Teacher Tip #6

It’s just a test.

It seems that the end of February we start entering a delightfully misunderstood and stressful season: testing season.

There’s quarter tests and WIDA about this time of year. These are followed by state-standardized tests, which are then followed by the next set of quarter tests.

These state-standardized tests and quarter tests, if you’re in secondary, may overlap with PSATs, and special subject exams (think AP). There’s also, of course, every other normal test sprinkled in between all of these *big* *important* tests.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in elementary or secondary, there’s this near two-month testing window rapidly approaching and I’m here to remind you: It’s just a test.

I have fallen victim to the stress and I passed it onto my kids. Don’t do that. They’re already stressed, they already know that these things are a big deal. So, I implore you–remind them: It’s just a test.

  • It’s one day out of 180 this year.
  • It’s one day out of however many they have accumulated over the years.
  • None of these tests are measuring their kindness, their dedication, their hard work, their perseverance, or any number of far more important qualities and traits they possess as human beings.
  • Tests can be taken again.
  • Tests are singular snapshots; they do not measure every aspect of learning and growth.
  • Tests are subject to human and technological error.
  • Tests are like every other assignment–there will be multiple opportunities to show just how much they have learned; today, and this test, are not the only opportunity to demonstrate learning and growth.

Tests–state tests, district tests, exit exams–are important, but they’re not the most important determinant, measure, or indicator of educational excellence. Remember that, and remind your students of that.



Things I never knew . . .

Installment #5:

Five things I never knew . . . until I became a teacher:

  • The 100th Day of School is a mutual celebration for students and teachers–truly
  • The 100th Day of School is secretly fun and educational . . . if you plan it right
  • The 100th Day of School is terribly messy
  • The 100th Day of School is a uniquely elementary experience, and even within this world a much more primary experience
  • The 100th Day of School can cause a ton of disagreement (a discussion on *when* it actually is, can turn into a hilarious as well as infuriating debate)

Why do I teach?

Installment #3:

In what other profession can you come to work . . .

  • in your pajamas (spirit day)
  • with crazy hair (spirit day)
  • in costume (Halloween, spirit day)
  • in sweats or athletic gear (coaches, PE teachers, game days, field trips)
  • with that ridiculous hat you bought at Disneyland (spirit day)

There are plenty of fun days in teaching–fun days that encourage everyone to let their silly side come out, or their comfy side show.

There’s plenty of reasons to smile in teaching–the fact that sometimes you get to go to work in comfy clothing, or get to be a little ridiculous, that is definitely a big perk. 😊

Monthly Advice–January

Start fresh.


It’s a new year!

You’re coming back from winter/summer break, depending on where you are in the world. It’s January, it’s 2019. It’s a brand new calendar year. This can be a new start for you, and your kiddos.

The greatest thing about a long break is the energy and life that comes after it. So, the greatest thing we can do as teachers in January is start fresh.

Interpret that as you will:

  • Write a few classroom specific resolutions.
  • Have your students write a few school-centered resolutions.
  • Participate in a deep-clean of the classroom. Get your students involved–make the fresh start tangible, visible.
  • Revise/create new academic goals.
  • Let go. Let go of any lingering doubt, regret, or negative memories. Teaching is hard, being a student is hard–we all have days, lessons, and moments that are less than beautiful, let them go.
  • Redecorate your room.
  • Change all assigned groups.
  • Rearrange furniture.
  • Buy a few new work outfits. 😉

Whatever you do, figure out how to breathe new life into your work. The year, and learning, has begun again, so start fresh. 😁