Getting Past the Fear of DBAs

DBAIf discussion-based assessments make you nervous, check out these tips from FLVS students on mastering the DBA!

DBAs are verbal assessments and are often the most dreaded assignments for FLVS students. Instead of comfortably typing essays and worksheets on their laptops, students communicate with an instructor one-on-one over the phone.

But why is this so terrifying? Surely the verbal component of the DBA is not intimidating, especially when the assignments are approached by the instructor as a conversation instead of an oral exam.

However, if you compare talking on the phone for twenty minutes to being the only student called on to answer random questions for 20 minutes in a classroom, you can see why students are reluctant to dial their instructors’ numbers.

Fortunately, garnering the courage to call an instructor is not an impossible feat.

First, tailor your view of the assignment and focus on the positive aspects: DBAs are meant to test your knowledge, not scare you. After all, your teacher values your education, not necessarily your ability to recall memorized facts. He or she will help you through certain questions – not make you struggle through them. Also, teachers use DBAs as a way of gauging your knowledge so they can help you “fill in the cracks” of your education. Don’t look at it as a terrifying phone call that is meant to make you feel incompetent; picture it as a learning experience!

Also, keep in mind that DBAs are not one-sided conversations. They aren’t the equivalent of a multiple choice test. This means that you can use this time to ask your teachers questions as well. If you are ever unsure about something, a few minutes on the phone can save you hours of recorded lessons. Use this one-on-one time to your advantage and ask as many questions about the material as you want of your instructor.

If you dread DBAs, never knowing what questions may be asked, and not knowing what to study for, here are our top pointers.

These tips should help you survive your DBA – and hopefully improve your score as well.

1. Look through your module and decide what topics are most important.
2. Review the entire module carefully.
3. Study the topics in the module which you struggled with most.
4. Brace yourself when your teacher answers the phone. Who wants to talk with butterflies in their stomach?
5. Make a mini study guide from your notes to study, and highlight the major themes of the module.
6. Never be afraid to ask your teacher questions beforehand – they want to see you succeed!

Remember that DBAs are no different from regular activities – in fact, after an entire module, DBAs simply act as a review.

Hopefully you are now better prepared to tackle those pesky DBAs, and perhaps see them as a little less troublesome.

Remember, your personalized, quality learning experience is just a phone call away. Know your stuff and you’ll do great!

Post adapted from articles published in the FLVS student newspaper, News in a Click
“The DBA Debacle” by students Dylan Sexton, Kelsey Gulick, Hannah Fishbough, and Emily Smith

“Getting Past the Fear of DBAs” by Samantha Morris



104 comments on “Getting Past the Fear of DBAs

  1. Mrs. Osborn

    This is a great article! I often tell my English III students that my job is to help them review for the final and move that information from their short-term to long-term memory. Without regular review, all that learning is lost! Thanks for helpful hints for our students to master the DBA. 🙂

    Reply
        1. Brooke

          Me too in Spanish i did every assignment and i was left with the DBAS they happen to be very easy and your teacher or at least my teacher helps me when i mess up but i have different experiences with my other spanish teacher .

          Reply
          1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

            Your teachers are there to help if you need them! Even if it’s a little awkward, they are willing to help you whenever you get stuck. Just let them know if you’re confused or unsure about a question – or even if you just plain can’t remember. We’ve all been there! 🙂

  2. Aaliyah

    Very helpful article! I definitely hold off my DBA’s for as long as possible because I’m always so nervous! :3

    Reply
  3. Jack

    I hate the idea of DBAs but I understand why they’re there. I still dread them though and I hate that I can’t actually see the person I’m speaking to.

    Reply
      1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

        For those students who feel more comfortable seeing their teacher, using video in Elluminate (Blackboard Collaborate) like teachers do for Live Lessons or a similar tool should be possible! Talk to your instructor about other options!

        Reply
  4. Master TT

    Although I am not scared of DBA’s I still think that most teachers take off points for the most smallest detail of the module

    Reply
  5. Joy

    This article was a little helpful. I still do not understand the purpose of the DBA , if we take a review/practice test before and after the module . Why are we required or having to do the DBA? I feel as if its putting more pressure on the student(s) than there should actually be . I am one of those students who will procrastinate at something if i am not willing to do it , and the DBA/phone calls with my teacher is one of them.

    -Joy Rich-Bond

    Reply
    1. Acelyne godshall

      I am so with you! I struggle with a anxiety anf being put on the spot all the information leaves my head. Then teachers think i do not know the information but i do! It is really terrifying and i shake and cant stop thinking about them if i know i have them that day:(

      Reply
      1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

        If you (or other students) are still struggling with anxiety over DBAs, send your teacher a text or email to let them know. They can make accommodations or make it a point to give you the extra time or help you need. It’s natural to be a little nervous before any exam, so they understand!

        Reply
  6. Skylar

    As someone who suffers from anxiety (with phone calls being the strongest trigger of it), DBA’s are, for lack of a better word, terrifying for me. I understand the purpose for these on-the-spot quizzes, but feel there should be an alternate assignment for those of us who are literally on the brink of tears whenever we have a DBA coming up and spend at least an hour going through all the worst possible outcomes of these calls as we frantically study an ENTIRE MODULE with very little direction. DBA study guides that we are provided with are usually practically useless, in my experience. Perhaps a live lesson session could serve as an alternative to DBA’s.
    However, I do understand that phone calls are a good way for teachers to connect with students on a better personal level. I actually do find the teachers to be kind, helpful, and enjoyable to speak with if there wasn’t the added stress of feeling unprepared and fearing that I studied all the wrong things. At the very least, it seems fair to narrow down the subjects that will be covered during the DBA, which some teachers do. When I know specifically what to be prepared for, it alleviates most of the nerves. I know the teachers are there to help, and I know they want us to succeed. But no matter how many times I tell myself that, and no matter how many successful DBA’s I have, they will always be my only source of stress and anxiety regarding online schooling.
    I know I am not the only one who feels this way, and I assume the kind staff of FLVS are aware of that, or they would not have taken the time to write this article in an attempt to calm and assist us. However, I am afraid that as long as DBA’s exist in their current form, students will always procrastinate them and be afraid of them. Sorry for being so long-winded, but this is something that has been on my mind for the past 4 years of taking online classes through FLVS. I thoroughly enjoy your courses; the assignments, for the most part, are intriguing and enjoyable, so please take the time to polish the DBA system to make it at the very least, more tolerable for students.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Live lesson sessions are now an option! For any other students who prefer an alternative to talking on the phone, talk to your teacher. If you think you’d be more comfortable answering questions following another format, they can offer a different solution.

      Reply
    2. Hailey L.

      DBA’s are just verbal tests that show your teacher what you know. Try your best and study hard. Take notes in your lessons. Think of it as a regular test, accept you speak in this one. This should be a little more relaxing than an actual test. You can always reschedule this one too, so you can have a second chance to look at notes. Write down passwords and which class they belong to. That will help. You can do it. Don’t overthink it. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Nira

    One thing that helps me through the DBA’s is knowing that if I fail, it isn’t the end of the world. I can always reschedule and try again. It also makes me feel better when a teacher explains things to me instead of just lowering my grade. I’ve had a few teachers who ask a question, wait for an answer, and don’t really make conversation, so its nerve-wrecking and awkward. But I do appreciate the teachers who really try to help. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    I literally had an asthma attack during my DBA I never feel as terrified as to DBA’S and a lot of times I keep hearing my teachers sigh through the phone as I am trying to answer a question and my confidence level drains all the way down. I complete all study guides and study very well yet they seem to always never ask what is in the study guide but rather their own almost like word question type of questions I hate it , we all hate it, take it out. My Geometry teacher has done Live Lesson DBA’s and I felt 1000 times better. PLEASE RE CONSIDER YOUR DBA SYSTEM FLVS .

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      We’re glad your Geometry teacher was able to make things easier through live lessons. Maybe your other teachers would be willing to do something similar? Let them know you’re stressed and want to be as well-prepared as possible. Teachers really just want to make sure you know the material, but they may also be able to make accommodations so you aren’t as stressed.

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    2. Jade

      My teacher tends to sigh a lot too and it also makes my confidence drain. This just makes me nervous and more stressed. My teacher also tries to rush me and barely gives me time to think about how to answer. She always goes, “Hello?? Hello????” And I have to continue to repeat that i’m still working and that makes me feel slow and incompetent.

      Reply
      1. Julissa

        Mine does too and it is harder to concentrate when there are outside noises. I had to close my room door just so I could try to hear my instructor, but sometimes I don’t understand her. Then the next thing I know they will be like “Okay lets just skip to the next question.” And I like to take my time on stuff like this, especially talking to someone I physically do not know at all. But also, when I was about to ask them a question, they suddenly said “Okay go back and go through the module again, then call me back later.” And I was so confused and said “Okay” but she already hung up, so now I am frustrated and I feel as though I am not smart enough to know these questions and answer them correctly.

        Reply
        1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

          We can see how this would be frustrating! If you’re in an environment that makes it hard to pay attention and you need to move to a new location (or maybe even reschedule your DBA), don’t be afraid to tell your teacher! It can be easy to get distracted and sometimes things happen. If you’re having a hard time hearing the teacher in general, tell them that too. Then the teacher can make sure that he or she is speaking clearly or that the phone’s mic is working properly. Once in awhile, teachers may just not realize that you didn’t get the time you needed or that you weren’t feeling supported. Don’t hesitate to drop them an email afterward to let them know you felt a little frustrated or that you got nervous or wanted more time to answer. Then next time they can be sure to give you the time you need. Communication can go a long way! If you’re feeling like your DBAs are always rushed or you’re frustrated with the way a specific teacher handles them, you can always reach out to the Principal/Instructional Leader to share this feedback. We hope this helps!

          Reply
  9. Alexis

    DBA’s do seem to cause a lot of anxiety for students, and do not seem as helpful as they may be harmful. From personal experience, I dreaded all my DBA’s and wished that there was an alternative.

    Reply
  10. Sarah

    I am approaching my first DBA which will be in my Life Management Skills Class. I am sooo nervous!! I’ve never taken online school before, and I’m only doing it now so I can take a different elective instead of Health next year. How should I prepare for a DBA? I am really scared (and clueless).

    Reply
  11. Sarah

    I have my first FLVS DBA coming up and I’m so nervous! I feel like I don’t know the material well at all, and I know I’m going to be up all night the day before studying (the class is Honors World History).

    Reply
  12. Trish

    I have finished every single assignment in my Parenting skills class except for the Mid-term, the DBA before it, the final exam, and the DBA before that. The only thing holding me back from finishing my class is these pesky DBA’s, and I’ve been putting them off so much that its now the summer and its even harder to motivate myself to tackle them. As yet another student drawn to this article because of social anxiety, I agree that the DBAs should at least have an alternative of some sort. I actually thought about telling my teacher I had physically lost my voice in order to try and get an alternative…

    Reply
  13. Hanna Binnicker

    I am currently a senior and I have been taking FLVS classes since the start of my seventh grade year. Throughout my time I have had almost nothing but great experiences. With that being said discussion based assessments are the primary reason I would quit taking online classes, due how nervous they make me. If the purpose of discussion based assessments are to make sure that students are ready for the upcoming test why can’t the format be changed since so many students are complaining about it. My suggestion is that students are required to take a review test worth a small amount of points, and if they score below a certain amount on it they are required to schedule a DBA in order to ensure readiness.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Thanks for the suggestion Hanna! DBAs are one of the ways we ensure academic integrity (and make sure that it’s actually you doing the work). This means teachers still need to hear directly from you! Do you think you might be more comfortable if it was done through a live lesson or a video call instead of over the phone?

      Reply
      1. Leah

        I would feel more comfortable doing a live lesson rather than a DBA. I hate talking on the phone even if it is to people I know and it really stresses me out.

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      2. Hope Gratzer

        Yes, yes, yes! I have noticed a lot of other people said that they would prefer that. Personally, I like live lessons myself. I like to work at a fast pace because I had a surgery that caused me to fall behind in public school so I switched to flvs. Unfortunately, these DBAs leave me studying for hours on end to get a good grade and I’m most likely switching back to public school because of them.

        Reply
  14. Lyric

    I hate DBAs im not going to lie. I secretly do love learning all the stuff I do from online classes and I’ll do assignment after assignment no big deal. But I’ll procrastinate an entire day when I have to do DBAs I get so nervous, even if I do well on all the tests and reviews I end up forgetting everything. It’s like the test anxiety I get at my actual school. I do wish there was an alternative where I could learn rather than answer on the spot questions. That would be a lot less stressful.

    Reply
  15. Daisha Holmes

    No if it were video chat that would be even worse for me! I have a back to back DBA in History and overtime I talk to my teacher I say umm and freeze and don’t say anything and I’m not a shy person at ally in general I love talking but for some reason it’s weird idk my teacher so I don’t know how to react he is a good teacher but that doesn’t help my anxiety!!!

    Reply
  16. maria

    Well i have a DBA in like 2hours for physical science and i am so scared. I always get nervous doing these oral exams. I remember having to drop out of a class and get withdrawn from another because i would always try to avoid the DBA’S. If it were face to face i would’ve never done flvs. I love talking and I’m not that shy but when it comes to a teacher asking you questions i panic.

    Reply
  17. Samy

    I am a student, and each summer I take a FLVS class and the DBAs are literally the worst. I am a social person and I love talking to literally anyone, however, the pressure that is put on me and other students makes you not want to even complete the course or the assignment left and it gets to the point where I dread logging on. If the point is to enforce the skills and make sure the students are understanding then there are better ways to accomplish this task. Having to let the stress build up for a 25 minute conversation about a whole chapter seems outdated and not effective, considering my personally experiences.

    Reply
  18. jasmin q.

    i have a question i took this course when it was summer and i just finished middle school and I’m in high school and i take algebra 1 but in the online course I’m taking pre-algebra can i just drop out of the course since i don’t need it? I’m not done yet but can i do that?????? thx.

    Reply
  19. Ash

    I just got done with a DBA, mind you I didn’t finish it because my teacher was crammed with students that needed to take them. I got through the first question and she had to let me go. Which I am fine with. I hate DBAs. I take forever to answer the question because I am trying to write them down to understand it better, taking a foreign language by the way, since I can read it better than hear it. I do decently in the class but then I almost break down over DBAs. I know that a live session or an in person DBA would be even worse because then I would be more stressed seeing their eyes on me the whole time. Learning a language is super hard for me, I end up with major headaches on some assignments and if this is the kind of stress that is going to be put on me through the whole class, I am nearly tempted to quit. That would mean quitting on my dream to become a vet since the university I am going to requires two years of a foreign language. Why? I have no idea.

    Reply
  20. B

    I’m new to Flvs and I had my very first DBA today and it was for algebra 2 and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know the first question and didn’t understand the second question. Then they asked me if I read the lesson or just skimmed through it and it felt like they were accusing me of not reading the lesson. By that time my voice was shaky because I was trying to hold back tears. When we ended the call I bursts into tears. Eventually I calmed my self down. Then later today I was thinking about my DBA tomorrow for chemistry, I bursts into tears again, freaking out telling myself that I can’t over and over again. I have an IEP that states that I get extra time on work and tests but there’s no way I can get extra time on DBAs. I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to do DBAs with out bursting into tears. And I can’t go back to public school because I travel to much for dance. I’m tearing again right now just thinking about my DBA tomorrow.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Oh no, that’s no good! 🙁 We want you to feel supported and encouraged by your teachers, so maybe we can help. Please reach out to us so we can talk a little bit more about this! Send us a message on Facebook or Twitter or email socialmedia@flvs.net.

      Reply
  21. Kat

    I’m glad there’s other people out there who feel the same way about DBAs! I think there should be alternative assignments for students who struggle with doing the phone calls. Please consider this!

    Reply
  22. Student.

    No matter what people say, I believe DBAs will always be scary. FLVS should have REAL DBA study guides for students who struggle with anxiety, nervousness and etc. (even just for regular students). It should include around 10 questions the teacher might ask and the student can prepare on those topics before talking to their teacher. I find it funny after reading all these comments how FLVS has still not made any changes with DBA to help the students who actually have serious problems. The concept of DBAs is reasonable, but please consider study guides with questions the teachers may ask, seriously.

    Reply
  23. Amaris

    I’m a VERY VERY shy person so DBAs are like going on a 9000000000 ft. tall rollercoaster! But, this helped calm my nerves down for my DBA today.

    Reply
  24. Ashley Zaldivar

    After reading these comments, I feel a little better knowing am not the only one that goes through this. But I highly recommend that flvs changes DBA’s to live lessons. It would be such a great way to help students learn and relieve stress. Please flvs!! I am a freshman who started my first year of homeschooling and I want to go back to school . We should find a way to make it comfortable for everyone.

    Reply
  25. Sophia

    I hate hate hate DBA’s I have had anxiety attacks over them. I have one today that I have been putting off for a long time. I have never done a DBA live. How does it work and why do you like them better/ don’t like them?

    Reply
  26. Sami

    After reading these comments, I no longer feel like I am the only one who dislikes DBA’s. I have a French 2 DBA ina couple minutes. In my opinion, there is so many ways this can be revised and bettered. For example, a study guide of the possible questions that may be asked would ease my, and everyone else’s anxiety. This is my second year doing FLVS, and DBA’s are my biggest nightmare.Last year I was able to do live lessons for my French DBA’s and I felt I learned easier and got more enjoyment from the subjects, because I didn’t have the stress of a DBA. I complain to my parents and friends about having to do them, because it will be an all-day stress. I do understand the academic integrity involved. But, live lessons or even a study guide would help tremendously.

    Reply
  27. Harley

    Ugh and just finished my last DBA well not really? I answered all the questions to best ability, so of them were personal ones about my family and my achievements? Its a parenting skills class and I need to take flvs to graduate. I have horrible anxiety and really tried, but my teacher wouldn’t give me my exam password, until she talks to my dad because she feels my on the spot answers were different from the ones I wrote down. I dont know how anyone could remember everything exactly on the spot? Or even give the same information when you haven’t even looked at the module in weeks because you’ve been procrastinating about the dbas. I wish there was a simple written alternative, instead.

    Reply
  28. Mandy

    How is a voice on the phone proof of academic integrity when it could be anyone? A friend taking a similar class at public school willing to do them a favor, for example.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Teachers will be referencing the work you have done and speaking to students (and parents) multiple times throughout the course, so there is a common thread of communication that helps teachers connect a face (or voice) to the same student they see (or hear) in live lessons and through submitted work.

      Reply
  29. dana

    i would rather be dropped to be honest the only reason i complete them is because they end up calling my parents. i love learning just not talking on the phone or talking to people which is why im in online classes.

    Reply
  30. Cassie

    A little late to the party, but I just wanted to say, I completely agree with those who said we should be able to choose either DBA or Live Lesson. I am another student with anxiety, and let me tell you, I count down the exact minutes until my teachers are supposed to call, and make sure I have my notes out, the course pulled up, etc. I have never told my teachers that DBA’s make me nervous. However, when I get on the phone, my voice is audibly shaky. I also have a hard time deciding things, so for my teachers on the phone to make me pick a topic to review/a fictional character to apply psychological disorders to is hard. I actually prefer when the teacher chooses those kinds of things. I also cannot stand the dead silence on the other end of the phone as I’m struggling to remember something and start nervously laughing.
    I ended up taking a year (summer to summer) to finish one class because I dreaded the DBAs. One thing I would recommend, is if FLVS is so bent on keeping the concept around, don’t make the grade about how well you know the material. Make it a completion grade. Your teacher can advise you to look back over certain questions, give you tips, and not give you the test password until they feel you are ready. I always hang up after DBA’s feeling completely drained and nervous because I had to ask what something meant again or how to graph something properly. I usually cry and can’t get myself to do much for a bit. Then, to log on and see that, after all that work and anxiety and panic that I only got a 60% because I missed a couple things that I thought the teacher would work WITH me on… it’s just awful. I hope I never have to take online classes again, as I can’t stand them.
    Please change this one aspect to better suit the kids you are trying to see succeed!

    Reply
    1. Angela

      Every single thing you said here is literally the FLVS experience. I go through the SAME exact thing! DBA’s literally make me cry. I am an introvert. I rather write out my feelings than talk to someone about them. Same applies to my work. I feel like a failure when I try so hard to study and I get a bad grade anyways because I didn’t know what questions they were going to ask me. I have literally laid in bed crying, stressing and being overwhelmed over the fact that I failed at something I prepared for. Like things on the study guides are not even what they ask majority of the time. This one time I guess I did awfully and my teacher just said try next time and that’s it. However, I texted her hours later after my breakdown and mentioned how I’ve been stressed and just told the truth. My next try she asked me easier questions due to my needs and I was ok. I was proud of myself because I did a good job.

      Reply
  31. cheyenne Perry

    Reading all these comments makes me feel better knowing that im not the only one of struggles with DBA’S and have anxiety with them in just a few mins ill be doing a DBA for spanish which im stressing out so badly because I can’t speak spanish good but after reading these i feel so much better about myself

    Reply
  32. Sarah

    I have a DBA in a few minutes and I’m having an anxiety attack. Everyone I take my teacher is rude and when I don’t know the answer they sigh and right away say their gonna call my parents. They never explain the answer to me even when I ask they just say i need to study more and that’s it. I wish there was another way to do them or just not have them at all.

    Reply
  33. sam

    I have to take meds for my anxiety because it’s unmanageable and I have finished literally everything for my algebra class, except he DBA’s.. I finished it all in month and since then I’ve only done 2 DBA’s and cried before and after. I was supposed to take he module 3 DBA half an hour ago but I went into an anxiety attack and couldn’t do it.. I seriously think there should be an alternative, and not just one that includes my voice or face, but maybe like an instant messenger, that would be a great alternative in my opinion, and though it’s still on the spot, I don’t have to freak myself out.. I can still stay calm and do everything the same as over the phone, but instead of my voice, they get my messages! Is there a way to recommend that to anyone?

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Yes, definitely! Talk to your teacher about this. If you struggle with anxiety, that’s really helpful for the teacher to know so they can do everything they can to help. You can discuss other alternatives, including IM (skype), facetime, or other options.

      Reply
  34. Angela

    I was actually here looking for a policy of how late is too late for a teacher to not call for a DBA. I hate not knowing what questions there will be because it is too much pressure for me to answer up front questions. There are so many students here who are giving feedback and FLVS is not making those changes. One of the students made a valid point about the way DBA’s are graded. FLVS said themselves that DBA’s act as a review…. but the teachers treat it as a oral test. If it was considered a review we, students, should be able to be graded on completion/participation and not what we know. If we do not know something the teachers can advise us what we can do to learn the topic better. DBA’s are overrated. I like them because I get to ask my teacher why I got something wrong, but I don’t like them because they are too nerve wrecking and dysfunctional.

    Reply
  35. Latin Student

    I’m close to finishing my second course with FLVS. Last year, I took Latin 1. This year, I took Latin 2, because I enjoyed the former so much.
    My Latin 1 teacher was a sweet and caring woman. She had the sort of voice that evoked images of apple pie cooling on a window sill, and the questions that she asked were neither too difficult, nor too lenient — if you got it wrong, she explained it to you, and you always left knowing that you both knew that you’d learned what you needed to learn. She was a kind and good-natured human being.

    I cannot say the same for my Latin 2 teacher. He is curt, and his voice is a very pressing one. I concede that he makes certain that his students are learning, but there is little kindness — and I say this in fear of sounding as if I’m exaggerating, but I must stand by it — or humanity.
    Six months ago I had my first DBA with him. His were nothing like my last teacher’s, and the course did not tell me what to expect. He was UPSET at my not knowing exactly what he was looking for with respect to DBAs, which, of course, made me feel as if I were the failure of the communication. Logic tells me that I wasn’t, but my emotions could not acquiesce to the insistence of my logic. Every DBA since has been a nightmare.
    I go entire days worrying about the DBA that’s to come in the evening. I go to brick and mortar school and can hardly push the thought and the dread out of my mind. Understand this: though I know that I know the material, I can never go into the DBAs calmly. I feel nothing but an adrenaline buzz, all day long, until it is over. Then, I tell myself, “Oh, now I have a few weeks respite until the next meeting with the devil.”

    My Latin 2 teacher, make no mistake, is a good teacher. But he is not a kind man. But, surely, being kind and being a good teacher cannot be mutually exclusive qualities — can they?

    FLVS teachers work very hard. They work long hours and can never be certain if their students are cheating — and they have many, many students. They’re very stressed-out human beings. I know, though, from experience, that they’re not all mean people as a result of their working conditions. I’ve had a kind instructor. I’ve had an unkind instructor. As a senior in high school, Latin 2 will be my final FLVS course, and, if I can help it, it will be my final online course, ever. Latin 2 has deterred me permanently from taking online courses, and it has scarred my love of language — but not indelibly. I’ve studied through three years of French and have taught myself Spanish, and Latin, save my current instructor, has been an absolute joy. But I will never recommend this course, to anyone, and all because of those nasty little DBAs.

    Change the system. Students 1) procrastinate, 2) feel extremely uncomfortable, and, 3) lose motivation, passion, and love for subjects when subjected to these verbal tests. FIND A SOLUTION, I BEG OF YOU. I do not speak for myself; I am waiting for my teacher to grade my final exam, and then, I will be done, completely, with FLVS. I am free of DBAs, forever. But other people are not, and that is why I am taking the time, now, to ask the powers that be to do something about this. I am an outgoing person. I have never been diagnosed with anxiety problems — indeed, I have never felt so anxious over academia until this course began for me. There’s something about this sort of situation in itself that seems to bring out the worst kind of nervousness in human beings. I do not know what it is, but we ought to stop it.

    I found this topic by chance, after reflecting over how much stress the DBAs have caused me over the past half-year. I’m glad that I am not unique in my struggles. I am also glad to be able to articulate my thoughts on what I know is a flawed system in a place where others can read them. I cannot be certain, though, that my words will be heeded. May providence or fate or whatever or whomever you, the reader, believe in be kind to you as you march forward with these dreadful DBAs.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      This is a very thoughtful comment and we truly appreciate the time you have taken to share your experience and feedback. While the DBA experience may vary slightly between teachers, our forms of assessment are always under discussion and this provides valuable insight to share with our leadership team and the Instructional Leader for this course. After having a positive experience, we’re so sorry to hear that your most recent course has been a more negative one; this is certainly something we want to prevent and address.

      Reply
  36. Cindy Gonzalez

    I have three DBA’s to complete today and I could not be more nervous. I try to postpone DBA’s till I am required to do it by my teachers asap. I get really nervous over the phone and my brain shuts down completely. I’m aware that the authrities answer the students who want a change in the system. All you simply do is agree. But no change takes place at all. With all due respect to the authorities of flvs, you should not agree to something if change is not going to take place. Think about the students. I would fully enjoy being home schooled at flvs if it weren’t for the DBA calls required up to 4 times each segment. Please, try to make a change. Like it was mentioned before, maybe try a live lesson instead of a DBA or a video call. Take it in consideration. Thank you.

    Reply
  37. Julia Laresgoiti

    I just wanted to state that almost every single comment below states whether people procrastinate to do their DBA’s (me included) OR that they are just really nervous to complete them. I personally get anxiety attacks when i am on a call, so i always complete my assignments first, and leave the DBA’s till last. It is currently FEBRUARY and i have DBA’s that were supposed to be completed in NOVEMBER! Yes, i understand this is my responsibility but we all have reasons as to why we dont complete them, and most of us just want them to disappear! I think FLVS should have some sort of alternative to those who have real problems like anxiety, and high stress levels. i have tried to speak with my algebra teacher about this and she finally gave in and let me do a live lesson with her. I will NOT be doing FLVS next year DUE to DBA’s. Yes, that is how badly they have affected me. Step up your game FLVS!

    Reply
    1. Julia Laresgoiti

      I also forgot to say that i extremely enjoy learning and taking my classes. I have never enjoyed doing my assignments until i joined FLVS. You’re doing a great job with the classes, but the DBA’s are such a big factor of this school that they have prevented me from joining this school for another year. You always agree that these dreadful calls are nerve-wrecking, yet we all see no change whatsoever. I believe that in the future, if you do not change this, you will be losing students just like myself. I cannot be the only one who thinks like this.

      Reply
      1. Nicole

        Your aren’t the only one I know exactly how you feel. I am the same way. I feel like my teachers hate me well atleaste some of them..

        Reply
  38. Julissa

    For my DBA’s, I’d rather have the instructor send the questions to me and I would call them to answer it because sometimes it is hard to understand what she is saying the first time I called her. So now I am nervous on calling my Driver’s ed instructor because I don’t know what questions she is going to ask and if I’ll remember them or not. So I’m just suggesting that instead of the instructor asking me questions to text them to me instead.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Sometimes it helps to have a study guide or a little prep time. Even though the teacher probably can’t give you all of the questions ahead of time, they can definitely give you an idea of what to expect. Talk to your teacher to discuss the possibilities and determine if this (or something similar) is an option! Some students are also more comfortable answering questions using the same format as a live lesson or something like skype.

      Reply
  39. Lee Anne

    With my Chinese teacher, I will wait until there is no other option but to call. It’s terrifying, DBA’s alone are enough to send me into a panic, but add on the harshness of a language and a teacher who scares me, the day I have to to a DBA is often the worst day of the week.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Speaking the language is a great way to practice, but let your teacher know if you would rather do your DBA “face to face” in a live lesson environment. Your teacher is there to support you! If you’re not feeling like that’s the case, this is valuable feedback you can share with the Principal or Instructional Leader. But first, be sure to let your teacher know how you feel or how they can help!

      Reply
  40. Rhi

    I understand why teachers have students do DBA’s, but personally, I feel like they should not be required. I also understand that most people get “stressed” when it’s time to take an exam, but having anxiety is more extreme than a little bit of stress, anxiety is a mental illness. Whenever I do DBA’s it results in an anxiety attack and it’s very embarrassing and humiliating. I decided to take online classes because my anxiety was interfering with my work in public school. In middle school, I wasn’t required to take DBA’s, but now in my high school classes it’s required and I feel like there should be an alternative. Is it possible to do a DBA over messaging instead of having to video call or phone call a teacher? If there is not a choice to do this, then there definitely should be. Not to mention teachers say that the DBA’s act as a “review” and that it’s a casual discussion to help with your exam, but these discussions are graded and they mark you down if you miss a small thing. In my anatomy class, these discussions are worth almost 40 points on just a 10-15 minute call, it just doesn’t seem right to me. I’m not trying to be rude for the most part I enjoy my FLVS classes but I wish there was a way to make these DBA’s not a requirement.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Yes, there are alternatives! Ask your teacher about answering questions in a live lesson environment. If you are having anxiety and this was a concern for you in traditional school, be sure to mention this to your teacher (or have your parent/guardian talk to them) to see what other options are possible.

      We’re currently working on arranging a Facebook Live Q&A about DBAs to help students understand their options when it comes to discussion-based assessments – and to make them a little less intimidating. Stay tuned for more info!

      Reply
  41. Ben Hale

    I always get the nerves before doing a DBA but I am fortunate enough that my instructor will not let me fail, if she has to explain the whole module to me again she will. My FLVS instructor is more then a teacher to me, she is a friend and someone I trust. She is not just here to talk about math, anything that I am struggling with she is here to talk about. Just remember when you are about to do a DBA, don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Your teacher is here for you and wants to see you succeed and won’t give up on you!! For all of you that are struggling with the anxiety of DBA’s keep your head up, be brave and stay strong, the whole FLVS community believes in you and they want the best for your education.

    Reply
  42. Sarah

    How does a group DBA or live lesson work exactly? For the people who have done this; is it less intimidating? I have one coming up this Friday and it’s going to last a full hour and I’m terrified.

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Think about it being a little bit more like answering questions in a traditional classroom setting. Don’t be nervous, your teacher is there to help if you need them! Be sure to share your feedback with them if there is something you think he or she could do differently.

      Reply
  43. Lidia

    Talking over the phone has always been hard for me but the more I do the DBA’s and get it over with the more comfortable I am becoming with talking on the phone.
    It’s really hard and maybe a bit scary at first but the more you do it the more you get used to it and it isn’t as bad.

    Reply
  44. lauren

    Hi i am about to take a dba in math and i am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo scared i feel like so helpless i am there for everyone who is legit having an anxiety attack because there dba is coming bc that’s how i feel. i am doing 6th grade math mod 4 and mod 4 is coordinate plane i stink at the coordinate plane i have knots in my stomach and i have butterflies when i talk i feel i am so so so scared i am just going to cramp up in front of my teacher and i am sososososososososososoosososoos scared that i am going to to have to say ” i don’t know”’bc that is my worst fear in the entire world

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Hi Lauren! Don’t be nervous…you’ve got this! Remember that your teacher is there to help. We’re actually hosting a Facebook Live Q&A about DBAs next Wednesday too! This is your chance to share your feedback, ask questions, and talk to other students about discussion-based assessments. Find more info and other great tips in our new blog post about DBAs here: http://blog.flvs.net/would-you-rather-the-dentist-or-a-dba.

      Reply
  45. Anonymous

    How about trying to do a dba for algebra 2 honors when you pretty much have no idea what your even doing. It’s dreadful I have like 4 dba’s just sitting in my assignments folder right now. I was told by my teacher if i do poorly on one more I have to take a state administered academic integrity test. And if I fail I get kicked out of my class. So dba’s are not always something you can just learn to do.

    Reply
  46. Anonymous

    I have social anxiety, it’s mostly the reason I’m doing online school. These DBA’s are absolutely horrible and very unnecessary. It’s gotten to the point where I’ll barely do an assignment a week just to put off the DBA’s. The very thought of doing one is enough to send me into tears. The last few DBA’s I’ve done ended with me having panic attacks. If I know I have a DBA coming up I’ll dread it days in advance.I really hope for future students, ones like me, that they won’t have to go through this.

    Reply
  47. Destiny

    Um so I just wanted to know do we get graded off of DBA and could they drop your grade? Also with the live sessions that could be a alternative, can our teachers see us like we can see them? I’m curious because I’d personally rather do a over the phone if I can be seen. I’m a super awkward person If I don’t know you so thats my reason for asking. Hope I get a reply from you FLVS!

    Reply
  48. Jessica

    So there’s been some posts about a student having anxiety because of DBAs and because of it they aren’t able to really do a DBA. I’m sort of glad that I’m not alone on this but is it possible for a teacher to refuse to give you an alternative? Like if that were to happen, what do I do?

    Reply
  49. Angie

    Is there a replacement for this? Any sort of conversation (Even with my family!)that isn’t text or physical, is very nerve racking for me. I am very anxious to talk to anyone on the phone or over Skype(or anything like Skype for that matter!) and this is stopping me from gaining any credits i will need for college! Is there any replacements I can use instead of calls?

    Reply
  50. Natalie

    I struggle with anxiety and the dba’s that we have to do cause so much nerves and added stress. I did a dba yesterday and due to my anxiety even though I have pages of notes I wrote to prepare me the information leaves my brain when im put on the spot. I could hear my teacher get frustrated which got me rushing through papers and tearing up, he then told me that this was embarrassing and I had no clue of the topic; even though I did have a clue because I was answeing some of the answer quick if they were fresh in my brain. I cried most of the day because I felt like I was stupid I believe there should be a alternative assignment for this because this is my first year doing online school and its been pretty stressful to say the least. Live lessons are so great because it gives you a classroom feel and you can write in the chat box to interact which if great, i feel live sessions should be aloud to be a alternative. I told my teacher about my anxiety and basically told be I’ll be fine and there was not other assignment to take it place which I find hard to believe. My teacher basically didn’t even recognize my anxiety which I was surprised they didn’t care, so if flvs can help me get a live session alternative or anything please reach out it would change my life. thanks

    Reply
    1. Marissa DraegerFLVS

      Hi Natalie! We’re sorry to hear you felt this way, but we’re here to help! Your teacher may be able to offer your DBA in a live lesson setting or another option. Learn more here in this blog post: https://blog.flvs.net/mastering-discussion-based-assessments-dbas/

      We can also help you get in touch with your Instructional Leader to share this feedback and ensure you are given options or alternative ways to communicate with your teacher for your DBA. Or you can reach out to your IL directly (their contact information will be on your teacher’s announcement page) to explain how you felt and what happened.

      Reply
  51. Angelina

    Right before my DBA, I had an anxiety attack so I had to abruptly cancel it. I usually cry before most of my DBA’s because I am so anxious, and sometimes my mind goes blank during it and my teacher gets impatient with me. It’s very tough for me to do, I wish there was some kind of alternative. What I usually do to calm down before DBA’s is I tell myself “it’s okay if you mess up, nobody’s perfect” or “I’m not the only one who feels this way, it’s normal”.

    Reply
  52. Pearl

    When ever I do DBA’s, my mind freezes and I can’t remember the correct answer to the question being asked, even when I have my notes. I just stumble through my words until I give up and have the teacher tell me, and then I smack myself, because I knew that. I’m not very good at talking with people in general, and I hate talking on the phone, and I feel like I make a big stupid fool of myself.

    Reply

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