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.
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.
"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."
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.”
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 There are also opinion pieces galore saying that standardized tests are outdated, unfair to students and teachers, and take up too much time in the classroom.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.