I didn't get any good math teachers till I got to college. Why do people become high school math teachers? They probably think, "Well - I'm good at math." Teaching math requires good communication skill, not good math skill.
A general-purpose method for anxiety - in a stressful situation just breathe slowly till you've calmed down. This is really good if you panic during a test.
In college I learned what the quadratic equation is for. The teacher gave us an example of its use in a business situation. It's like when you were in first grade the teacher didn't just talk about numbers. She talked about having apples and giving some of them to somebody. It's common sense - what the average high school math teacher lacks.I struggled with every math course in high school but I aced one in college.
Danica McKellar has written best-sellers like Math Doesn't Suck. Another good book - How to Double Your Child's Grades by Eugene Schwartz. Course guides like Cliffs Algebra I are better than textbooks - they have to be for students to buy them. Buy a few for a course, use the best one for explanations and the others for practice with problems.
With math, it's all about practice.
Courses like History are like orchards where you can pick all the fruit you want. Math is a jungle where you have to stay close to the guide and never get lost. Pay close attention during the math lecture from start to finish. Keep a good notebook so you can trade notes with another good student if you miss a day.
Learning algebra isn't learning a lot of facts. It's learning to use a few tools. If you spend a lot of time learning one tool, it's time well spent.
Think in terms of examples and visualize. It often helps to draw little pictures in your notes, or on your test paper.
Word problems aren't as hard as they seem. The teacher can't hide a lot of information into a word problem, which means that any new information you find is probably the answer, or a form of the answer, like a number of feet per second, which you can convert to miles per hour. If you don't know how to solve the problem, play around with it until you get some new number.