It's okay to hate trig. Really.
I remember going to high school in Vinita, Oklahoma. As a junior I had to face trigonometry. Now, I didn't mind Algebra or Algebra II, and I didn't mind Geometry. Actually, my senior year I took calculus and I (sort of) enjoyed that as well. But I always struggled with trig.
I can remember sitting in Janet Comb's classroom and thinking to myself, "When am I ever going to use this?" I thought of myself as a business major. I was headed for a business degree, not seeking an advanced math degree. There was no situation I could think of in my business endeavors that would require trigonometry.
Your student may be facing a similar problem in their classroom today. "Why do I have to know this? When will I use this? I'm going to be ________ ; I'll never need to use this subject!" It might be hard to get them to take the time to do homework and study for tests because they're frustrated (like I was) about not using the subject they are currently learning. Let's face it: you've probably been in the same situation yourself.
Here's what I know: One of the ways we can help our students be successful in the classes that they neither enjoy, understand, or find relevant is to remind them of their end goal.
Stephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, reminds us that it's incredibly important to begin with the end in mind. For your students, this class is a means to an end. Trigonometry is not an end of itself. It leads to getting good grades, to graduating high school, to getting good scores on the ACT, to gaining good scholarship money...the list goes on and on. This helps them prepare for success in college and even after to gain the career of their dreams.
I have never been a mathmetician. I doubt that many of you are either. Trigonometry, however, was part of my journey. That journey demanded that I do well. Your student is on this same journey also, and success is right around the corner.
At Class101, we always encourage our students to begin with the end in mind. They begin with their dreams and what they want to do with their career and how they want their life to be. Sometimes it can be vague and they learn to describe what it means to be successful. It doesn't have to be concrete, but that practice helps connect the dots - from a frustrating trig class to success in life.
My question for you is simple: How can you help your student connect the dots? As parents we've done this their entire lives, whether in an activity book on a park bench, or helping them take their first steps. We constantly show them where the next dot could be and why it's important to keep going. This continues even now. We help our students in high school connect the dots to their future. It's not just any future, but their dream future. That's what Class 101 is all about.