Teacher Tips: Getting Ready for Testing
Whether you’re a testing-season veteran or a first-year teacher ready to take on testing in your classroom for the first time, it’s easy to get stressed out when testing season rolls around. The more you can do in advance to prepare yourself for assessments, the less stressed you’ll feel when testing day comes.
To help make this time of year a little easier on you, we’ve put together a few educator-approved tips for getting your classroom and your students ready to rock testing this year!
1. Prepare your classroom and your students
If you know you’ll need to take down decorations, cover posters or clocks, change seating arrangements, or make any other cosmetic changes to your classroom before testing day, try to do as much as you can in advance so that your students aren’t walking into an unfamiliar classroom on the morning of the test. It may feel a little weird at first, but doing what you can to create a similar environment to one that your students will test in gives everyone the chance to settle in and get comfortable so that no one feels thrown off by the classroom’s new look when it’s time to focus on testing.
If you know that your students will need to be proctored by another teacher during testing, or that you will need to proctor another teacher’s class, arrange time in the week prior to testing when you can swap classes for a little while so that your students can have time to adjust to someone new and can feel comfortable testing with that teacher in the room. Taking all these steps in advance will not only help your students feel more relaxed on assessment day but also remove any last-minute stresses over preparing your classroom the night before.
2. Check on your classroom supplies
You don’t want to realize on test day that your classroom is fresh out of tissues, spare pencils, extra snacks, or other vital classroom supplies. At least a week before testing, stock up on extra scratch paper, pencils with good erasers, a few boxes of granola bars, and some mini bottled waters. If you normally keep a supply of backup testing necessities in the classroom, make sure that it is well stocked.
3. Tidy up and organize in advance
You probably don’t need to go full KonMari Method, but taking a moment to quickly tidy up your classroom and your desk a few weeks out from testing day might not be a bad idea. Besides getting you reacquainted with where important test-day supplies are stored (because every teacher knows that classroom supplies have a habit of getting disorganized as the school year goes on), cleaning and organizing your classroom may help you de-stress or feel a sense of calm by reestablishing your control over your environment.
4. Give frequent last-minute reminders
Keeping caregivers and families and students in the loop about testing schedules and procedures makes a big difference. But, just like cramming for a test the night before doesn’t work, reminding your students and their caregivers of test times, what-to-bring lists, and question strategies the night before an exam won’t give them enough time to really digest the information.
Instead, send home any testing-related literature a few weeks early, and provide regular reminders after that. See if you can reserve a few minutes during morning class announcements or before the end of the day to review testing info with students.
5. Don’t forget about yourself
We’ve heard time and time again about the importance of self-care during times of stress, but it’s worth mentioning around test time. To help you prepare for times when you can expect stress or anxiety, take a moment to think of some activities you can store away in your self-care toolbox—something that recharges you, something that relaxes you, or something that soothes when you're having a hard time.
Self-care activities can be anything such as calling a friend to catch up one evening, drawing a bubble bath and lighting a candle, going for a run, getting eight hours of sleep, or saying no to something when you feel you are at your capacity. Remember that self-care should never feel like extra work on your plate and that it will look a little different for everyone. The important thing is that you take care of yourself so that you can be on top of your game for your students.
Looking for more tips to get ready for assessments this year? Check out our blog post, [Teacher Tips] The Complete Test Day Success Guide for our favorite test-preparation tips.