15 Simple Tips To Keep Your Sanity During Testing

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15 Ways To Make Testing Fun–Or At Least To Keep Your Sanity While It’s Happening

by TeachThought Staff

Right, so, testing. Bleh. 

Let’s get through this together.

In most public, private, elementary school, middle school, high school, or higher education institutions, there is some form of formal assessment–a testing window that changes the climate of the school and the tone of your day from whatever it was before, to something a bit more rigid, focused, and probably stressed.

With that in mind, we thought a few tips might help get you through the testing period and ready to ease into those looming long summer mornings, afternoons, and nights. How much fun or relaxation these represent depend on who the fun and relaxation is for–students or teachers.

15 Ways To Make Testing Fun–Or At Least To Keep Your Sanity While It’s Happening

Take it done day at a time. This one sounds simple, but it can help. Feel free to keep a “X days left” countdown going on in your head, but try to teach and test and administer and lead students in the moment, one day at a time.

Stagger any changes. Too many changes at once–or even single changes with big impacts–can distract students, which stresses everyone, no?

Work together. Every teacher has a sweet spot–food, leadership, humor, games, planning–work closely together with other teachers to make the testing window as relaxing as possible for you and for your students.

Ask for help. (See above.)

Change the lighting. Turn the lights off. This can be relaxing for some. Too relaxing? Hang some holiday lights. Too gimmicky? Bring in some lamps. Depending on your students, this one may not work. Changing routine–or reducing visibility–may not be a good idea. That doesn’t mean that you can’t turn off the lights yourself when the students are out of the room and turn on some Mumford & Sons.

Prioritize. You may have a lot you want to do, but for the testing window, reprioritize for a smooth experience. If your principal or superintendent won’t let you, well, better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Use music. Speaking of Mumford & Sons, music can focus, relax, distract, energize–whatever you need to manipulate the little guys and gals. From Gregorian Chants to meditation sounds to, well, whatever it is the kids are listening to these days, music can help.

Light a candle. Cranberry, lavender can be relaxing, citrus energizing, and vanilla mood enhancing. (See more here.)

Don’t try to do too much. See also, “Prioritize.”

Focus on the students. It’s not about you, or the school, or even the testing results; it’s about students. Education is for them, not us.

Exercise after school. Or do yoga. Or Zumba. Or kickboxing. Or Xbox Fitness, Sounds crazy, but try it. Being in shape–or just getting your heart rate up every day with something other than

Play games. This one can be touchy though–depending on your class, school, or other relevant circumstance, games can also be loud, distracting, and take away from assessment performance if poorly implemented. That said, done well Smart board, iPads, board games, chess, and other gizmos can go a long way to alleviate the pressure for students.

Arrive at school a few minutes early. Gather your materials, arrange any necessary testing or post-testing recreational supplies, or just do your “other stuff” that testing encourages you to otherwise backburner.

Offer help. (See above.)

Bring food. When all else fails, eat. Pot lucks, Jimmy John’s delivery–whatever it takes, food always wins.

And don’t forget–testing usually means summer is nearly here. No matter how much you love teaching, the school can exact a brutal toll on your body and spirit. The summer is a welcome respite to hone your craft, and refocus what you do and why you do it.

15 Ways To Make Testing Fun–Or At Least To Keep Your Sanity While It’s Happening