If you are a student in math class, you may have encountered the frustrating situation of having your question go unanswered. Sometimes this happens because your teacher ran out of time and did not have time to get to your question; this is easily remedied by seeking extra help from your teacher outside of class. However, you may have asked your teacher to go into more depth, but he was unwilling—or worse, unable—to do so.
If you are a parent of a struggling student, you may be concerned by seeing your student frustrated when solving problems. You may be struggling between letting your student be independent and stepping in to help. Many students are too embarrassed to seek help. If this is the case, encourage your student to seek help from their teacher or from an expert math tutor.
What can you do when you hit a roadblock in getting your child to agree that tutoring is the right way to go? There are some mental hurdles that you may need to navigate. If your child expresses embarrassment or insists ‘I can do it myself!”, mention that you have noticed that they are struggling in math and that a math specialist can give them skills to make learning easier. Reassure your children by letting them know that it is very common for students to have struggles in school in one or more subjects. Also, remind them that having a tutor is nothing to be embarrassed about and does not mean that your child is lacking in intellect. Rather, it means they need help from an expert until they understand challenging math problems themselves without getting help outside of school.
Another mental roadblock that students have is thinking that tutoring will not help them. When students have trouble in math class, they may think of all math instruction in a negative way. They may think that what they are learning in math class is irrelevant and be discouraged because they are weak in their foundations. This weakness may lead to negative self-talk and can negatively impact their motivation to take on the extra work of meeting with a math tutor. Since an expert math tutor’s role is to make learning easier (by teaching in ways that students often do not learn in class), an experienced expert tutor from MATH 1-2-3® can figure out the learning style that works best for their students.
Some students may not want to talk about school at all. Regardless, when parents schedule times to talk with their children about their challenges in math class, students may find that they feel better after expressing how they feel about math class. If your children are not agreeable to sitting down to talk with you, arranging an initial meeting that includes a parent, a child, and a prospective tutor may be helpful in making a student willing to agree to start tutoring. Apart from teaching skills, a tutor with the right personality is critical to building the rapport required for successful tutoring sessions. Students who are initially reticent to begin tutoring may have a change of mindset once they meet with an engaging, motivational math expert.
Students are sometimes overwhelmed with the prospect of adding after-school activities to their schedules. To make things less overwhelming for students, parents can remind their children that their math tutors can often teach them methods that are more efficient and easier to understand than those learned in school. Once mastered, these methods will be timesavers, so it is a good idea to reframe tutoring as an investment in saving time. Remind your children that the best part of math tutoring is the confidence they will gain, even after the first tutoring session. Let your children know before they begin tutoring that they are about to have a weight lifted off their shoulders and that they will feel happier and more relaxed after their first session.
Is your student because of lack of effort? This is a judgment call. Since you know you children better than anyone else does, you can decide whether or not to encourage your children to put in more time. If your children have always struggled in math, they may avoid making a strong effort to complete their assignments. Students who hit a math roadblock for the first time might try to blame their poor performance on their math teacher. Students who face math challenges for the first time may lose confidence in their abilities and then not try as hard as they should. Is your student making excuses by blaming the teacher? Or is the teacher to blame?
If a student is spending one to two hours to complete each homework assignment (not a project, but a regular assignment), that is a red flag that the student may not be working in an efficient way. Sometimes a teacher might teach in a way that has a lot of small steps. These steps may be necessary for very weak students, but not for your more advanced students. These steps may actually be necessary because the topic is new, and students really need the details to gain an initial grasp of a topic. However, it is possible that the teacher is only able to explain the concept in one way. Some teachers get mad when students ask questions or ask them to explain a concept a different way. It is confusing to some teachers (as if you had taken a telemarketer off the script). Teachers sometimes merely repeat the previous explanation, erroneously thinking that the student (due to not listening) needed a restatement. In fact, the student needed it explained in a different way. Some teachers are unwilling, or unable, to explain a concept in more than one way. When this happens, students need an expert math tutor to step in.
Even if your student is a strong student, there is no shame in getting help. Even top students need a strong coach. Even “A” and “B” students might be working in an inefficient manner to get correct answers. The result is taking longer on homework and struggling to finish in-school tests and standardized tests on time. Students who work inefficiently tend to score lower on tests. Expert math tutors are available to help students increase their understanding of math concepts and mental math strategies. This greater understanding results in higher confidence and higher test scores. Students who need expert private home math tutoring in the New York City area or in Connecticut can get help in the following subjects: New York State Regents Exams (Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II), SAT, SAT II (Math Level 1 and Level 2 Subject Tests), SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, GRE, GMAT, GED, ACT, CFA (Charted Financial Analyst), IB (International Baccalaureate) Mathematics, Pre-algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Probability & Statistics, Precalculus and Calculus, AP Calculus Exams (AB and BC), All math levels (Elementary – College), and Mental Math Shortcuts (MMS™). For students in any location who need online math tutoring, distance learning is available by Zoom and document camera. When a tutor uses a document camera, a student can see notes on a page just as clearly as if the session were in person. Expert math tutoring from a math specialist from distance learning is convenient for the student and the tutor. It is also great for last minute review sessions the night before a test that would otherwise be difficult, or impossible, to schedule.
Remind your students that it is not necessarily their teacher’s fault that instruction is confusing. Many teachers are excellent and still lack the ability to reach their students. Some teachers (who may be exceptionally talented) are required by their schools to teach a non-traditional math curriculum that is difficult to understand. This does not imply that the teacher is per sé, difficult to understand. Examples include TERC Investigations and Everyday Math. A common criticism from parents and teachers is that TERC requires so many steps that students become frustrated by a long and tedious process. One common criticism about Everyday Math is that students are encouraged at an early age to use their calculators and become calculator-dependent and fail to master the foundations they need that are critical to success when they take higher level math courses. When students learn Everyday Math at an early age, they sometimes find themselves playing catch up when they take higher level math courses. Everyday Math students often lack automatic recall of essential math facts like times tables, and this causes them to struggle in Algebra class when trying to quickly factor quadratic expressions. Unfortunately, this factoring struggle results in taking longer to complete homework assignments. Students often lack required skills and have trouble finishing their tests on time. The result is that students often end up with low test scores and as a result suffer lower confidence in their math abilities. Many students erroneously think that they are naturally “dumb in math” and give up. Fortunately, this is entirely unnecessary. Regardless of your student’s teacher, natural ability, learning style, or challenging curriculum, expert math tutors are available to reach your student. Call 1-888-MATH-123 to help your students reach their potential.