Keep Calm and Proctor On: 10 Ways to Keep Calm During Assessment Season

Testing season has officially begun in many states.  If your reaction to this is “AHHHHHH!!!”, you’re experiencing uncontrollable visions of someone banging their head against a wall, or you’re thinking this is the ideal time to get pink eye, this article is for you.

1. Carve out relaxation time:

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After long days spent walking up and down aisles, surrounded by colleagues and testing students, it’s important to be intentional with your self-care. One simple way of doing this is by planning a relaxing activity (a bubble bath, meditation, candle-lit yoga) every day. If you choose meditation, check out this free meditation journey from Deepak Chopra and Oprah to guide you through your beginning experiences.

2. Make time for yourself:

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You are going to be spending a lot of time with your students and modeling the positive attitude they need to get through testing–give yourself some space to just be on your own. Make time for yourself — alone time — every day. Even if it’s 1 minute, it’s worth it!

3. Get Creative:

Though you’re not the one taking the test, proctoring an exam for students can be stressful on your brain too. Try to counter these challenges by being silly and allowing your brain to be creative. Color! Paint! Rediscover crayons! Or get some splatter paint going like Napoleon Dezaldivar, a teacher from Arkansas.

If the splatter paint isn’t an option for you, Go Noodle is a GREAT site for Brain Breaks! Who says products made for the classroom are only for the students to have fun?!

4. Exercise!

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One of the best ways to let go of any stress is to work it out! Whether you want to play a game of basketball, go for a run, or get your power walk on–the physical movement is great for your head! If you don’t have the time to squeeze in some exercise before or after school, get intentional with your proctor walk.

Jeff Kohls, a teacher from Colorado, wears a pedometer since he can bring that into the testing room and intentionally works up his steps all day-last I checked he walked more than 5 miles during one proctor day!

5. Read Baby Read!

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Whether you read a fun novel, a magazine, some buzzfeeds, or all those great articles on Twitter that you haven’t had time to check out yet, make some time to read. You spend all day telling students the importance of reading and how FUN it can be–carve out a moment to enjoy it, too. 🙂

Plus, you can join in on the #Read4Fun twitter chats and March reading challenge!

6. Brain Snacks

We’ve gone over brain breaks, exercise, and time for yourself–but you can’t forget the fuel! Make sure you are eating well! You can take that however you would like ;). Some may think well means super healthy, while I tend to interpret well as lots of sweet treats! Maybe find the happy medium with chocolate in moderation. As Gwen explains below– chocolate is good for the brain!  (Disclaimer: I don’t have a medical degree.)

If you can’t force yourself to find the balance between healthy snacks and sweets, there’s no harm in a little trickery!  Feel free to recruit help on this one.

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7. Sleeeeeeep…

Being that great of a teacher is going to take more than chocolate and meditation–you need to energize properly each night! The students will do better if you’re well-rested. In fact, everyone will do better if you’re well-rested.

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8. Find Tranquility in Nature

During testing season, you often have to take down any academic content from your walls. But that doesn’t mean they have to be bare and boring, do they? Put up posters of your favorite spots in nature, and photographs of you and your students outdoors. The best part is that the happiness and calm that comes from viewing pictures of nature can actually improve student performance overall!

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Beyond bringing nature to the walls of your classroom, try to get out in nature after the assessments. Fresh air is great and being near nature can have profound impacts on your physical and mental health. You can read about some of the great aspects of being in nature here.

9. Stay Positive

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Not only are your students going to feed off of the energy you bring into your room, but remaining positive is just going to make you feel better. One way to get the happy vibes flowing is to make sure you tell your students how great they will do-you can also get family members in on the action:

Or, perhaps you could use some tunes to get the right feeling before you head into test mode! Rosy shared this great playlist that pumps up her students and her on Monday mornings.

10. Remember you are not alone!

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Assessment season can be hard for everyone! Just know that there are many teachers going through this too and we can all support each other. Connect with teachers on Twitter if you’re looking for some inspiration during this time. Here is the Twitter Chat schedule on education topics and #BFC530 is a chat of educators that happens every weekday morning at 5:30am & 7:30am EST!

Let us know if you have any strategies for keeping calm during assessment season! Feel free to leave comments below or tweet with #proctorchat or @edciteteam!

We know you and your students can do this!

And if all of these calming tips fail, just close your eyes until it’s over and eat donuts.


Edcite is a free international educational platform where teachers can find, customize, and create digital content to use with their students. Edcite has PARCC and Smarter Balanced aligned question types and Common Core aligned content. We hope that Edcite can help teachers ensure students are prepared when they take end of year assessments, without having to sacrifice any content or learning time. For more information about how Edcite is helping teachers specifically with digital assessments, feel free to reach out to us at hello@edcite.com.

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