No matter what I may think or try to avoid, the testing season always comes. THAT fact literally never fails. However, I try to err on the side of positive rather than negative. I ask myself “can you control this?” Short and sweet, no. So, if I have almost no control over testing actually occurring, I cannot really stress about it. While the worries will always be hidden, I try to encourage my students to feel the same way. They CANNOT and WILL NOT be defined by one test every year. It just WILL NOT happen. While they should take the test seriously, in practice. They should not feel like their stomach is going to explode or that they will break down in tears. I am always open and honest with my students about testing. I let them know the real deal. However, I also remind them that the test is just a reflection of anything and everything I taught. If I taught it, it will be there. If I didn’t teach it (and come on now …. this happens almost EVERY year) it will feel like a guessing game and they’ll have to rely on past knowledge (or great test taker skills).
So …. why did I say all of this?
Honestly, to let you know that you’re NOT alone! All too often we immerse ourselves in the deep end of pressure. So, I’m just going to give you a few brief tips of how I keep myself, my colleagues, and my students C|A|L|M!
It is so important to stay calm and relaxed. I am not even kidding. On testing days, I may show up a little early for some peace and quiet. I may listen to my favorite bands more often than not and with the volume a little louder. I may have (once or twice) scheduled a massage for myself. I might go get a mani/pedi. I may spend $100 on Amazon! These are little de-stressors for me and I exercise them a little more during the testing season!
FOR MY COLLEAGUES
They may be feeling JUST as stressed as I. Maybe more, maybe less. I want to show them that they matter, too. I try to bring sweet notes, donuts, chewing gum, or even send joking texts. If you’re on a committee at school or you have fun. Breakfasts, lunches, treats in the staff lounge would be MAJOR, also. Even though testing usually tends to fall around Teacher Appreciation month (no really ‘insert your state’, we’re so thankful for the gift of testing) don’t skip the opportunity to make your coworkers feel relaxed while testing. As featured below, I bought large donuts for my teaching friends, bagged them up, and attached these personalized testing tags!
FOR MY STUDENTS
On testing days, I have a serious, but also ‘loose’ schedule for what the plans are each day. Depending on our time for testing, we will have a review (usually in-game form because, well it’s FUN!) and then Q&A time. I will let the students ask ANYTHING. I also plan movies and snacks following the test. SURE, we may not finish the movie on the first day, but we’ll have something to fall back on when we test again the following. Distractions and downtime are super important for the bubble outside of the test.
SO ARE YOU TESTING READY?
It’s okay to say no!!! None of us ever really are BUT it happens without our say-so. As a gift from me, enjoy these No Stress testing signs. They can allow your students some creative freedom while also providing your school with testing time signs!