The beginning of this week was rough. Really rough. We had just returned from Spring Break, and students are often a little rowdy for a few days after a break anyway. But this time, we had to do our state standardized testing as soon as we got back. At nine o’clock Monday morning, I was reading standard notifications about how you must use a number two pencil; pens are not allowed. And how I can answer questions about the directions only, not about the actual work. And how only work on the lines will be scored. For an hour each day of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the kids tested.
And after a standardized test, students are often rowdy.
Return from spring break + standardized testing = unruly children that I had a difficult time managing. Or liking.
And my temperament was not so great as a result.
I couldn’t really go on with my normal schedule, either, because I had only one of my two 8th grade classes and one of my two 7th grade classes, and for my own sanity, I need to keep the classes together in the lessons.
Other teachers showed movies. I had my kids do vocabulary activities. It was low-key and low-pressure, but I wanted to make their brains work a little bit. Plus, I’m not a fan of watching movies, especially in the classroom.
But although the kids did the work, I felt I was constantly talking over them and scolding them for being out of hand. That makes for a stressful day.
Today, there was no more testing. I was able to put my bell work on the board and remind students that they are expected to do the bell work silently while I take attendance. I conducted class normally. We had good discussion. Students wrote responses and talked about what they wrote and what we read. I raised my voice only once today, I think.
Routine makes all the difference in a classroom.