Once again it's time for every student in the United States to take some form of a standardized state assessment. It's federal law and there is no way around it.
And so I've decided to dedicate this blog to support educators like myself who begin eating an excess amount of comfort foods like Peanut M & M's and popcorn doused in real butter.
Here are my "go to" set of rules which have helped me survive the yearly state assessment.
1. No cell phone.
Next, turn your cell phone off and place it somewhere out of reach, but not forgotten. Even if you are tempted to play Words with Friends for a triple word score, your phone is far out of reach.
Make a note on the inside palm of your hand with a non-permanent marker as a reminder where you placed your cell phone. This will save you the embarrassment of admitting to the whole school via mass email that you need help finding your phone.
2. Monitor closely.
Your principal will most likely allow you to dress down and wear your most comfortable shoes.
The point is to be comfortable because you will be walking around to "actively" monitor your students.
Do NOT pull out your grade book or email a parent. This is against policy and could result in losing your hard earned teaching certificate. Even if these trainings bore you to tears, take the rules seriously!
Never leave the tests unattended, even if everyone is finished and you need to make a quick run to
relieve your bladder. Have a hall monitor or another teacher stay with the students until you return or the tests have been taken up by administration. If there are still a few students testing, you will still need to be an active monitor.
4. Control your bladder.
Remember the coffee you drink every morning? Well, this is the one day to go for a smaller cup with higher concentration of caffeine.
Depending on the size of your bladder, control your liquid intake. This includes water, sodas, power drinks, and so forth. This rule will make rule #3 easier to follow.
5. Stay calm and breathe.
As simple as it may seem, remember to breathe. Find a happy place in your heart to focus on in case panic starts to set in.
Warning: This is especially true when the lower reader in your class finishes in a record seventeen minutes and is convinced he or she "rocked" the test.
Most importantly, remember it is ONE test and should not define who you are as a teacher.
Now go find your cell phone.
1. Why is it important to review policy and procedures before the test? What steps can I take to ensure these policies are followed?
2. What can I do if I am confused about a student's testing accommodation? How do I verify this information?
3. In what way can we stop state standardized scores from negatively impacting a student's self-esteem? Why is this important?