Test taking can be one of the scariest parts of elementary school, not just for the students, but for the teachers as well. Even with all the preparation and encouragement their teachers can give, students often keenly feel the pressure to perform well.
Evergreen Avenue Elementary teacher Chandi Langford knew her fifth grade students were nervous about their upcoming PARCC test. The standardized test delivered to students at the end of the year is designed to assess the students grasp of Common Core Principles in mathematics and english. Many of Langford’s students were apprehensive about the test, and were worried that if they performed poorly they wouldn’t be able to move onto the next grade with their friends.
So Langford did what good teachers do. She prepared them for the problem ahead, and then inspired them to face that challenge.
When the anxious students walked into class that day, instead of a test on their desk, they discovered that their amazing teacher had snuck into class early and written each of the students a personalized message for success.
The growth-oriented messages came with a tasty treat to keep them on track, but Langford didn’t sugar coat anything. She let her students know that it wasn’t going to be easy, but that she knew they could do it anyway. Nothing worth doing is ever easy right?
“When I read the message, my fear went away,” Student Julissa said after acing the test. “I knew I could actually do it.”
“I felt like I could do anything.” added her classmate Emily.
Langford humbly signed the notes from all the teachers. Reflecting the faith the faculty as a whole had in the students’ potential.
And it was a good thing that she wrote the notes in dry erase markers, which quickly had to be wiped clean in order to prevent cheating. The message behind them however, seemed to stick. As Langford herself stated:
"Some kids came up to me saying that it helped ease their nerves and others said it made them feel like they can do anything now," she said.
"They may not realize, but I've known all along that they can do anything they set their minds to."