With testing season upon us, many teachers are starting to feel the pressure. Tension is high, data is all over the place, and the stress is starting to impact your day-to-day work environment. These “stay sane” strategies can help you to keep things in perspective and may possibly change the way you approach testing season forever.
1. Strategies over Drill and Kill
Going over testing strategies and test-taking expectations has a much larger impact than one might think. Instead of just reading passages and answering questions every single day, make sure your students have a clear routine when it comes to tackling those test passages. I follow the Smart 7, a reading strategy that is posted in my classroom and easy for students to remember. I’ve found that a solid foundation with these strategies helped my students to perform far better than any repetition ever has.
2. Go Back To Traditions
The art of debriefing tests has been lost in many schools. Students take a test, the teacher grades, students get the scored test back, and then the class moves to the next test. Taking the time to go over each test – not only sharing the correct answers but how to get to the correct answers – makes a huge difference! Get in the habit of modeling the steps to take when tackling tricky test questions. The more you show students how best to think through questions, the more they’ll know how to do it on their own.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Think Outside the Box
Students feed off of our energy in the classroom, so getting excited about testing is a must. Instead of dragging your feet through it, make test prep fun! Set up challenges and motivate your students to complete them. Have themed test prep days like Military Day, where students can wear camo and blow a whistle when they complete their “mission” of getting the correct answers. Little things like this keep your students engaged and show them that testing does not always have to look the same.
Bonus tip for teachers: Take care of you! This time of year can be challenging, but know that your worth as an educator is more than a test score. I challenge you to take time each day to do something non-teaching related so that you can be fresh and relaxed each day for your students. They deserve it and SO DO YOU!
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