A student's willingness and ability to use certain skills is key to success in my classroom and in life. If your teen is only motivated by rewards and punishments, they will have a VERY difficult time motivating themselves in my classroom. They need something larger than a "grade" to help them motivate and focus in my class. (becoming an educated adult that doesn't need to rely on others should be something that springs to mind).
The most important skills your teen will need to use every day: Intrinsic motivation and the ability to delay gratification are the biggest things your teen needs to succeed in school and in his or her future. If they have been raised through only rewards and punishments (extrinsic motivation), not through logical reasoning and reflection, then this is a student I will have concerns about. The ability to focus his/her attention to class lessons is also key to learning and high grades.
I structure my classroom in a way that education and learning is the main motivator, so rest assured, your teen will have constant opportunities to build the skills needed to gain success.
Your teen needs to join our class Edmodo group for all teacher/student communications. They were given a code to join on the first day of school. They should check this frequently and get alerts sent to their phone or email address. Edmodo is like "Facebook" for students. They also should be getting homework reminders via Remind 101.
Parents, you should check the syllabus sent home on the first day of class to see my google voice phone number. You can text or call me using that number. I also should have your email from the parent sign off sheet you will send back the first week of school. If you did not get this info, ask your teen! They have it.
I encourage parental involvement at all levels and can conference with you anytime. I expect that my students and parents know how to take responsibility for academic success in my class by using PowerSchool online grading to follow their academic progress, checking this website for missed assignments or to review anything they didn't fully understand that day in class. EVERYTHING is posted on my website.
Parents, if you are unfamiliar with this system, a good video tutorial is found here. To get this account access, either sit down with your teen and ask for them to login (if they tell you they don't know their password, tell them that is unacceptable...I can reset it for them anytime.
With you and your teen (and my help) putting forth his or her best effort AND their ability to self advocate (ASK!) for what they need and want...your child WILL succeed in my class! The two skills I have very little control over for your teen is their ability to focus and their willingness to self-motivate. They MUST take personal responsibility for educating themselves by improving these vital skills.
Using the reading skills they have been taught throughout their school years is a must...as social studies courses are intensive in reading AND thinking! I actively try to enhance their internal motivation, and have my class setup in a way that I believe will promote the love of learning, in addition to teaching them the state curriculum.
If a student is absent a day, it is THEIR responsibility to check the calendar online and review or download any work they missed. Even students without a computer at home are expected to visit the Media Center, public library, or if needed use computers in my classroom during their free time. Your taxes pay for this, so they should use them if needed!