We began standardized testing this week in our district. I enjoy this time of year since it’s the culminating event of our year of hard work. What I don’t enjoy is the stress other teachers and my students face during testing.
I wish I could tell them—and you—that is everything is going to be okay. Taking exams just show how much you’ve grown—and how you’ve grown your students, too. Always do your best and you’ll be okay.
As adults, we can beat the overwhelm with strategies, but students don’t often have the emotional maturity to deal with stress in the same way. What they do have is you, their teacher. You can provide the encouragement, inspiration, and coaching they need to keep calm through the tumult of testing.
Whether you’re on the testing cycle in your school district or you have one in the future, here are some ideas to keep your students calm and centered.
- Love Notes. What I do for my students is an idea you should steal. Each morning before the test, I place a note of encouragement on their desks along with a small treat. For example, “You were mint to succeed” has a mint attached. These little notes are available on Teachers Pay Teachers here.
- Meet the Parents. One of my son’s teachers provided envelopes for parents to write notes for their child. On the morning of the first test, the students receive the notes of encouragement from their mom or dad—sometimes even their whole family. I love this idea!
- Enlist the Littles. Our primary teachers enlist the help of their students to create posters of encouragement all along the hallway. They provide a much-needed boost for my students.
- Testing Fairy. Several years ago I had a friend and colleague who had a wand with which she would tap the heads of all her students, “enchanting” them with magical powers of test-taking. She also had a poem on their desks that morning with some special glitter she used only during this time.
- Personalized Notes. A teacher up the hallway from me wrote personalized notes to each of her students. Many students used them as bookmarks to remind them of their teacher’s love.
Using these personal touches will not only help your students to succeed, but also to know they’re loved.
The day our testing began, I was taught of encouragement lesson by my students. Two sweet little girls wrote me notes of encouragement—maybe in some way they thought I was as stressed as they were.
One sweet girl wrote, “We all love you so much. Even though you are not allowed to talk so much about God, you show him through your actions. You have prepared us all year through growing our brains.”
So for you teacher, remember this—our true measure of growth is how we grow our students. And how they learn to love us through the year.