time is limited, it is critical that students have attempted to correct any problems on their own using the resources at their disposal, such as notes from class, example problems from their textbook, working with a peer, parents, etc.  This will leave class time for those difficult to work problems that cause students to be stumped.  As they watch the instructor work out the problem that they have attempted, this creates an “aha” moment and aids students with comprehension.

The bulk of class time will revolve around teaching lessons.  Covering an entire textbook in only thirty-two weeks is no easy feat and time is of the essence.  Students will have a stronger understanding of the material if they will read over the lessons prior to classroom instruction.  Each week the initial set of homework will include practice problems very similar to the examples given in class.  It is critical that students ask for help if there is ANY struggle answering these initial questions.  This is the basis or foundation of the lesson.  Without a strong understanding, students will continue to flounder.

Parents, if students are coming to you asking questions that you cannot answer…PLEASE let me know.  Sometimes in a classroom setting, a student is nervous about asking a question in front of others.  I will do my very best to make this as easy as possible, such as allowing students to write down their question on the board before class, turning questions in to me privately, and most importantly, never making a student feel stupid or ridiculous for asking a question.  I WILL encourage students to attempt the problem again on their own, to look at their notes and in their textbook, and to ask a peer or parent for help.  My rule of thumb is – ask three, then me.  This helps keep a classroom running smoothly and keeps us from getting bogged down with too many questions that with some extra work on the student’s part can be accomplished without my help.  I find this also helps students retain the material better as well.



Why does my child need a diagnostic assessment?

Mathematical concepts build upon each other just like a house is built.  First you need a strong foundation before you can build the walls and add siding.  Before beginning a math course, there are certain skills required for a student to excel.  If a student is to begin Algebra 1 and does not understand the concept of order of operations (a skill taught in Math Course 1), this student will struggle until the missing gaps of understanding are filled.  Making sure the necessary building blocks are in place will help a student to build confidence.  I have found confidence to be a key factor in students excelling in mathematics.  Without this component, students are unfocused, lack desire, and ultimately, struggle to learn the material.

In a class situation, it is even more critical, as individual student time is limited.  If a student is taking a course and not fully understanding the material, both time and money are being wasted.  By testing students and making sure all of the necessary building blocks of learning are in place, students will excel in a classroom setting.  Taking the time to assess students is fully worth parents time and investment when it comes to enrolling a student in a math class.