Ok, I must confess the title of this post should be, “things to avoid to ace your math class!” but I purposely titled the post to grab your attention as what I’m going to talk about is important! Students can fail a math course for a variety of reasons however too many students sabotage their grade by not doing the basics in class. I can tell you from years and years of teaching that most (if not all) teachers would totally agree with my list- it’s just common sense..
However, like most things in life, the simple things we need to do to take care of ourselves are often not the easiest things. Now before I get into my list I want to state right up front that students can do all the right thing in a class but have a poor teacher- this could result in failing a class. Moreover a student can be in the wrong placement or learning environment- this could also cause a student to fail a course. Nevertheless, from my experience when a student fails a math course one or more of the below factors were at play. So join me in looking over the steps a student should take if they really want to fail a math course (sense of humor please).
1. Don’t Listen to The Teacher
Oh yes if you want to fail your math class just tune your teacher out. Some students think they listen to their teacher but in actuality they are only partially listening to the teacher. A teacher wants you to pass their course- they look bad if they have a student fail their class. As such teachers are constantly communicating a lot of valuable information that is aimed at getting students to pass the course. So if you stop listening to your teacher even if for a little bit you run the risk of not picking up all the hints and tips to succeed in class. Just remember this: the better you focus on what the teacher says the more of an advantage you will have on tests, exams, quizzes and projects.
2. Don’t Take Notes
Maybe I should entitled this reason is as don’t take good notes. Most students will have some form of notes but those students that have poor or no notes will have a very hard time on tests. Unless your child has a perfect 100% photographic memory they need to work hard at note taking. Yes good note taking requires work but the effort will pay off huge when they go to study for exams- likewise those students that try to study poor notes for an exam will likely not do well at all especially in more advance math courses.
3 . Don’t Do Your Homework
Homework, what every child loves to do…LOL! The basic rule with homework is a student can mess up a little here and there on assignments and still do fine in a math course. However if your child chronically doesn’t do homework or doesn’t finish all the problems on their homework their grades will likely not be great. Many teachers grade homework moreover homework is essentially practicing for exams- so if you blow off homework you will be taking a double hit, not good.
4. Don’t Study For Tests
Now this seems obvious students should study for tests to do well. But what I’m talking about is really studying hard and smart for an exam. From my experience a student in middle school/high school should study at least 1.5 hours for a major exam and this is assuming they have done well on their homework and practice. Those students that struggle with a topic and have an exam coming up need to start studying days in advance and be asking for extra help from their teacher BEFORE the exam. In the end those students that put a lot of effort in studying will usually see good results on tests.
5. Disrupt Class
Student love to talk in class- who would have guessed! Light chatting in class is normal and acceptable. However those students that are ALWAYS talking in class when the teacher is teaching are doing themselves no favor. Students that get on a teachers “bad side” for constantly disrupting class will not get “extra compassion” when it comes to grades. Constructing a grade is somewhat subjective and I can tell you that teachers often will not go the extra mile to help those students that have not behaved- what I mean is they will not allow for creative make up work to raise low grades or prevent failing.
6. Don’t Panic When You Fall Behind
Ok you failed the last test, no big deal as I can do well on the next test- WRONG! If a student fails any test they need to be aggressive and get the problem fixed ASAP. Trust me failures have momentum and if your child failed a test or falls behind you need to act urgently to fix the situation as failures often lead to more and more failures.
Well this concludes my list. I hope this post gave you a moment of pause so you can reflect on how your child is doing in their courses- are they making any of these errors? From my experience if a student can keep themselves from not making these mistakes they will pass a class even if by a 70%. Remember to be successful in school students need to have academic management skills. So if your child is already doing all the right things in class make sure to highlight that success with them- that’s a big sign of maturity! Of course don’t be overly depressed if your child is weak any one area. The key is to identify the reason they are struggling in their course and help them to improve, make progress and remain focused on passing their class (hopefully with flying colors).