Testing Stress

It has always amazed me how some people don't seem to get flustered at all during testing season. Maybe it's my personality, but it takes everything I have to keep my nerves calm. While tests are part of our lives from elementary school through college, they still make my stomach churn, especially the ones that are reported to our county and state.

It's such a fine line to walk - push your kids, prepare your kids, but do not terrify your kids or only focus on teaching to prepare them for a test.

So you may be thinking, "Why is she discussing this right now? It's the beginning of May. There's time!" Well, time is up in my state! I meant to post this at the beginning of our testing week, but time got away from me. Testing started two weeks ago for my little people and they were as ready as they could be. Still, there are a few little things I did before testing week and during testing week to help their nerves. Mine may have decided to stay, but I didn't want them to experience that feeling.

First, I reminded them on Friday that they are kids and to leave worrying to adults. I made sure that they know they are much more than a test to me. I told them to think of a picture. In a picture, we only see the people and items in the picture, but all around us there are other items. I told them that this test is just one piece of them, one picture of who they are. We discussed that they are kind, loving, caring, hilarious, creative, and have heart. These aren't things that can be tested. I also told them that if they give their best, take their time, and try, I will not be disappointed no matter what their score says.

The second thing I did is I told them to play this weekend. I told them to play ballgames, to play outside, to play video games, to watch movies, and to have family time. I told them that this was their homework. I want them to know I mean it when I say I am confident that they are ready. The best way to show them is through actions. If I tell them to play, then they will know that I believe they are ready. Work would leave them with a little doubt.

Finally, I prepared special treats for them this week. Before testing starts, my students have special morning work for the week. I want to keep them calm, so I prepared word searches and color sheets for them. Feel free to click on the image to download the sheets for free. During testing, my kids are using special pencils. They are shiny, Ticonderoga pencils. I think I have convinced them that they will help them focus better. After testing is over each day, I got my kids a special snack. If you click on the image of treats, they will allow you to download the tags that I created for my kids over the last few years.

If your kids are testing anytime soon, remember to breathe and that while at times they may seem like mini adults, they aren't. They are kids and what most of them want more than anything is to please us. Testing is just a quick snapshot. It should never completely represent them.

Have a great afternoon!

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