Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Destress About the Test

The month of March has become synonymous with testing, at least here in Illinois, and it's always a super stressful time as a teacher. Why? Because in addition to the extra meetings, the accomodations for testing, the trainings for testing, and the setup, we still need to fit in teaching at a time when students are increasingly more burned out by school.

Testing season can cause a ton of stress for us as teachers, but I want to share five quick tips on how to destress a bit.

1. Plan activities that allow students to breathe. 

Testing all day is hard for students (and you!), and if your school is on a modified schedule, they may go to every class on the same day as testing. This can be tiring, and leave your students pretty cranky by the afternoon. Give students a little bit more time to talk to each other, plan interactive activities that will allow them to get up and move around, or even some silent reading time to allow them to zone out a bit.

2. Practice What You Preach

We tell students to get a good nights sleep and eat breakfast every night, and we need to follow this advice. I know I don't always do this, but it's really tiring to walk around a room and do absolutely nothing other than administer and monitor the testing environment. Get up early, pick an outfit that is professional but comfortable, and have some breakfast!

3. Make the Testing Time Beneficial

As you administer the test, consider wearing a fitbit or other device that tracks your steps. This can be a great way to get in your steps for the day! Just make sure you're wearing comfortable shoes! Bring

4. Self-Reflect

When you're testing, self-reflect on how the school year has gone so far. Think about what has worked in your teaching, your management, and even your classroom layout. Think about what you'd like to change or improve on going forward. Sometimes the silence and repetitive movement can be inspiring!

5. Acceptance

This is the most important piece of advice I have. Unfortunately, standardized testing probably isn't going away. Complaining about it with co-workers, or bemoaning the existence of said tests will not help anything to be better. Once we accept that this too shall pass, you may feel a bit better. Know that you have done everything you can to prepare your students to take the tests, and be there to support them and encourage them to show off their smarts!

Happy Testing!

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