As we head into the standardized testing season, I thought I would test you on your knowledge of how to deal with stress during this annual onslaught.
Don’t worry, though, there's no pressure. Your results will just be published in the local newspaper, affect property values, create jealousy and tension between you and your colleagues, and very possibly affect your pay in relation to your student scores.
But no pressure.
*See if you can figure out the hints I’ve given you for the right answers. . .
1. I am likely to feel less stress if I keep in mind that:
a. My entire profession, job, and personal career depends on it.
b. It’s my job to solve every tech issue with the testing devices.
c. It’s one measurement, not THE measurement.
2. One excellent strategy for avoiding stress during standardized testing is:
a. Breaking things.
b. Weeping uncontrollably in the corner, while balled up in the fetal position.
c. Carving out time for stillness and silence so that my stress level has the space and
time to dissipate before the next go-round.
3. Detachment from anticipated outcomes will reduce my stress because:
a. I don’t give a hoot and holler what happens with my students' scores.
b. My superintendent is meanie poo-poo head and can't make me.
c. It’s going to go how it goes and stressing about it isn’t going to change the end
results one whit.
4. Creating Self-Care rituals using techniques like breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation, and my own personal rejuvenating Zen practice is important:
a. During testing season
b. During any season because my health and mental/emotional state are worth it.
c. Both a and b
5. State standardized testing is as stressful as it is because:
a. The Testing Machine is out of control.
b. I have so very little control over how it happens.
c. FAR too much emphasis and value is placed on this single piece of data.
d. It is interruptive of my regular curriculum in a way that impedes my
progress with my students.
e. All of the above.
Everything you do in class every day is more indicative of where your students are than anything they can bubble on a Scantron (or, these days, click on an online Smarter Balanced Assessment).
The truth is (and you know this intuitively): YOU are the best gauge of what they need, YOUR assessment of their skills and achievements is the BEST method for driving instruction, and the control YOU have in class is the best influence of their future success and progress.
Do your best to create value in the standardized testing for your students so they take it seriously.
Do what's expected of you professionally with grace (and a little humor when you can manage it).
But don't forget to take care of yourself in the process.
And don't forget to keep things in perspective.
Testing is something, but despite the propaganda, it's not the only thing. TZT