This teacher found a perfect way to relieve her students' testing fears.

We all remember testing season right?

I certainly do. Right around April, you start to realize that the standardized tests, finals, and readiness exams you've been hearing about all year are actual real things that are actually going to happen.

All the pressure starts to bear down on your shoulders like so many textbooks in your backpack.


Plus, remember how hard it was just to pick a backpack? Photo by Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images.

If I fail this test, will I fail the class? If I fail the class, will I fail fifth grade? If I fail fifth grade, am I even allowed to be a functioning member of society? Will they just throw me in jail and I'll have to live out the rest of my life eating oatmeal and lifting weights? I guess I could get used to oatmeal, but I thought I would do great things with my life!

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN TO ME?

Looking back, it might seem silly, but for kids going through it, the pressure is still very real. And adults are starting to listen.

Chandni Langford, who teaches fifth grade at Evergreen Avenue Elementary School in New Jersey, had a pretty cool idea to help ease the pressure.

Recently, she helped her students mentally prepare for a test by writing personalized messages on each of their desks. Messages of encouragement, inspiration, and motivation that, along with two munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts, helped all 19 of them feel a lot better about the exam they were about to take.

Image courtesy of Woodbury City Public Schools.

"They were excited. I think it eased their nerves a bit," Langford told the Huffington Post. "Some of them wanted to keep them on their desks forever."

Image courtesy of Woodbury City Public Schools.

This teacher knows that a little act of encouragement can be as important as any lesson.

“When the kids come [to school] they need to know that even though they’re away from their families at home, there are people here that love and care for them and hope the best for them. And truly, truly believe in them.”

Image courtesy of Woodbury City Public Schools.

Some are fighting back against standardized testing as an institution. Even encouraging their kids to opt out of high-pressure tests.

Historian Diane Ravitch recently created an Opt Out 2016 campaign, arguing that standardized testing provides no valuable information about a student's abilities and are often an unfair tool to evaluate teachers. There are also opinion pieces galore saying that standardized tests are outdated, unfair to students and teachers, and take up too much time in the classroom.

Regardless of your thoughts on the institution of testing, the pressure remains for kids everywhere.

The last thing a kid needs is to think that one test is going to make or break them. If you have a kid who's getting ready for a big test, consider taking a moment to tell them that no matter what happens, they're capable of success. That pass or fail, you believe in them.

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Working parents have always had the challenge of juggling career and kids. But during the pandemic, that juggling act feels like a full-on, three-ring circus performance, complete with clowns and rings of fire and flying elephants.

With millions of kids doing virtual learning, our routines and home lives have taken a dramatic shift. Some parents are trying to navigate working from home at the same time, some are trying to figure out who's going to watch over their kids while they work outside the home, and some are scrambling to find a new job because theirs got eliminated due to the pandemic. In addition to the logistical challenges, parents also have to deal with the emotional ups and downs of their kids, who are also dealing with an uncertain and altered reality, while also managing their own existential dread.

It's a whole freaking lot right now, honestly.

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The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

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When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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