How to Succeed in Ms. Davis’ Classes

First, I wish to state that it is my heartfelt desire that every student be successful in my classes.  Why would any teacher want otherwise for his or her students?  It is much more enjoyable and fulfilling as a teacher to have bright, motivated students who participate in class, do well on exams, and complete interesting work.  So believe me, I want my students to succeed and to find my class worthwhile.
To some, my class may appear difficult and demanding at times.  But I structure the courses and my energy in such a way as to enable anyone who is dedicated and hard working to learn a great deal and to receive a desirable grade.  To help you succeed, read my suggestions below and follow them.

  1. Attend Class: It is absolutely crucial for students to attend class every day, or at least to miss as few classes as possible.  If you miss more than a couple of days, I can guarantee that your grade will suffer.  If you miss a class, by all means plan a time to make up your work, if not at home then before school, at lunch, or after school. Do this right away; do not wait until the last minute before a deadline.
  2. Use the Class Website: I spend a lot of time putting together a comprehensive course website for each class I teach. The website contains my contact information, how your final grade will be calculated, quiz and test dates, all assignments, textbook readings, and my policies regarding absences, missed exams, and late assignments. The course syllabus is my official "contract" with you outlining my responsibilities to you and your responsibilities to me. Read it at the beginning of the semester and refer to it often. This way you can anticipate what's coming next and keep on top of the course. Every quarter, I have students tell me "I didn't know there was a quiz Wednesday!" I'm not going to be sympathetic to someone who never looks at the course website.
  3. Focus and Work Hard in Class: You will not normally have homework in this class if you are using your class time wisely.
  4. Student Responsibilities: Be willing to work hard and be proactive regarding your performance.  Please understand that your final grade, as well as your grades on quizzes, exams, personal assignments, etc., are your responsibility.  To succeed in this course, you must work and, on occasion, work hard.  I am more than willing to help students develop a firm understanding of course material and assignments.  But before coming to me, you must try to develop understandings on your own.  Accept that you may have to struggle occasionally to learn and to complete assignments.  This is how you take responsibility and become proactive regarding your progress and any problems you might have.  If, after giving the matter a real effort, you are still having problems, then come and see me. I can assure you that we will work together to solve any problems you might have.
  5. Don't Wait Until the Last Minute: If you are having problems, come and see me sooner rather than later.  Not only will there be more time to rectify problems, but you will also demonstrate to me that you are being proactive regarding your progress and that you wish to solve any problems you might have (rather than have me solve them for you).
  6. Have a Good Attitude: Students sometimes tell me that they hate computers. It's a waste of time to tell me this. First of all, I have no sympathy because I can't even comprehend how someone could hate learning something as interesting and relevant to our modern world. Secondly, you're setting yourself up for failure. Psychologists tell us that repeating something negative to ourselves over and over (I can’t do math) will make it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The good news is that taking a positive attitude (This material is interesting and I can learn it!) will have the opposite effect and help you to succeed.