Staring Down The Barrel of a Test

Tomorrow is a big day.  I guess it's THE big day in some ways.  Tomorrow, my 4th graders will be taking their state writing exam.

Last week was a busy week as we discussed and prepared.  I don't make the test a big deal, but I have a responsibility to make sure that my students are informed and ready.  As we talked, I've found myself saying things like "When the test is over, then we can get back to real writing."  Unfortunately, the test is real- all too real for some.  I think many of my students feel as if they are staring down the barrel of gun with no easy way out.

Many are understandably nervous.  I don't emphasize the state tests in class, but yet the anxiety remains.  So many other forces push and pull on them to try and make tomorrow into something it is not.  Parents knowingly and unknowingly put pressure on their kids to perform.  Older kids and siblings can lay it on thick as well.  Teachers before me have also shaped their feelings about it.  I'm sure I've even added to the stress.

Here is what I keep saying over and over to them (and to myself)-
It's NOT the end of the world.  It's one day.
You can't truly fail unless you fail to give your best.
Grades don't determine your learning.  You determine your learning.
We are going to get through this together.
I just hope they believe me.

Many students have blogged their feelings about our test on their blogs.  Check them out, and leave some #comments4kids.

Photo credit: rudyjuanito