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Teacher: How do I help kids de-stress about tests?

With the English Language Arts exam approaching, Bronx teacher-blogger Ruben is trying to cushion his students from test-prep stress:

I can deal with the stress. My main concern is to avoid projecting it too heavily onto the students. I can’t control it when other teachers make statements like, If you don’t pay attention you’re going to be sitting right here next year, because you won’t pass the test! However, I am doing my best to take the edge off the test and the dullness/tedium away from the endless stream of practice tests. Today I asked the kids to try to find one interesting fact in the reading and after the practice test was over they all shared favorite parts they read in the stories, articles and poem. Will it work in the long term?

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.