Frequently Asked Questions
1. When can I come in for help?
I have an all day, open door policy. Students should always feel to come in for help whenever they want. Of course, sometimes I might be busy or have a meeting to get to, but even then I'm usually able to take a few minutes to help a student. However, after school is usually best to get help when things are a little less hectic. If a students wants, he/she can set up an appointment with me to make sure I'll be able to give full attention. (FYI: I get in every day no later than 6:30 AM and am usually around for an hour or two every day except Fridays.)
2. What do I do if I'm absent?
I have a special web page just for this question, found HERE!
3. Why don't you offer extra credit?
Student's are expected to learn and understand the specific ideas and concepts for this course. Extra credit is like saying you want something else for dinner. Sorry, but our menu will not be changed. However, if you hope for extra points, please know that on nearly every test and quiz there will be bonus point questions. Try to set your sight on these points by learning the current material to the best of your ability!
4. What careers are available in chemistry?
Great question! Please take a look HERE!
5. Everyone seems to understand the material we cover in class so much easier than I do. Am I dumb?
Hardly. However, chemistry does take some getting used to, much like learning a new language. Please don't be too hard on yourself, just realize that you simply need to roll up your sleeves and study a bit more than perhaps you are used to. Come in for help whenever you like, or just come in to have a quiet place to study and practice.
And as for "everyone" understanding the material but you, I doubt that is actually the case, although it may feel like it a times. However, please know that almost all students who do well in this class are those that stay on top of their homework, ask questions and get help when needed. They understand the material and do well because they do the work needed and stay on top of their assignments.
6. I used to really like science and was a straight "A" student, now it looks like this chemistry class may change all that. But I'm doing the same things I've always done! What's going on???
The amount of effort needed to be successful in chemistry is often a bit of shock for many students. Unfortunately, the time and effort that once may have easily earned you an "A" likely won't be enough to be successful in our class. In fact, It is quite common for students to get their first "B" or "C" (or worse) in chemistry, but this is most likely because they are still trying to get by without putting in the time and effort needed. Funny how everyone knows if you want to get better at a sport, you need to really work at it. Well, the same is true for difficult classes. You practice, practice, practice! Did you do all your homework? Great! But could you do it again without looking at your text or notes? If not, you need to practice more! Just like a sport, you need to practice until you own it.
7. I study really hard for your tests, but never do very well. What am I doing wrong?
When a student tells me this I almost always come to find that they had spent nearly all their time only looking over their notes and homework, which is great, but it's only the beginning of what needs to be done to get ready for our tests. To really prepare for a chemistry test, you need to actually do chemistry problems - do them over and over again until you've mastered each one. And since the problems on the test are almost exactly like those we've done in class or seen in various practice assignments, there will never be any surprises waiting for you on exam day - that is, if you really did and understood them!
1. How can I best help my student be successful in chemistry?The most important thing a you can do is to make sure that your student stays on top of his or her homework. Don't just ask if it is done, ask to actually see it. You don't need to understand the assignment to check that it is complete and thoughtfully done. If your student says he/she does not understand some of the homework and that is why it is not done, please insist that he/she come in for help that very next morning.
2. How often do you give homework?
Every day, really. Whether it's a worksheet, a reading assignment from our text, a lab report to finish-up, or just something we started in class that needs to be completed, there will nearly always be something students should be working on. If your student consistently says he or she doesn't have any chemistry homework, I can guarantee you this is NOT the case! Please remember you can always check our online assignment calendar from the drop-down menus above to find homework assignments.
3. When can my student come in for help?
Students should always feel to come in for help whenever they want. Of course, sometimes I might be busy or have a meeting to get to, but even then I'm usually able to take a few minutes to help a student. However, after school is usually best to get help when things are a little less hectic. If a students wants, he/she can set up an appointment with me to make sure I'll be able to give full attention. (FYI: I get in every day no later than 6:30 AM and am usually around for an hour or two every day except Fridays.)
4. We will be going on a family vacation this semester and will be gone for a few weeks. Will this be a problem?
Good lord, yes! It will be a HUGE problem!!! It is a rare student who can miss this much instruction without it affecting his or her grade. If at all possible, I STRONGLY suggest you find some way to take your vacation during normal school breaks. However, if there is really no way around it, please have your student talk with me a few weeks beforehand to give me a chance to put together a packet of assignments and text sections to read.
5. Why is my student doing so poorly in your class?
In almost every case, the answer to this is simply that the student is not practicing enough. Sure, they go to class, even do all the homework, but that doesn’t mean they have mastered the topics at hand. The question to ask your student is not if they did all the work, but could they do it again without looking at their notes. If the answer is no... well, they need to keep practicing! And once again, I’m always around before and after school for students to get help.
6. My student says he/she understands the material in class and on the homework, but that the test are completely different. Is this true?
If only I had a nickel for every time I've heard this! No, it is absolutely not true. I always write my tests with questions and problems that are almost EXACTLY like those students have seen over and over again on class assignments.
7. My student used to love science... What have you done???
Well, I certainly hate to hear this! Chemistry is such a fun and fascinating subject to teach, one that I try hard to get my students excited about. Most of my students seem to really enjoy my classes. However, some students do wander into chemistry thinking that they can get by on their smarts alone and that they will not really need to do much work. Often these are students who have not yet taken a class that really challenges their abilities.
When reality begins to kick in after a few poor test scores and a plummeting grade, students can begin to resent everything about this class and announce that they just don't like science anymore. But, of course, this is just a rationalization to explain away their poor performance. When I see this happening - and I have developed a pretty good eye for this over the years - I try very hard to work as closely as possible with the student and give them multiple opportunities to turn things around, hoping that together we can not just improve their grade, but rekindle that love of science. To this end, PLEASE encourage your student to come in for help whenever needed.
8. My student says they have tried to get help from you, but that you are never around. Is this really true?
No, not at all. I get in no later than 6:30 AM every morning and am usually around until 4-5 PM after school. I'm forever telling students to come in for help whenever they need it. So, if your student is telling you that I'm not around for help, he/she is… well, lying!
9. What science should my student take after this class?
Please take a look HERE for the science course we offer and the suggested sequence.